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The conscious awareness of Comic Sans promotes — at least among some people — contempt and summary dismissal.
August 9, 2012 2:15 PM   Subscribe

But is there a font that promotes, engenders a belief that a sentence is true?
posted by OverlappingElvis (69 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's good to know that Comic Sans is not just subjectively bad, but objectively bad.
posted by zsazsa at 2:19 PM on August 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


It was Baskerville all along! I knew it!
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:20 PM on August 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's a shame they didn't test the font that looks like you cut a bunch of letters out of the newspaper and pasted them together to tell someone that if the money isn't put in a brown paper bag and deposited on the seat of the third stall in the bus station men's bathroom at 2 p.m., the bomb will go off. Because that font is a lot more believable than Baskerville.
posted by griphus at 2:27 PM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


See also the SF novella Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone, a story about (among other things) a typeface that literally compels the person to do or believe whatever is written in it.
posted by Sokka shot first at 2:27 PM on August 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I averaged an A- with Georgia last semester, too.
posted by azarbayejani at 2:28 PM on August 9, 2012


fnord
posted by dunkadunc at 2:29 PM on August 9, 2012


That guy must be smarter than me.
posted by azarbayejani at 2:29 PM on August 9, 2012


Wow--that was sort of like reading Lost in the Cosmos fan fic. What a fascinating article.
posted by resurrexit at 2:29 PM on August 9, 2012


Is it surprising, though? Few people show up for a job interview in tank-top and flip flops, for example. Right or wrong, it seems understood that people respond to presentation in ways that influence perception.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:31 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of this XKCD strip.

You'll never find a font that frees you from having to express a convincing argument.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:33 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, maybe it's weird, but I think I find Comic Sans more trustworthy in certain situations, as far as the people who use it go.

Comic Sans is hard to read, and that's where I stop caring as far as an objective study of the font goes. When I see someone using it (non-ironically), I just think they're not really trying, but also, they don't even know that they aren't trying.

When I see Helvetica, I think that they want me to know that they're trying, without actually trying.

Lazy and self-satisfied vs. ignorant. Which do I choose? I'll trust ignorant with my money, but maybe not so much with giving me information I depend on.

(and now if I see Baskerville, I'm just going to ignore it, because obviously THOSE people are trying to manipulate me)
posted by hanoixan at 2:34 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fonts do carry weight (pun intended). (I'll admit to a great deal of personal bias here, though; I spend an inordinate amount of time on every project I do choosing just the right font.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:35 PM on August 9, 2012


I actually thought that Comic Sans might be more persuasive (at least when talking about impending asteroids) because physicists seem strangely drawn to it. If you see comic sans, then either the writer isn't really that interested in convincing you, or they're a physicist.

Also, is this where I get to note that Computer Modern and Westminster should totally switch names?
posted by Jpfed at 2:36 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Business card designers understand this more deeply than anyone else in the world.

You have 0.003 second to make an impression with a 2x3.5" piece of card. Everything must be in perfect harmony, starting with overall design, font, layout, etc etc etc....

A great card can make a business (but you do have to follow through).
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:37 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


That guy must be smarter than me.

Errol Morris? Yeah, he's done some stuff here and there.
posted by zsazsa at 2:38 PM on August 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm going to just gently suggest that the Renaud guy might want to devote a little more of his studies to research methods:
I haven’t drastically changed the amount of effort I’m putting into my writing. I’m probably even spending less time with them now than I did earlier in my studies, and while I guess you could argue that I’m probably just being a great example of practice making perfect, I’ve got my doubts...
Because this is just a handwave around the single most glaringly obvious alternate explanation — that he's learned to write better in college, just as most students do, whether he thinks so or not. (The second-most-obvious alternate explanation, random variation, is one he doesn't even seem to know he should be handwaving away.) It's a cute piece, but it doesn't provide convincing evidence for its claims.
posted by RogerB at 2:41 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


