Typ09 Mexico City

Speaker details

Mary D Dyson

Lecturer, Department of Typography & Graphic Communication The University of Reading | United Kingdom

"Mary Dyson has a PhD in perception and resides in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading, UK. Her published research has explored legibility issues when reading from screen, but she has recently become more interested in how we perceive typefaces, both when we read and when we design them. This has led to a series of experiments on how designers discriminate between typefaces. As a psychologist, she is in the fortunate position of being immersed in a design environment which enables imaginative approaches to research into visual material."

Presentation details

Forget typeface legibility research
What do we do with typefaces when we read?

Session 26 | Room MIDE
Monday 26 October | 15:40 – 15:50

Duration: 10 minutes

The contribution of scientific legibility research to type design practice is somewhat controversial. So, Mary Dyson takes on the role of relationship counsellor. Inspired by Kevin Larson's talk at ATypI 2003, she introduces some ideas from recent psychological experiments that seek to explain how we use and remove typeface-specific details of letters when we read. These ideas are evaluated in relation to the objectives and practices of designing typefaces for reading. The short counselling session will explore areas of agreement and conflict to help you reach your own decisions about the best way forward.

Bridging the gap
Does scientific theory and experiment on how we process typefaces when reading fit with type design knowledge and practice?

Session 27 | Room Anahuac room 3
Friday 30 October | 10:00 – 10:40

Duration: 40 minutes

Having introduced the topic of what we do with typefaces when we read, this session provides an overview of current scientific literature on: how we recognise words, looking at the role of letters, words and spaces between letters in reading; and how we recognise letters, introducing the features identified in various studies. This leads to a focus on how the particular characteristics of a typeface may be used to facilitate letter recognition (referred to as 'font tuning'). Examples are proposed of parallels and contradictions between research findings and guidance on designing typefaces. Participants responses to these proposals will be welcomed.

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