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You are here: Home / Conferences / Hong Kong 2012 / Programme / 10 October – Research, case studies & workshops

Personality traits of typefaces for English, Chinese, and Arabic

When Wed 10 Oct 1400
Where Presentations
Who Ching Suen, Nathalie Dumont

For more than three decades at CENPARMI, we have been conducting research on human and machine recognition of printed and handwritten materials, and computational linguistics [1, 2, 4].With respect to printed materials, we have been investigating ways of evaluating the legibility and readability of various digital typefaces based on human perception and machine reading of large quantities of texts.

In this study, we asked 300 native speakers of the three languages to rank the legibility and other personal traits of 14-24 common typefaces in each language [3]. The printed materials were displayed in the form of isolated lower/upper case alphanumeric characters and the most frequently used words in pangrams. We analyzed the responses with a statistical package (SPSS) related to typeface legibility, readability, attractiveness, artistic and formal presentations.

The results are compared according to their characteristics for (a) English, (b) Chinese, and c) Arabic: (a) Heights, cap height, bearings, symmetry, weight, flatness, harmony, and the degree of kerning. (b) Relative baseline ascenders and descenders, weight, structure, stroke contrast, spacing, stem and cap heights, junctions, end points, and curves. (c) Direction of writing, connectivity and cursiveness, diacritic dots and signs, bowls, knots, ligatures, teeth and tails, thickness of strokes, and contrast.

Comparisons and statistical analyses led to the discovery of the most desirable characteristics which are responsible for legibility, comfortable reading, and presentations for other purposes. All these results will be presented and made available to other researchers.



[2] C. Y. Suen and M. Komoda, "Legibility of digital type-fonts and comprehension in reading," in J. C. van Vliet (ed.), Text Processing and Document Manipulation, Cambridge University Press, 1986.

[3] A. D. Shaikh, B. S. Chaparro, and D. Fox, "Perception of fonts: perceived personality traits and uses," Usability News, vol. 8, 1-7, Feb. 2006.

[4] C. Y. Suen, N. Dumont, M. Dyson, and X. Lu, "Evaluation of fonts for digital publishing and digital display," Proc. Int. Conf. on Document Analysis and Recognition, pp. 1424-1436, Beijing, Sept. 2011.

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