3. Literature Review

Typography is a study of type and typefaces. It consists of typefaces, type size, line length and spacing. It is simply, the art and technique of arranging letters to express a certain emotion or message. Typography is important as it is reader friendly in order to hold the audience’s attention by setting the mood and helping them to image the situation to create and build recognition in the subject. It is a very useful tool to add emotion, drama and personalities, making it for visually appealing. This helps the reader to easily comprehend, understand and even remember the information presented to them. Making the message convincing, typography is an essential element of written communication. 

 Typography is everywhere - almost something we take for granted, not knowing what’s behind these fancy fonts we see everyday, even the most common and dull one on our textbooks and worksheets - Arial. Today typography is considered to be an art by some and is defined as visual and functional arrangements to make writing legible by others. Typography is important because it helps the user to understand the message you are trying to send as it is used to convey a specific mood or feeling. It acts as a standard system which acts as a balance between the visual graphics of the web page and the verbal content that is displayed. It is used to reinforce the meaning of your text. Typography also affects a reader’s concentration and mood when reading the text. Bad typography can cause a reader to lose interest in a text, no matter how good it was. However, good typography attracts more people to read it, no matter how bad the text is, this is because the mind perceives it as an entire piece of picture, an art piece. It is also very visually intriguing to the human mind, therefore leaving a deep impression to increase the chances of the person remembering it. Good typographic design then is not just a way to communicate the character of your text and strengthen reader engagement, it could boost their cognitive performance, too. As previous researches, Larson and Picard (2007) have shown, good typography induces a good mood in the reader, and also could perform better in cognitive tasks. According to another research conducted by Fadeyev (2012), ‘Time flies when you’re reading beautiful text’. This further enforces the point the good typography is essential for better reading and inference. 

 We also found out that all the researches collated their data by 4 methods: Relative Subjective Duration, Likert Scales, Candle Test, and Language Creativity Test. All these tests all test the brain’s memory, perception, judgement and reasoning. 

 In Relative Subjective Duration, subjects of study were then asked to estimate the length of time it took them to complete the task that they were given without a clock or anything that tells time. This estimation that the subject gives is then compared to the actual length of time it took them. If the subject underestimated their timing, this shows that the task was not that taxing on the subject and is therefore easy. However if the subject overestimate their timing, the task was very taxing on the subject and is more difficult. This is a method in which you can justify the subject’s perceptions on task difficulty without actually directly asking the subject. 

 Likert Scales is a method of survey which includes the shading of bubbles in a range. They usually go from: Strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree. The subjects will then fill in this form to indicate their degree of agreement to the statement.  This form of survey can generate more specific answers compared to the regular yes/no questions and won’t be as taxing as the open ended questions. However people can be bias due to being favoured by society and also may avoid extreme tendencies and choices. This way can blatantly reveal to the participant what the experiment is testing for and people might just give the ‘correct’ answer just to ‘please’ the experimenter. 

 The Candle Test is a very popular cognitive test which involves the subject to exercise creativity and problem solving skill. The subjects will then be presented a problem: How to fix a lit candle on a cork board in a way so that the candle wax won’t drip onto the bottom surface? The condition is that one may only use a book of matches and a box of thumbtacks. The solution is to actually empty the box of thumbtacks, put the candle into the box, use the thumbtacks to nail the box and the candle in the box onto the cork board and light the candle with the match. Subjects will only perceive the box as a device to only hold thumbtacks and nothing else. However, this is when either the subject is able to perceive that the box can actually hold other things other than thumbtacks and is actually a functional component. But it has been found that if the display was changed by putting the thumbtacks outside the box instead of inside of the box, more people would be able to solve the problem. 

 Another cognitive testing method, Associated Words was found by Fadeyev (2012), in which Language Creativity was tested. It involved showing the participant groups of three words and asking them to provide another word that will create a common compound with each of the three. (Compound words are tested here to see if the subject can come up with words in relation to others) One  was: For example the subject was given ‘water’, ‘skate’ and ‘cream’. Adding ice to all of them makes each of them a compound word. Some of the examples are ‘wiki’ and ‘encyclopedia’ makes ‘Wikipedia’, ‘lion’ and ‘tiger’ makes ‘liger, ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’ makes ‘Brunch’, ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’ makes smog. Some informal Portmanteaus, such as ‘chillax’  are made of ‘chill’ and ‘relax’ These are the few examples that will be used language creativity test.

 In conclusion, as said by Susan M. Weinschenk (2011), in ‘100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People’, ‘Unusual or overly decorative fonts can interfere with pattern recognition and slow down reading.’ and also, ‘If people have trouble reading the font, they will transfer that feeling of difficulty to the meaning of the text itself and decide that the subject of the text is hard to do or understand.’. 

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