What I want to know is why people who have stupid, non-fact-based things to say tend to gravitate towards Comic Sans.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:42 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested in seeing a comparison between Baskerville and Garamond. May the best font win!
posted by xekul at 2:42 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I ain't no font nerd graphical designer or nothin', but I know this much - if it's written in Tempus Sans, it is most definitely bullshit.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:45 PM on August 9, 2012


Some good analysis of the errors in this study on hacker news.
posted by jewzilla at 2:46 PM on August 9, 2012


Baskerville, preferred typeface of Benjamin Franklin:
Franklin was a huge fan of Baskerville’s work, and in a letter to Baskerville (1760) he enthusiastically defends Baskerville’s types, recounting a discussion he had with an English gentleman who claimed that Baskerville’s ‘ultra-thin’ serifs and narrow strokes would blind its readers.

Franklin mischievously tore off the top of a Caslon specimen (to remove any mention of Caslon, of course), and showed it to the gentleman, claiming that it was the work of Baskerville. The gentleman examined the specimen, and thinking that it was indeed a Baskerville specimen, started to point out the worst features of ‘Baskeville’s’ type.

Of course this proves nothing, but Mr. Franklin was no fool.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:48 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd be interested in seeing a comparison between Baskerville and Garamond.

Garamond is just so damn beautiful, but it's a persuasiveness contest, not a beauty contest.
posted by Jpfed at 2:49 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Times New Roman does not seem to have been included in the study.

I use Times New Roman because one of my first professors in university explicitly stated that she wanted all papers formatted in Times New Roman, 12 point, with a 1-inch margin on all sides. Since she was my only professor with such explicit (and very clearly stated) requirements, I just used them on all of my papers that year.

Since then, I have always felt that serious, professional/academic writing is always best presented in manuscript form in Times New Roman, 12 point with 1-inch margins, though I've been metricizing my margins to 2cm since switching to OpenOffice. It's not as pretty or elegant as other fonts, but it's lack of attractiveness just makes it seem more serious.
posted by jb at 2:49 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


"It's gonna work! I'm using a very convincing font: it's bold, and has a lot of serifs."
posted by weston at 2:50 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd be interested in seeing a comparison between Baskerville and Garamond. May the best font win!

I agree with Mr. Franklin. Except for the numbers "5" and "9", I think Baskerville is a more pleasing font than Garamond.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:50 PM on August 9, 2012


Hm. Quote opponent's argument in comic sans, then refute.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:54 PM on August 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well of course this is true! This is why I am always very sure to fill out my 1040 forms with the Diablo font.
posted by furiousthought at 2:56 PM on August 9, 2012


other font observations:

When you use Blackadder font, few people catch the irony.

Avant Garde, Bauhaus and Bookman Swash keeps you trapped in the 1970s.

Clarendon makes you feel like you're in a National Park.

Cooper Black makes you look like a fat, orange cat.

Copperplate makes it look like you come from old money.

Gill sans makes you look like a pervert.

Impact makes everything you write a meme (which is NOT a good thing).

Latin wide makes people not want to have the airplane seat next to you (unless they use Onyx)

Lucida (in Serif, Sans and Handwriting variations) makes it appear you can't commit to anything.

NOBODY has handwriting like Mistral.

Rockwell doesn't really rock much.

Tahoma is very unpopular in Tacoma (but not in Seattle).

Trebuchet, sadly, is ineffective at flinging content over walls.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:59 PM on August 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


When you use Blackadder font, few people catch the irony.

What's the irony?

unless it's like goldy, only made of iron?
posted by jb at 3:00 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


When someone tells me in Comic Sans that leftovers in the office fridge will be tossed at the end of the week--I believe them.
posted by sourwookie at 3:14 PM on August 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


The psych professor he talks to is David Dunning, who also famously demonstrated that the worse you are at something the more likely you are to think you are good at it (sort of).
posted by The Bellman at 3:22 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The psych professor he talks to is David Dunning, who also famously demonstrated that the worse you are at something the more likely you are to think you are good at it (sort of).

That's why you all suck and I'm great.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:25 PM on August 9, 2012


It's always a bit...humorous?...touching?...when I see people discovering stuff like this, that I've spent most of my life working with.

