What's Not Best: Fake Real Handwriting

I received a mailing from a fundraising consulting company today advertising a new “cutting edge technology” that they can offer to their non–profit clients: a font that looks like real handwriting but in fact is not. In other words, fake real handwriting.

This is appalling. Why would a non-profit want to use this service? Plain and simple, the thinking behind this seems to be: “We can make your donors think that they are reading real handwriting so that they will feel that the message is more personal. Then, they might give more.”

If you could read the fake-real handwriting in the image above, you’d see this perspective come out as well. But you don’t have to read that to see it. What can the value be in fake-genuine handwriting (they are calling it “genuinely penned handwriting”) if the person knows that it was created by a machine?

If you know that a machine created it, then it no longer seems personal. So the purpose of this “genuinely penned” stuff seems to depend upon the person thinking it is real. But if you think that it is real, then your assessment of the “personal nature” of the writing is not based on reality. In which case, in a very real sense, you’ve been tricked.

Why do certain direct marketing companies — and, in turn, the non-profits who use and follow their consulting services — reduce themselves to such tactics?

This company is being added to my list of things that should not exist.

  • http://founderandperfecter.wordpress.com Ben Mordecai

    That’s dishonest. Such an invention is made to bear false witness.