For my project, I wanted to consider the interactions between two particular fonts: Univers and Lenotype Centennial. I thought these fonts would be interesting together because Univers is a font common to engineering, while Lenotype Centennial is commonly found in news-oriented websites.
According to Type Connection, this pairing was successful because it pairs the precision of Univers with the refinement of Linotype Centennial. The example it gives is a wine list on a restaurant menu.
Looking around, I definitely think more work should go into font selection. While many printed materials are created by experts who spend a great deal of time getting things right, a significant amount of advertising and print material is created by people who have not thought about the deeper design concepts.
A great example of this is the bulletin boards that can be found around campus. They tend to be hideous, covered with a mishmash of poorly thought out ads, whose primary manner of competing for attention is in the form of larger print and liberal use of exclamation points. Little consideration is given to the use of design components that can make your advertisement stand out by being subtle, or appealing to a specific audience who might walk by.
As consumers, we are increasingly immune to many printed “types.” For instance, seeing the word “SALE!” in Times New Roman 72 point font no longer elicits a reaction. In this market, it seems as though an advertisement with lighter pastels and a more flowing font (possibly archer or garamond) would draw more attention if you were selling potted plants. Folks could use Helvetica or Courier to draw attention to computer or tech supplies.
Beyond that, studies have recently shown that fonts that are more intricate or difficult to parse often lead to greater retention of text. While advertisers shouldn’t make their work impossible to read, mixing fonts and making slightly more intricate use of text could lead to more memorable advertisements.
Of course, this might also be a good idea for textbook editors to consider as well.