Typeface choice affects bias

Gary Long's picture

We already know typeface choice can affect how readers perceive and respond to material. Here's a newspaper article on the theme, not very deep, but food for thought. Now if political candidates could specify what font their name appears in on the ballot …

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1258392--times-new-roman-how-f...

quadibloc's picture

This seems to agree with another recent article, which was a subject of a thread here, where a study showed that hard-to-read typography leads to people applying more critical thinking to what they read.

Without going into extremes of illegibility, perhaps I might take the liberty of recommending Manfred Klein's Near Aldus as the typeface of the future based on this new scientific research!

Nick Shinn's picture

Psychological researchers have picked up on how the crude comparison of type settings can produce laboratory results.

News media are interested in the “hidden persuaders” aspect of this.

In turn, mini-memes circulate within the design community.

Readability and disfluency are interesting theories, but they have no practical value for typography.

quadibloc's picture

On further reflection, this scientific knowledge could be misused to help convince people of the truth of a dishonest argument, in political or other fields.

Just sort your arguments by their nature...

Where part of your argument is logically sound, but goes against the existing prejudices of the audience, use a hard-to-read type;

Where another part of your argument is concordant with the prejudices of the audience, but has a logical flaw, use an easy-to-read type.

Thus, you would stand a chance of changing the existing opinions of your readers, even though your argument was not valid, because the good parts of your argument, at each point, would be the ones that got traction, while the bad parts got missed or the difficult parts overwhelmed.

Chris Dean's picture

On further reflection, this scientific knowledge could be misused to help convince people of the truth of a dishonest argument, in political or other fields.”

That’s what designers do every day. Only they tend to do it with sex, not science. And, marketing firms are already starting to apply scientific reasoning to design decision making, and using it to sell colourfill. That ship has sailed.

With your statement, you now raise a much larger philosophical question regarding the ethics of rhetoric and persuasion in the field of design.

A gun never shot anyone…

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