How to increase your grades…change your typeface

We all know that Comic Sans is a joke. But this post examines how you can change your marks from a B- to and A by simply changing your typeface in submitted work.

Phil Renaud, a college student noticed his grades were climbing despite no conscious attempt to improve his performance. So he looked at something else entirely..his typeface.

Take this somewhat famous quasi-experiment by university student Phil Renaud back in 2006 (preserved for posterity in Pastebin form). Over the course of six semesters, Renaud wrote 52 essays for his classes, earning himself a commendable A- overall.

Here’s the thing: Toward the end of his last semester, Renaud’s average essay score began climbing. “I haven’t drastically changed the amount of effort I’m putting into my writing,” he wrote. “I’m probably even spending less time with them now than I did earlier in my studies.”  

What he did change, however, was his essay font — three times, in fact. Renaud went back and looked at his essay scores and the different typefaces he’d used when he submitted his work. His papers were handed to his professors in three different fonts: Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS, and Georgia. Here’s what he tallied:


Why did Georgia — which he switched to later on in his college career — perform better than the others? Here’s what Renaud wrote:

Maybe fonts speak a lot louder than we think they do. Especially to a professor who has to wade through a collection of them; Times seems to be the norm, so it really doesn’t set off any subconscious triggers. Georgia is enough like Times to retain its academic feel, and is different enough to be something of a relief for the grader. Trebuchet seems to set off a negative trigger, maybe just based on the fact that it’s not as easy to read in print, maybe on the fact that it looks like something off a blog rather than an academic journal. Who knows. [Source]

I hate Trebuchet MS…don’t ask me why but I do..perhaps it is because it is close to Gill Sans…another font I despise. I have a mate who decided Gill Sans would be his corporate font…all of his papers and emails are in it…most annoying. I tell him often how gay it is.

Maybe, just maybe this is the reason the blog is popular…it is my chosen typefaces. I can;t wait for Martyn or the world’s best Sysop to suggest the reason is because my typefaces are chosen to maximise Google rankings.


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  • JC

    I discovered Georgia several years ago. I cant really explain why it appealed to me beyond it seems to suit old eyes and is still a familiar style. Good to have the endorsement.


    • RightOfGenghis

      As an added bonus it’s the only State in the US where beastiality is still legal…

      • Travis Poulson

        An added bonus? Actually, don’t answer. I don’t want to know.

        • RightOfGenghis

          If I may… The typeface is named after a tabloid headline titled “Alien heads found in Georgia

          • Travis Poulson

            You took some time to muster that response, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

  • Patrick

    Georgia – Times New Roman with a little more punch, Trebuchet, horrible should be in an art class somewhere not used in professional documentation.

  • Jimmie

    Personally I like Arial as a preferred font

  • motorizer

    I’m sure the green party type their internal memos in wing dings.

  • IWantToBeLikeMallardOneDay

    The best way to increase your grade in a university is to write left wing drivel. Might even get you into Oxford…

  • cows4me

    I’ve found something similar when bludging ( no it’s not corruption ) money off the local council. Never get too clever with all the flash shit you can do on the computer, not that I’m very good at that either. Seem to get better results by just being an illiterate dumb arse cookie that is pushing his luck.

  • Mediaan

    He was probably enrolled in Englsh Lit or Creative Writing. Be cautious about using it in factual or technical subjects.

    Georgia is graceful, but looks like a literary essay.