[Pricing Nugget #042] How Round is Your Price?

Imagine you just launched a new app, and customers can pay for something.

Your UX designer comes in and asks you: "Hi, what kind of font should I use to present the final amount customers have to pay?"

You stare at him with blank eyes and reply: "I don't know, and I don't care."

Was this really a wise decision? We will find out today.

When you design the payment experience on a mobile device, at one point, you have to choose the font that should be used for presenting the purchase amount on this mobile device.

One characteristic of a font is the typeface curvature: The curvature describes the degree of roundness or angularity.

Research has shown that the typeface curvature impacts the perceived harshness.

In particular, research has shown that people associate an angular typeface with feelings of harshness, cruelty, and other negative emotions

Negative emotions triggered by the price font also extend to the experienced pain of payment.

This means if a price is presented in a harsh font, this harshness makes the payment even more painful.

This more painful payment increases the awareness of spending, leading to a greater hesitation to press the "pay" button and reducing customers' willingness to spend on the next grocery shop.

[By the way, the round typeface in this study was "Simply rounded," and the angular typeface was "Jersey sharp."]

What did we learn today?

Today we learned that even a small decision like choosing the font type for the total payment amount on a mobile device indirectly affects customer behavior: for example, pressing the buy button or the spending behavior, the willingness to spend on the next shopping trip.

One word of caution: The researchers found this effect only to work in Japan, not for U.S. customers. They hypothesized this might be due to cultural differences.

This chain of argument might only work for countries with a collectivistic culture and not so much for an individualistic culture. Geographically speaking, this effect should be more pronounced in Eastern countries than in Western countries.

But overall, you cannot break anything because, in the worst case, the effect is zero and definitely not negative.


Park, J., Velasco, C., & Spence, C. (2022). “Looking sharp”: Price typeface influences awareness of spending in mobile payment. Psychology & Marketing, 39(6), 1170-1189.