Readability

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6 March 2013 - 9:45am -- johnd

It would seem that the more complex or elaborate a font, the more likely a reader is to value the message it delivers. 

New Scientist magazine reports an experiment where information using fonts requiring increased effort to read was more likely to be retained than the same message using simpler fonts.

Apparently, when reading is easy, we skip lttrs and fire up that section of the brain devoted to pattern recognition, with the consequence that a fair bit falls through the cracks. 

Participants in this experiment thought that the same information printed in the elaborate font was more subtle, complex and valuable.

We are not advocating the use of Rage Italic in your next long document.  You might find readers using that part of the brain that advises them to pour a drink and go and watch an episode of Neighbours. 

We do, however, point out the wider use of serif fonts in newspapers, magazines, novels and journals where a more detailed argument or scenario might be presented. Just saying.

 

PS. Who noticed that ‘or’ is repeated in the headline.