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You are here: Home / Conferences / Barcelona 2014 / Presentations programme

The voice of a typeface

When Thu 18 Sep 1040
Where BAU Design College
Who Sofie Beier

With research material from the fields of neuroscience and psychology as my point of departure, I will discuss the functionality of the ‘quiet’ typefaces that few readers ever notice and also present arguments in favour of typefaces with strong personalities that draw attention to themselves.

Typefaces vary widely in appearance. It is therefore puzzling that readers typically do not remember the image of the typeface they just read. We can look at a typeface and see it, yet as soon as we start reading the text it presents we can no longer focus on the shapes and forms of that particular typeface. Long ago, Beatrice Warde made the famous analogy to drinking wine from a clear thin crystal goblet, arguing that the content of a text is most enjoyable when read in what she called ‘invisible typography’. Yet, investigations into the semantic associations of typefaces demonstrate that typefaces are cable of conveying strong personalities that can carry an altogether different message from the content of the text and thus provide an additional layer in the communication with the audience.

The presentation will discuss why some typefaces need to be invisible while others need to be seen.

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