By Prof Shaw on October 9, 2018
The next readings are on Readability & Legibility !
Post your thoughts below.
How We Read · An A List Apart Article
Errol Morris — How Typography Shapes Our Perception of Truth
Errol Morris – Blog Details
Posted in In Class Projects | 8 Responses
Reading both articles, it opens your eyes and makes you more aware of certain habits to look out for. I Do think about this sometimes, The way that we read has always stricken importance to me. We are all different people and we interpret everything differently, so it just makes sense to also interpret type differently. When a designer places text on a page, they must always keep in mind to make it edible for the majority of people reading it. If they were to design the type to close or illegible its just safe to say that most other people will feel the same about the type. There are certain principles and tricks to help the legibility of text to make it clear for a majority. according to “How we Read” environment also plays a part in how we read things such as if you are in a loud environment. That’s why myself as a designer will try to take more consideration when working with type.
The article “How We Read” gave an incredible insight on just how important the nuances of typography are. Prior to taking this class, I really did not understand the purpose of typography as well as the extent of what it could do in terms of communication. Its versatility and efficiency is unheard of in any other medium of communication. With fonts, a single sentence can be conveyed in dozens or even hundreds of ways with a simple font, size, or color change. We read so much on a daily basis that we simply can’t afford to take the time to appreciate such a subtle art. However, as proven by Errol Morris’s experiment, it can make a huge impact on our perception of the text we’re reading. Typography sadly is an invisible art that is only noticed when it isn’t well done.
These articles highlighted the importance of typography and how it is interpreted differently. The way text is presented and composed conveys it’s intention for the reader. I learned that readability is important when it comes to making design choices in typography. Readability affects a design emotionally and therefore determines whether the experience for a reader is good. Choosing the right typeface can impact readers and we see that in Errol Morris’s experiment. This experiment resulted in people believing a truth because of the typeface used. It’s interesting that a typeface can change a person’s perception of the content. It just shows how much typography impacts people in ways we don’t even notice.
The three articles gave many insights on how typography influences the way we read and how big of an influence it has on our day to day lives. I learned that we read differently depending on the environments we are. I can relate on those specific examples that “How we read” article stated. When i happen to be in a crowded bus with no headphones i ten to skip over words and start to look for the words that give me importance. However when I’m in my room with relaxing music i give my full attention to the reading in front of me and read over words that are strange to me instead of skipping over it. The difference between readability and legibility is highlighted and its importance is very important to how we as people process words and memorize the way they look.
All three articles ultimately emphasize how important typography is. Depending on which typeface you choose to use, it will have a different effect on every reader. It is not enough for our writing to be legible, but it must also be readable. Even if the design is beautiful, a reader can still lose focus depending on how the type is organized. This is reinforced in the last two articles where many people chose Baskerville as the most trustworthy typeface. What we read and what we experience when reading is very different. Typography is always important to think about because of the impact it can have on others.
“How We Read” by Jason Santa Maria was definitely an interesting read and made me think about the way I read, which I never knew I would think about. He makes a good point when he says that reading is such a second nature to all of us that we don’t even think about it. Unlike art, speech or imagery, type is really the basis of all communication, that is why it is important to consider the type we use in order not to just grab the attention of readers, but also to keep their attention. I found it very interesting that the top of letters is more distinguishable than the bottom half of letters, which makes since because most of a types’ character occurs on the top half. This is why if we were to cover the bottom half of letters, it is still fairly readable unlike if you covered the top half of letters. The experiment conducted in the third article was also very insightful. The fact that a typeface could change the way people read the same passage really shows the importance of using the “correct” typeface.
All three articles focused on how much type plays a significant role in readability/legibility. In “How We Read” the article highlights that the question “do we want to read it?” Is more important than “can we read it?” This is proven in the experiment where people believed something as a true based on what type was used. Readers notice immediately when there is a disruptence in their reading because reading something is so natural we just trust it to be legible and readable.
After reading all three articles I can agree that typefaces really do matter. It helps people distinguish if it’s readable and legible, however, if a paragraph or word is legible, that doesn’t mean it is readable. Reading is tricky for people because as explained in the first article, reading is back and forth, also known as saccade. Saccade is where a reader bounces between when reading, readers don’t always just bounce their eyes, they also stop. This is called fixation, these readings helped me evaluate the type of strategies that designers use to reel in more readers. Errol Morris is a great example, he is a filmmaker and author who created an experiment to see which typeface works best via. pentagram. His answer was Baskerville. He explains how this typeface helps readers use saccade and fixation to help them read faster and effective.
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