UT cheerleaders San Diego - Johntex [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
What are script letters? They are basically a font style of a typeface used by branding professionals and other designers. Script letters have a definite slant and generally substitute curves for angular lettering. You may be surprised to learn that the use of script letters could affect the success of a cheerleading team.
What do script fonts have to do with cheerleading? At first glance, the issues regarding typeface and cheerleading may not seem to intersect. A closer look at each separate subject can reveal the importance of attention to uniform details and the value of researching each typeface and font before placing one on a cheerleader's uniform. Learn more about the work involved in developing a cheerleading squad and the psychology behind using fonts for marketing purposes.
CHEERLEADING AND THE DETAILS BEHIND THE SCENES
The world of cheerleading is a popular source of material for television shows and movies, but the media never fully captures the hard work and investments that go on behind the scenes. For example, the sport of cheerleading is more than 100 years old. When it first started, cheerleading was a male-only activity and didn't really become dominated by women until World War II. Today there are about 4 million cheerleaders just in the United States, and over half of those athletes also participate in another sport. Cheer teams are made up of both males and females.
A lot of work goes into putting together a cheerleading team. From the beginning, organizers must determine whether to form a competitive or non-competitive squad. Competitive teams work with a goal of competing against other athletes on local, regional, and national levels. Other squads are formed with the intent to perform during sporting events.
REGULATIONS AFFECT DETAILS
The next step is to research rules and regulations that apply to your squad. For example, if you plan to put together a traditional squad, you'll need to get permission from a local team to be their cheerleaders. All-star, or competitive squads, are governed by many regulations. These rules and regulations may dictate details regarding uniforms, community involvement, and practice times and locations. After becoming familiar with the regulations already in place, you'll need to establish your own squad rules and uniforms. Many teams have separate uniforms for traveling to and from games or competitions, uniforms for home competitions and for away games, and uniforms for special events.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
As you become more familiar with the world of cheerleading, you'll discover that there are many details to carefully consider. These important steps and decisions include:
Every one of these steps requires hours of planning, many mistakes, and a determination to continue working toward the end goal. Each step can also be broken down into several small decisions and tasks. For example, when establishing a budget, the squad leaders must determine where money will come from, how much there will be, what the budget will cover, and who will be responsible for keeping the account and ledger.
Another example involves finding a place to practice. Many schools have more sports teams and groups than space to allow for adequate meeting and practice times. New cheerleading squads may really struggle to fit their practice schedule into the existing demand on gym space or other practice areas. In addition to finding space and a regular time to practice, squad leaders must be sure the space is equipped for safe and effective practice sessions. Cheerleading routines often involve jumps, leaps, and gymnastic routines. The practice demands require plenty of space, padding for safety, and sometimes specialized equipment.
CHEERLEADING TYPEFACE AND FONTS
For many new cheerleading squads, the design and manufacture of cheerleading uniforms is a major task. Even if the squad name and colors have been determined by the local schools, there are many details that go into the construction of the uniform. One of these details is the choice of typeface for the uniform. At first, you may question the value of one typeface over another. Why not just slap any old type of lettering on the front of the uniform?
Once a typeface has been chosen, squad leaders choose the specific font, or specific weight and style of the typeface. Many cheerleading squads prefer a collegiate or script font. Some choose a uniform block lettering. Even within this short list of styles, however, there are many variations. Squad leaders may recognize the effects of fonts and styles of typeface on viewers and the scientific basis for choosing one design over another.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND TYPOGRAPHY
Although many people don't recognize it, they are cognitively affected by the fonts they see. In fact, there's a step-by-step process involved in the cognitive evaluation of fonts.
- 1You see the font.
- 2Your brain makes perceptual associations.
- 3Your brain activates direct associations.
- 4Neural connections are triggered throughout the brain.
- 5Meaning is attributed to the font.
- 6An evaluation is formed based on your familiarity with context and background experiences.
Many studies have been conducted on the personality of certain fonts and the emotions that are attached to those fonts. These studies provide valuable information to marketing professionals and to cheerleading squad leaders who hope to promote their team and inspire specific emotions in fans and judges. For example, script fonts are generally seen as feminine, casual, flexible, creative, happy, exciting, and attractive, among other positive emotions and personality traits. Is it any wonder that script letters are so often used on cheerleader uniforms?
TYPEFACE, FONTS, AND CHEERLEADING
Certain fonts are more effective in one context than in other contexts. Cheer team leaders must decide which contextual associations are more valuable than others. For example, a lighter font is generally perceived to be more feminine than a bold font, but the bold font conveys power. Both of these perceptions are often associated with the members of cheerleading squads. Script letters are often used on cheer uniforms because they convey a sense of softness and femininity. On the other hand, some teams choose the more angular collegiate fonts because of the formality and durability associated with angular fonts. The slant of script lettering conveys a sense of movement while the connections between script letters establishes feelings of unity.
Choosing the best font for a cheerleading team requires an understanding of the perceptions associated with fonts. It also demands a focus on the primary goal of the squad. For example, a competitive team may want to convey power and movement. This may lead squad leaders to choose a collegiate font with a slight forward slant. Traditional cheerleading teams may want to convey a sense of unity with the team. In this case, a script font, combined with team colors and name, may convey a sense of unity with the rest of the team and the fans.
ESTABLISHING TEAM DISTINCTION AND DIFFERENTIATION
Another important reason behind carefully researching typeface and font for team uniforms is the chance to set your squad apart from other squads. Even traditional squads face some competition, even if just in the form of the cheerleading team for another school. The standard collegiate bold typeface is found on uniforms for school cheerleading teams across the country, and the ubiquitous nature of that font makes it easy to overlook the differences in the uniforms of one team and the next. However, a slight variation on the common typeface can lead to some important differences.
A strong sense of identity is absolutely crucial to the success of a cheerleading squad. That identity motivates team members to work closely with each other and for each other. A strong identity also encourages community members or competition audiences to find a connection with the squad. It makes a lot of sense for a squad leader to choose a typeface and/or font that supports a specific identity. With the right choice, the team's uniform will provide much of the community support the team desperately needs to excel.
RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF UNIFORMITY WITH PERSONALIZED DETAILS
If you've been to many sporting events and watched a variety of cheerleading teams, you may be thinking that the uniforms all have a sense of sameness, right down the typeface and font on the uniforms. This is the case, overall, but small details can lead to distinctions in detail that don't catch your conscious attention. Yet, you may find that you like some uniforms more than others. This is due, at least in part, to the details of the design, and there's a very good chance that some of those details are related to the type of lettering on the uniforms.
PERCEPTIONS AFFECTED BY FONTS THAT SUPPORT CHEERLEADING SUCCESS
Whether you're a squad leader or a font enthusiast, recognizing the link between the success of a group and its use of well-researched typeface and fonts can inspire you to greater success. Don't dismiss the value of this detail that subconsciously affects viewers' perceptions of information, teams, and cheerleading squads. You may come to a much broader realization of the importance of the small details in other areas of your life.