If anyone here is of a recent design/art school vintage, may I ask...Do they still teach these subtleties of font selection in school anymore? I ask because, I swear, it's damned difficult to find a young designer that properly understands font selection and typography. I suppose it's because they're all so web-oriented anymore.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:30 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


They used a multiple comparisons measure! This may be a first in popular science writing.
posted by monocyte at 3:34 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Trajan. Sorkin uses it a lot. But not in The Newsroom AND THAT'S WHY IT'S FAILING AARON!
posted by PapaLobo at 3:35 PM on August 9, 2012


Trajan. Sorkin uses it a lot. But not in The Newsroom AND THAT'S WHY IT'S FAILING AARON!

It's not just Sorkin. Trajan is the Movie Font.

(Nothing against it; Trajan is a beautiful font. I'm doing a huuuuge print job right now that uses Trajan for all titling and headers.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:47 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cooper Black makes you look like a fat, orange cat.

Ah, the font of the intarwebbs!
posted by BlueHorse at 4:14 PM on August 9, 2012


Beautiful. I remember spending hours fiddling with fonts for school book reports when I got hold of the Tempus word processor for the Atari ST. Tempus came with special printer drivers that promised near laser-printer quality on 9-pin dot-matrix printers. It took hours to print anything, with long ponderous silences and then a determined high-pitched grind, as it rammed layer on layer of ink onto the page. I thought it looked great, but in retrospect I suppose it just made everything look kind of bold and kind of smudgey. But it was great for the time. I loved the authoritative pomposity of typefaces like Garamond and Baskerville, and I guess the teachers agreed, because the book reports all got really good grades. Later when computers became more common and my fellow classmates started submitting reports done in WordPerfect and early versions of Word, I felt an acute annoyance at their crude layout attempts, how they tried to make things appear in the center of the page by adding lots of spaces in front and underlining things using the = sign. I guess some of the derision aimed at YouTube and Facebook comments - no punctuation, textspeak, wanton language dismemberment - is a variant of that. Here on Metafilter of course we have our own conventions - the stolid multi-paragraph, the nonchalant-that-needs-no-period, the flippant ALLCAPS. Whatever looks intelligent, or persuasive, or en forme. Beautiful rhetoric.
posted by deo rei at 4:16 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Morris isn't as confident with handwriting as he is with fonts. (Or is this another hidden test, to see if we're paying attention?) The final line of Capt Walker's Crimean War journal, before the handwriting changes, doesn't read "a generous one I should think — hill down to the plains", as in the transcription, but "a general one I should think will soon take place".
posted by verstegan at 4:20 PM on August 9, 2012


I've been thinking about this for years. I spend a lot of time studying sociolinguistics, specifically, the social meaning of styles. Much of the groundwork in this field is focused on speech...what is conveyed when people modulate their voice, or change the quality of vowels, or articulate certain sounds in marked ways. Think of what it means to say "dude." vs. "duuuuude" vs. "Dude!" Or saying "like" with a super-pronounced "k" sound, as if you're trying to be superarticulate or mocking. There's a whole landscape of knowledge that we acquire as we move through the world, have experiences, pick up memes, partake in events and on. We use all of this to place ourselves in this world...saying things certain ways and developing our own style, based on where we are and what we're trying to do. If this wasn't meaningful to us, everything would be flat and we'd perceive it as such.

The same holds true in writing. As more and more of our communication exists in text-based communication, we gain little insights and histories about the elements of styles (NOT the Strunk and White sense here). These elements are the punctuation, the comment lengths, where the breaks are, the formalities, and also, the fonts. Every font choice we make in a document reinforces or reappropriates some ideology about style. Sometimes it's marked, sometimes it's not. It's always context dependent.

Sometimes we have no choice. Even the default MetaFilter font has social meaning to us. We may not realize we recognize it when we see it elsewhere, but regardless, it's familiar to us. It has meaning in that sense. Comic Sans has this other meaning, and these days that meaning is more or less agreed upon. What do we think of the person who uses Comic Sans in what we know to be an "inappropriate" context?

