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The UK’s favourite (and least favourite) fonts

November 2021

When it comes to design, nothing stirs debate like font choice. Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Comic Sans (gulps) – there are thousands of fonts out there, but which are our favourites? And which would we prefer never to set eyes on again?

To find out, we’ve been doing some research to unearth the UK’s favourite and least favourite fonts. Because while font choice is, of course, subjective, there’s bound to be certain types that people prefer over others – right?

If, like us, you’re interested to know how other people’s font preferences differ from your own, join us as we take a look at the most revered and reviled typefaces from around the world.

What we did

Before we launch into the results of our research, we’re sure you’re eager to know how we came up with them.

To start, we looked at Google keyword research to uncover the most searched fonts in both the UK and worldwide. Then, we launched a survey to further investigate the UK’s font preferences and opinions, focusing on specific fonts and when they’re most likely to be used.

Got it? Great, now let’s get to the findings.

The UK’s Top 5 Favourite Fonts

Here in the UK, we like to think we’re a fairly tasteful bunch. But do our font preferences reflect our eye for style and passion for fashion? Find out below.

As it turns out, the UK’s favoured fonts list is surprisingly safe. Of those surveyed, the majority prefer a classic Arial or Calibriperhaps because these are the default typefaces on the nation’s favourite word processor, Microsoft Word.

It’s no surprise to see Times New Roman in the shortlist, either. Popular in print and a go-to for students looking to give their CV a professional polish, this iconic typeface delivers classic, formal style in abundance (even if it is a little boring).

Of course, there is one glaring entry in our top 5 that stands out from the rest: Comic Sans. Clinching the number three spot, this distinctive sans serif typeface may well be a guilty pleasure for many, with 12% of those surveyed saying they prefer it to any other font.

Surprised? Us too. While we’re not ones to judge an individual’s design preferences, Comic Sans isn’t a typeface we expected to see in the top 5.

For more on the UK’s favourite fonts, and why people chose them, check out a few excerpts from our survey below.

The UK’s Top 5 Least Favourite Fonts

When it comes to font choice, it’s fair to say that people are more likely to have strong opinions about the typefaces they hate compared to those they like. The question is, which fonts proved a big no-no for our survey responders?

UK's least favourite fonts

Those left despairing over seeing Comic Sans clinch a top-three spot in our favourites list can take their head out of their hands, because it was also voted the country’s least favourite font – and by some distance.

Aside from Wingdings (which, let’s be honest, isn’t really a font), Comic Sans outstripped other fonts by a country mile on our least-favourites list. Over a quarter of respondents said they dislike it the most, suggesting that Britain does have typeface taste after all.

Elsewhere on our top 5 least favourite fonts list, Impact was shunned by respondents, despite being the go-to font for primary schoolers let loose on MS Word for the first time. Next came Symbol, another non-standard font type à la Wingdings, while Times New Roman rounded out the shortlist – proof, perhaps, that this age-old font is a little too boring and overused for some.

Do you agree with our top five? Find out what other people think of these questionable letterings by reading some of the notes from our survey below.

What are the UK’s most-searched fonts?

So, Arial is the best and Comic Sans the worst typefaces voted for by the British people – but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, when you look at Google data to see which fonts are searched the most, a different picture emerges as to the nation’s typeface preferences.

Take a look at what a little Google keyword research tells us about the UK’s most in-demand fonts.

Most searched fonts

While the likes of Calibri and Comic Sans (that name again) proved surprisingly popular in terms of total monthly searches, there was one entry that caught our attention: Helvetica.

Helvetica was the UK’s most-searched font by some distance, with an average of 5,600 monthly searches – 1,800 more than the next most-searched type, Arial. With that many regular queries, it’s amazing that Helvetica failed to make our top fonts list.

Why the interest in this simple, contemporary typeface? Well, it just so happens that Helvetica is used by some of the world’s biggest and most recognisable brands, including BMW, Microsoft, American Apparel, and The North Face. This could explain why monthly searches for the font are so high – with individual users and small brands eager to mimic some of the world’s most successful enterprises.

As for the rest of the top 10, it’s hard to account for why people would search for fonts like Comic Sans, Times New Roman, and Impact. Perhaps it’s to find out if they’re socially acceptable, or best left well alone.

How about the world’s most-searched fonts?

So far, we’ve focused on the UK’s typeface preferences – but what about the rest of the world?

While we can’t ascertain how the world votes on their favourite and least favourite fonts, we can look at how popular some letterings are on Google. So, without further ado, take a look at the world’s most-searched fonts below.

Once again, Helvetica proved a heavy-hitter among typefaces, accruing an average of 135,000 monthly searches – 172% more than the next most popular font on our list, Arial. Indeed, it seems that Helvetica could well be the world’s most popular font; that’s despite being well over sixty years old, and of ‘neo-grotesque’ design.

Elsewhere, it seems the rest of the world isn’t quite as hot on Comic Sans as us Brits, with the questionable type appearing sixth in the shortlist. However, one unusual font that did buck the UK trend was Symbol, which came in a respectable third place on our list of the world’s most-searched typefaces.

Overall, however, our UK and rest-of-the-world results were remarkably similar. All the big names from the UK made the global shortlist – including Calibri, Times New Roman, and Impact – which, given that there are tens of thousands of fonts to choose from, is quite extraordinary.

So, there you have it, a comprehensive look at the UK’s favourite and least favourite fonts, and how they compare around the world. What are your most liked and disliked fonts, and what do you think of our shortlist? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so have your say over on our Twitter page

Whatever your favourite font and design preferences, Perivan can help create marketing collateral that captures the essence of your brand. For more information or to learn more about our services, visit the homepage or click here to reach out today.

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Decorative pattern