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How can fonts convey tone?

 
 
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 02:23 am
Why are some fonts 'bad' fonts? Is it through association, or qualities intrinsic to the font itself? How can fonts convey different moods or tones?

The font 'comic sans' is a good example. A lot of people hate it, and people can often come across as stupid for using it, see the examples listed here:
http://sixrevisions.com/graphics-design/comic-sans-the-font-everyone-loves-to-hate/

I'm just interested, if it isn't through association, how can fonts convey mood? The website states:

Quote:
The single biggest complaint against Comic Sans is that Comic Sans portrays a very definite tone and feeling when it’s used; mainly, an immature, informal, childish mood.


I can see how people find this true. But how is it possible for a font to convey 'tone'?
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failures art
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 03:32 am
Whoa. I just started a thread on fonts as well! Fonts on the brain...

I think the psychological component of typography (read: what is conveyed non-text) is a matter of a number of components of a given font. Actually, forget fonts for one second. Just think about observing your own handwriting and then think about observations you've made about others based on their handwriting. Fonts that are more formal may have aesthetic features like serifs or other complex geometry that assist the reader in each character's legibility. If the design of that font is specifically to aid in legibility, then it's tone could be interpreted as being serious or clinical. A font like comic sans (which get's all sorts of **** along with papyrus) is in many ways a reproduction of handwriting in print form (already less formal or mature) as opposed to cursive or ornate calligraphy type fonts.

A
Related reading pleasure
T
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fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 04:13 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
I congratulate you on another interesting question.

I would imagine name of font, and associative context (e.g. German Gothic, Celtic) are important issues at the psychological level. At the philosophical level you might consider looking at the question from point of view of Derrida's focus on text and historicism. Or perhaps, there are side issues of Eastern calligraphy and the meditational channelling of "energy" though the writing implement.
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 05:30 am
Of course fonts evoke emotion. I love putting bold italic on a simple sans-serif font for emphasis.

Font change stimulate the brain. It is recommended not to usse more than 3 fonts for a flyer or business card.

But I want to strangle people when I see Old English caps used in headlines or on vehicles.
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 08:04 am
Fonts can make reading material look approachable (elementary school books), scholarly, modern, old-fashioned, and just plain readable.

IMO, type should be used to enhance a reader's experience, not to distract the reader from reading.

Of course this depends on what's being read. I'm mostly thinking about books. Advertising is a whole other issue. Personal stuff is another issue still.

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The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2011 09:39 pm
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

I congratulate you on another interesting question.

I would imagine name of font, and associative context (e.g. German Gothic, Celtic) are important issues at the psychological level. At the philosophical level you might consider looking at the question from point of view of Derrida's focus on text and historicism. Or perhaps, there are side issues of Eastern calligraphy and the meditational channelling of "energy" though the writing implement.


Thank you to everyone who replied.
Fresco, I have googled, but I can't find exactly what Derrida wrote on text. I know he was concerned with visual presentation within his own writings, though.

I am sure it would be possible to 'decode' the sets of characteristics of certain font formations and their function in creating specific effects. My interest would be in the ones which appear to have no 'cultural' association, for example, how a certain set of curves may make a font appear more 'open' or 'easy on the eye' than another. I'm also interested in our perceptions of these sorts of qualities within music, which is how I got to start thinking about fonts.
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2011 09:49 pm
@PUNKEY,
PUNKEY wrote:

Of course fonts evoke emotion. I love putting bold italic on a simple sans-serif font for emphasis.

Font change stimulate the brain. It is recommended not to usse more than 3 fonts for a flyer or business card.

But I want to strangle people when I see Old English caps used in headlines or on vehicles.


The question wasn't 'do they?' but 'HOW do they?'
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2011 10:02 pm
@The Pentacle Queen,
Here are some short articles on page layouts, graphic design, selecting fonts and colors, etc., from a media industry resource website that I've used for quite awhile. The tips and complaints within also apply to webpage, advertising and print media design.


http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/selecting-right-font_b149

http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/page-design-print-vs-online_b115

http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/what-we-can-learn-from-eyetrack-studies_b284

http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/10-reasons-why-online-news-sites-suck_b291

http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/what-color-is-news_b114

http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/designing-for-computer-other-than-your_b80

http://www.mediabistro.com/10000words/four-fixable-sins-of-news-design_b1741
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Jan, 2011 10:11 pm
@Butrflynet,
For the psychology of fonts, here are some other articles that discuss it:

http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl/usabilitynews/81/PersonalityofFonts.asp

http://www.typophile.com/node/58433
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jan, 2011 01:18 am
@The Pentacle Queen,
I guessed you were looking for a music analogy. There was a recent programme on the Arts Channel (245 Sky) on the psychology, sociology and neurology of music which might give some ideas in this respect. The closest aspect is timbre and you might explore the selection of different instruments for different "jobs".

As far as Derrida is concerned, he appears to consider the reading of text as "an event" to which the reader contributes his own biases etc. Text never stands "alone", and fonts will influence the operation of biases probably in a conditioned cultural manner. (But see the references given by Butterflynet).
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Feb, 2011 05:25 am
http://coed.rampagenetwork.net/files/comics/20110202.png
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Feb, 2011 09:25 pm
PQ, I ran across this site and thought it might be of interest to you. It is a collection of typographic portraits. Here are a few that I particularly liked:

http://www.csswow.com/50-plus-typographic-portraits/

http://designerscouch.org.s3.amazonaws.com/collection/1280987514_6629_bigthumb.jpeg

http://designerscouch.org.s3.amazonaws.com/collection/1280987372_2846_bigthumb.jpeg

http://designerscouch.org.s3.amazonaws.com/collection/1280987552_6168_bigthumb.jpeg
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Feb, 2011 09:31 pm
@Butrflynet,
Found another one...this is a site for logo designers to show off their work. You can see how the various logos and fonts convey differing personalities for the businesses.

http://logofaves.com/
0 Replies
 
 

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