Enlarge Emotional Words

Large words trigger stronger emotion.

Nick Kolenda
Updated on
An ad for pain relief with "Ouch" in a large font

Across evolution, our ancestors judged threats based on their size: real life, the distance from an object influences its biological relevance for the organism... Aggressors, for example, appear to be more dangerous the closer they get to the individual (Bayer, Sommer, & Shacht, 2012, p. 5)

Words inherited this effect: Larger text intensifies emotion (Bayer, Sommer, & Shacht, 2012).

Same with larger images (De Cesarei & Codispoti, 2006).

Plus, large words capture more attention: increase in text surface size raises attention to this element much more than it simultaneously reduces attention to the brand and pictorial elements...[so] advertisers aiming to maximize attention to the entire advertisement should seriously consider devoting more space to text (Pieters & Wedel, 2004, p. 48).

  • Bayer, M., Sommer, W., & Schacht, A. (2012). Font size matters—emotion and attention in cortical responses to written words. PloS one, 7(5), e36042.
  • De Cesarei, A., & Codispoti, M. (2006). When does size not matter? Effects of stimulus size on affective modulation. Psychophysiology, 43(2), 207-215.
  • Pieters, R., & Wedel, M. (2004). Attention capture and transfer in advertising: Brand, pictorial, and text-size effects. Journal of marketing, 68(2), 36-50.