And the award goes to - Typography
In the wake of the Oscars fiasco, the world saw at least a dozen articles stressing the importance of good graphic design. Honestly, as designers we’d never thought this day would come. Much to everyone’s surprise yet obviously not ours, what could’ve saved La La Land from having their dreams shattered on global television was a simple font change. But is it really that simple? Is the content that we read each day just randomly woven together? Does there lie a deeper meaning behind every word that’s fed to us? Have these questions subconsciously convinced you of what I’m saying even before I’ve made a case?
Fortunately or unfortunately, the person feeding you the information has substantial control over what to make you feel when you absorb the content. This is where typography comes into play. It is a system designed to ascertain importance to the way a word looks. Coupled with the definition, the word is presented to you not just in a functional capacity, but as a means to inculcate a feeling. Thus, words are no longer just words – they’re emotions.
So how do designers use this medium to convey ideas?
Suppose the deodorant brand, Axe had its logo written in a cursive font. Would it still be perceived as manly?
The Axe Effect
Assuming that the product truly makes men as irresistible as chocolate, using a running typeface just wouldn’t seem masculine. In other words, it wouldn’t arouse the right feeling, causing men to walk away from the product. In a world where we’re being fed with more information than we can process, garnering the right reaction seems to be the only way to capture an audience.
However, this doesn’t mean that fonts are all about the visual. There are numerous functional aspects to a font, much closer to home. The newspaper you read each morning is written in a serif font because serifs allow the human mind to join each letter to the last, allowing the brain to read faster and more efficiently. The quantity of content in a newspaper being tremendous, serifs prove to be the better choice for readers to skim through the information. Then why doesn’t your smartphone use a serif font? Because unlike the print media, your smartphone screen works in pixels. For a digitized medium, where space is everything, sans serif fonts occupy fewer pixels, making them the more popular choice.
For this very reason, we don’t design large pieces of content in all capitals. THIS MAKES THE USER READ EACH INDIVIDUAL LETTER AND NOT THE WORD AS A WHOLE. READING BECOMES DIFFICULT AND SLOWER, CAUSING THE AUDIENCE TO GET FRUSTRATED.
So, in summation, yes – typography does matter. The visual presentation of the content has a considerable amount of influence on how you perceive it. A designer has succeeded when you walk away from his work with the essence of the text, feeling exactly what he wants you to feel. Thus, in a world of overwhelming communication, it's safe to say that a designer’s keyboard is definitely mightier than a sword.