There is a social world that is building up around us here. Competence in that world is knowledge about the stylistic meanings of textual elements. This article totally proves that reality, even if the methodology is flawed. We know it exists and we are only just starting to recognize it as a thing with some sort of gravity. Graphic designers implicitly see this and constantly work towards pushing the edges of what's already commonly understood. As the world changes, so do the values, so do the styles, which changes the world and the values and the styles.

"Are there certain fonts that compel a belief that the sentences they are written in are true?"

I really do like where the author was going with all of this, but the premise of the question is totally off. It assumes that there is something inherent in the font that would sway a person in an objective world, where fonts have no histories or social meanings. The question should really be "What are the beliefs we have about different fonts that bias our judgments when viewing content?" In other words, the original question stops short of the really interesting part. What is the social meaning (indexicality) of Comic Sans (or Times or Baskerville)? How did it come to be that way? What were the crucial social events that shaped its specific history? And THEN, how does all that implicit knowledge influence beliefs in the validity of a statement written in Comic Sans in a given context?
posted by iamkimiam at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Oh god that is a lot of text. I'm sorry.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:37 PM on August 9, 2012


(Or is this another hidden test, to see if we're paying attention?)

This is why I'm really surprised Morris's editors (he has editors, right?) let him get away with the poll stunt. It's now impossible to take any future Morris blog post at its word when it tells its readers what it's up to, which seems a bit at odds with, you know, journalism and ethics and all that.
posted by RogerB at 4:38 PM on August 9, 2012


I tend to believe things written in Computer Modern. Especially when accompanied by graphs and tables.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 4:49 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


oh god this was five whole years ago I've been on this site way too long.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:52 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ha! That thread initially renders itself in Comic Sans. Then it puts on a serious face and hangs (hides?) its head in Helvetic shame.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:57 PM on August 9, 2012


oh god this was five whole years ago I've been on this site way too long.

This is not possible.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:14 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not an expert on this, but the results for each font look awfully similar.

Here are the raw counts (typed in about 30 seconds from the histograms, so no guarantees for accuracy). Rows are from strong agreement to strong disagreement.

baskerville,comic_sans,computer_modern,georgia,helvetica,trebuchet
1669,1567,1566,1580,1618,1578
2490,2418,2590,2500,2520,2527
544,538,524,574,577,588
388,392,330,374,381,360
1460,1547,1460,1520,1537,1541
985,1045,1007,1101,1066,1062

Here are the results as percentages; note how similar they all are:

baskerville,comic_sans,computer_modern,georgia,helvetica,trebuchet
0.221,0.209,0.209,0.207,0.210,0.206
0.330,0.322,0.346,0.327,0.327,0.330
0.072,0.072,0.070,0.075,0.075,0.077
0.051,0.052,0.044,0.049,0.049,0.047
0.194,0.206,0.195,0.199,0.200,0.201
0.131,0.139,0.135,0.144,0.138,0.139

A chi-square test of the raw count table gives us a p-value of 0.13.

It looks like the significant results reported are either due to aggregating (adding up all the agrees and all the disagrees) or the weighting they use. If you aggregate and do a chi-square test, you get a p-value of 0.03. And if you then do pairwise chi-square tests, you do get some low p-values, including 0.0069 for baskerville vs comic sans -- but then you've done 15 tests then (not, as they say, 6), and once you correct for that, even 0.0069 is not significant. Of course, if you weight things right, you'll get the significance back again, but that's pretty sketchy.
posted by chortly at 5:19 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Amusingly this article comes on the heels of my professor telling us yesterday that he'd switched our class's problem set handouts from the default LaTeX font to a less conventional font after the first problem set, and noticed we stopped complaining about how hard the math was. Boy, did I feel manipulated.

But yeah, I do associate that standard LaTeX font with super-hard math so I guess it makes sense.
posted by town of cats at 5:27 PM on August 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hm. Quote opponent's argument in comic sans, then refute.

