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Designing with science

In this presentation, Matthew Carter and Kevin Larson discuss what letter recognition tests might uncover and how those results could be used in practice. From the ATypI 2013 conference in Amsterdam.

Reading psychologists have shown that we recognize words by first recognizing individual letters, then using the letters to build up a word. This implies that if we want to study how to make a word more readable that we should be studying how to make letters more recognizable. We have developed a type design process where we iteratively conduct scientific letter recognition tests and use the results from the tests to inform design decisions. Using the results of these tests will require careful consideration as a typeface is a beautiful collection of letters, not a collection of beautiful letters. We will talk about the kinds of results that letter recognition tests might uncover and how those results could be used in practice.

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