In Fonts You Trust surveys typefaces for Declaration of Independence

4 July 2016

Why Fonts Matter author Sarah Hyndman has published a survey on which typefaces best reflect values from the Declaration of Independence, to coincide with Independence Day on 4 July. Sarah, founder of type design, research and events studio Type Tasting, presented words like “Democracy,” “Freedom,” and “Liberty” in various fonts and asked survey participants to pair them with a typeface they believed best matched the word.

Sarah then analysed the responses using the results of her Font Census surveys. “We trust what we read when the font and words are in harmony,” she explains. “When they don’t match we can find that what we read feels less authentic.

“It has been proved that you will recognise a word faster, it has higher processing fluency, when the meaning of the word is mirrored by the typeface it appears in.”

When asked what “Democracy” looked like, 62% of the 114 people surveyed selected a formal, traditional serif typeface, with Georgia coming out as the top choice. A script-style typeface was however deemed a “poor reflection of Democracy.” Conversely for the word “Freedom” 45% chose Lucida Calligraphy, a curving, handwritten-style typeface.

“Truthful” and “Liberty” are seemed traditional and trustworthy, the research states, so chosen fonts are slightly old-fashioned. “Equality” was represented as modern, with large, confident and neutral letter forms.

Sarah hopes the findings will celebrate typography as uniting force in the context of the uncertain politic times. “This is a celebration of the shared language of type, whatever our beliefs, wherever we live, that gives us the freedom to communicate with the whole world.”


In Fonts You Trust: two terms in typefaces that did and didn’t match, according to the survey


In Fonts You Trust: Results for the best matches


In Fonts You Trust: Results for the worst matches


In Fonts You Trust: all the surveyed words

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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