P.Z. Myers actually does this.
posted by vogon_poet at 5:35 PM on August 9, 2012


If I ever have to deliver bad news, I do it in Comic Sans
posted by Renoroc at 5:45 PM on August 9, 2012


I wrote all of my college papers in LaTeX specifically so they'd be in Computer Modern, even though they had no math. I was a psych major so I enjoyed the irony that I was (potentially) priming my professors to accept my conclusions.
posted by nev at 5:51 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Morris is no analyst but he did teach me the amazing (to me) item that the New York Times website uses Georgia, not Times New Roman. There was a short blurb on the Hacker News a couple months ago which I can no longer find where some font guy explains how horrible comic sans is and why in around seven paragraphs, no muss, no fuss, no bullshit. I did not have to be convinced but I wish I had bookmarked the sucker.
posted by bukvich at 6:13 PM on August 9, 2012


This is more than seven paragraphs, but it might be what that HN post linked to.
posted by Jpfed at 6:42 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Middle school teachers like to produce their handouts in Comic Sans because they think their students will like it, and the students like to use Comic Sans because they think that's how you're supposed to do it. Drives me bonkers.
posted by Peach at 6:45 PM on August 9, 2012


Ya Jpfed you guessed it. Gracias!
posted by bukvich at 7:31 PM on August 9, 2012


Computer Modern these days gets me "so you wrote your resume in LaTeX?"

Well, sometimes. If it does, that's a point in favor of the company I'm talking to.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:43 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think in Courier. Fixed pitch. Neutral. Undemanding. Helps me estimate my sentence and page length. I like the way it fills up the page, like my old Royal Portable. The words flow, without distraction. It's the typeface that says, shyly, "Ignore me. But read my words."
posted by SPrintF at 9:16 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


jb: I use Times New Roman because one of my first professors in university explicitly stated that she wanted all papers formatted in Times New Roman, 12 point, with a 1-inch margin on all sides.

I actually require exactly that on most of the papers for my writing classes: 12pt TNR, 1" margins. I could have settled on any font, I suppose, but I'm partial to TNR because it's ubiquitous on my machines, my students are familiar with it, and it doesn't make my eyes bleed when I'm reading ~100 technical writing assignments (hard copies, not electronic. I've not delved into that morass yet.). I consider TNR generically formal. If I had more time to spend on such things, I would love to take a few weeks to discuss and explore font choices for various document types.

Like, SPrintF, though, I write in Courier for those same reasons.
posted by malthusan at 9:52 PM on August 9, 2012


can there be day when everything on metafilter is Comic Sans?
posted by ninjew at 9:57 PM on August 9, 2012


I work in disability: Comic Sans is often preferred by people with print impairments (e.g. dyslexia) and other difficulties reading. There are several reasons why this might be the case:
  • The letters are as they are hand-written - a and g appear as they would when you start writing them. This consistency is especially important for readers who are also learning to write - small children.
  • You can tell letters apart even if you rotate and transform them: I1il all look different. Capital I has serifs, for example, so it doesn't look like lowercase L. Lowercase B and D are different, if only slightly. Swapping these letters is a significant problem in poor readers (e.g. spelling/reading "bad" as "dab")
  • The width of each character is wider than for other typefaces at the same font size. Greater inter-character spacing is easier to read.

    Whether these effects are "real" or not is unclear (reading is a very complex process, and our own ability to judge our own performance is very poor) but these effects are certainly experienced by readers.

    So you may not like Comic Sans but it is easier to read for many, many people, and its ubiquity - every computer has it - makes it very valuable. I entirely accept that it is unfashionable. This does not decrease its utility.

