Much of business investments in content marketing tend to focus on the message alone. This of course is important, as you are looking for an audience that is receptive to what you have to say. However, the goal of content marketing is to create a brand image. One of the greatest influences on a company’s image is the way it presents itself.
Studies show the colors used by a brand improve its recognition by up to 80%. Colour consistency across digital content creates a brand image that audiences tend to recognize. Font psychology plays into these aspects of content creation and marketing, which have significant opportunities and consequences for businesses.
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The basics of font psychology
Font psychology focuses on the effect the visual style of content has on the reader. The font used, line spacing, color, text arrangement, and style all play into how any text is perceived by your audience. This perception is believed to have a profound effect on the way audiences engage with and react to the content they are interacting with.
The way in which various visual aspects of a text influence reader perception, emotions and behavior is font psychology. It is believed that certain types of fonts and text formatting create positive emotions, which elicit greater engagement and possibly lead to greater conversion. Other types of formatting are believed to be unattractive, create negative perceptions, and lower audience engagement.
While it is true that the message is of the essence, how you present the message is also important. If the text isn’t visually appealing, audiences are less likely to bother reading it. In effect, your message has failed, because you were unable to create any sort of engagement with it. In fact, up to 38% lose interest when faced with poor content and layout design.
Font psychology and cybersecurity
Attractive, well-designed text pushes audience engagement, and can even encourage interaction with the text source. The misuse of these principles of typography can become an issue of cybersecurity. This occurs when trick fonts are used into making users believe they are engaging with safe text, when in fact they may be interacting with some malicious content. These types of threats include:
Homograph text appears to be safe, valid text for the user, but the computer reads differently. For example, visually, two similar fonts appear the same to the user. However, to a computer, they act as different characters. This type of text can then hide malicious files which are downloaded to the user’s system when they click on it.
Homograph attacks can also be carried out by using invisible characters. These are the characters that are not printed, such as the line spacing, and therefore are invisible to the user, but can be read by the system. Invisible characters can be used to hide malicious code which a user may unknowingly engage in.
Such attacks are carried out by presenting text that appears safe and engaging. Once a user interacts with it, it can be used to transfer malware or viruses to their system or cause a program or system to crash by overwhelming it with huge volumes of invisible text.
A ZeroFont attack is a text manipulation tactic where malicious text is hidden within the seemingly innocuous text, by placing it in font size zero. This text cannot be seen by the user but is readable and executable by the system. Most commonly, this type of attack is used to get through spam filters.
As a phishing scam, this type of attack can be relatively effective. The strings that would normally be caught by filters and scans are broken up by zero font text, allowing them to bypass security measures. From there, they can infect a user’s system.
Preventing text-based attacks
One of the most common and effective techniques to prevent text attacks in by content filtering. Different types of content filtering can provide protection and various data processing levels. These ensure that even invisible or similar-looking texts cannot bypass a system’s security. These include:
Server-side filtration reviews incoming traffic for a specific network. It prevents homographic attacks by preventing the primary DNS server from generating traffic containing characters visually similar to another existing server.
Client-side filters can be enabled to prevent Internationalizing Domain Names (IDNs). They allow users around the world to use various domain names in local languages. This, in turn, incorporates various scripts in the domain name, such as Cyrillic, Arabic, or Chinese. IDNs create the potential for homographic attacks by leveraging different scripts.
A filter enabled on the client side prevents such IDNs from getting through. Alternatively, if users don’t wish to completely block access, IDNs may be translated into Unicode. This international encoding system assigns a unique number to the IDN, lowering the potential for a text attack.
The power of font psychology
Font psychology is often leveraged by businesses to make their content appear more attractive. Appealing text and typography tend to catch the user’s eye, making them more likely to engage with its contents. However, this same interest and perception can be used by agents to carry out malicious attacks.
Text manipulation can trick users into interacting with unsafe text. This is a security threat as it can introduce malware and viruses onto the user’s system. Content filtering should be used vigilantly to protect against these types of attacks. As they are manipulative in nature, without proper security, they can bypass system firewalls.