Denny’s Daily Zinger: Don’t Disdain Good Old Courier Type

Denny's fundraising letter for the U.S. Curling Olympic Team, using Courier typeface.

In the media player at right is an illustration of a lift piece I wrote and designed for a U.S. Curling Association fundraising effort.
Note the Courier typeface.

This was deliberate. Courier is historically the stuff of old typewriters and the fabled QWERTY keyboard (which I am using right now).

Until the IBM Selectric—with its changeable type balls—Courier was used for all typed communications—personal and business.

The letter from Pete Fenson looks like he might have “hunt-‘n’-pecked” it personally. It is a different typeface from everything else in the package.

It has warmth not found in fonts used in mass print communications—Times and Times Roman.

And it’s positively hot in comparison to the stark, cold sans serif faces that are de rigueur in the digital world.

It screams, “This is different! This is really a note from me!”

Courier: The High-Tech Font of Choice
What triggered this column was Slate.com story forwarded to me by subscriber Reg Dougherty. It describes why this ancient, simple font is preferred by computer programmers.

From My Book, Write Everything Right!

This may seem corny, but I prefer old-fashioned Courier type. It has warmth and a personal feel to it, as though the writer pounded each individual letter out on an old office Remington.

Obviously the reader knows your submission was written on a computer. But as the great freelancer Bill Jayme said, “In the marketplace, as in theater, there is indeed a factor at work called ‘the willing suspension of disbelief.'”

Denny Hatch’s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Pat Friesen writes, “This book is guaranteed to help you fine-tune your writing skills, whatever you write. Denny’s wit and craftsmanship as an experienced writer/author shine through on every page.” Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at dennyhatch@yahoo.com.

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.
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Comments
  • Scott Lunt

    During a brief stint at a fax server software company in the late nineties, as mar comm manager, I wrote a simple single-page letter using Courier that was going to law firms. All of the company’s other direct mail efforts were using beautiful, glossy self-mailers. I was chastised and told not to use Courier "because it was unprofessional." Fortunately, I had enough authority to insist that we mail my letter. It pulled triple the response rate of any previous direct mail campaign. Granted, I’ve found that letters in general pull better response than self-mailers but I think that the simple typewritten look — not to mention my stellar copywriting skills 😉 — appealed to the legal market.

  • Robert Bly

    For years I preferred Prestige Elite on my IBM electric typewriter — I think it looks even more "typed" than Courier.