    I suspect, but cannot prove, that Cyril Burt was right in his book "A Psychological Study of Typography", 1959:
    Certain readers, for example, reported that they found 12-point type more legible than 10-point, others that they found 9-point type quite as legible as 10-point type, when their actual performances demonstrated beyond question that they were wholly mistaken. Often they ascribed to the design of the type effects that were really due to the size of the type or to the leading. The spacing between the lines and the length of the measure produce illusory estimates of the relative size of the print: with both 9- and 10-point type, readers who found that the change from solid type to 2-point leading improved their accuracy or speed frequently explained that they found 'the large type much easier when the size of the face had not been altered. Thus, as Mrs Beatrice Warde has rightly observed, What the book critic calls readability is not a synonym for what the optician calls legibility.' Nearly all tended to read with greater facility the kind of types that they preferred, and were inclined to confuse intrinsic legibility with their private aesthetic preferences. As we have seen, preference depends largely upon custom and throughout it seemed evident that almost everyone reads most easily matter set up in the style and size to which he has become habituated.
    That is, you read best what you read most. Whether or not you believe it is another matter: as chortly points out above, this doesn't appear to show the affect alleged.

    As a crazy aside, however, these guys found that reading something in Comic Sans means that you retain the information better: Fortune favors the bold (and the Italicized): effects of disfluency on educational outcomes. (Diemand-Yauman et al, Cognition 2011.

    All corrections/new citations welcome: I'm not a typographer.


    TL;DR: Comic Sans is easier to read for many people with reading problems. Stop attacking it on aesthetics.

  • posted by alasdair at 11:21 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


    What use can we make of Comic Sans? Bad fonts decrease belief in God:
    ... when the text is hard to read, we have to concentrate harder. We step our analytical brain up a gear, and quash our instinctive reactions.
    posted by fredludd at 12:48 AM on August 10, 2012


    That is, you read best what you read most.

    So I read best white text on a blue background.

    No, wait, I lied. I read best black text on a white background with a blue bar at the top.
    posted by dhartung at 6:54 AM on August 10, 2012


    Nothing against it; Trajan is a beautiful font.

    Phew!

    (Why do I always read these threads right after placing a print order?)
    posted by malocchio at 8:01 AM on August 10, 2012


    it doesn't make my eyes bleed when I'm reading

    I read somewhere - and then forgot where - that serifed fonts are easier to read in print, but sans-serifed are easier to read on a screen.

    I don't know what Metafilter has (my web browser's default?) but it's a sans serif and easy to read.
    posted by jb at 8:18 AM on August 10, 2012


    Anything written in Verdana is a lie.

    (get it? get it?)
    posted by fungible at 8:32 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


    TL;DR: Comic Sans is easier to read for many people with reading problems. Stop attacking it on aesthetics.

    Why should I stop? OK, so it's useful, but that doesn't keep it from looking ugly as sin. Lots of highly useful things are ugly.
    posted by zsazsa at 10:25 AM on August 10, 2012


    alasdair: did you see this post about a font specifically designed for dyslexics? It makes my eyes bleed, but it's not targeted at me.

    iamkimiam: Interesting that you chose "dude" as an example. I've lived in both Southern and Norther California, and I used to be able to do five different "dude"s: OC, LA, Santa Cruz, East Bay, and I forget the last one. People would scoff, but after listening many would agree that there is more than one way to say it. I've sadly lost the skill, trading it for the ability to tell that Cliff Clavin's accent is definitely not from the North Shore.
    posted by benito.strauss at 5:58 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


    TL;DR: Comic Sans is easier to read for many people with reading problems. Stop attacking it on aesthetics.

    This surprises me. According to this site, retention increased because it was harder to read.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 12:54 PM on August 12, 2012


    Broken Letters: A Typogeography of Europe
    What you'd probably not consider, is to study a map of the different alphabets in official use across Europe today. Such a map would be rather uniform: the Latin alphabet dominates the entire continent, with the exception of Greece, which uses its own Greek alphabet, and a number of Slavic countries in the southern Balkans [4] and in eastern Europe [5], which use the Cyrillic alphabet.

    But at the beginning of the 20th century, the picture was much more diverse - at least according to this German map, which shows the distribution of typefaces across Europe in 1901. The most obvious difference with the situation today is the existence of a distinct Deutsches Alphabet ('German alphabet'), dominating central Europe and some parts beyond.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:33 AM on August 15, 2012


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