Type face shock


Typographers strive to make the text they work with as legible as possible, so that the reader absorbs the content to the maximum effect (well, sometimes they do). A font that is clear, ordered and well proportioned is the obvious choice. Fonts like Helvetica and Arial and other modern fonts, especially the specially designed screen versions, would be suitable for this.

This method has been challenged. The question has been asked, can the reader remember the information conveyed by these legible fonts as well as, say, a disordered, lyrical, organic, even comical font?

A Neuroscience blogger called Jonah Lehrer had a feeling that he could not recall the information he read on his Kindle so well. The hunch was confirmed in a paper by Princeton psychologists showing that ‘ugly’ unfamiliar fonts make us ‘work harder’ in order to read them. As a result,  the information sinks in more successfully and we are better able to remember the content.

Could this make handwriting on paper a candidate for the most impressionable way of communicating via words? Says Jonah, “Hand writing may be a really interesting way to convey information”.

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