Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Font of Wisdom -- the Medium Affects the Message


One of the things I discovered long ago when trying to learn the noble art of writing novels is that the medium affects the message.

Suppose you scribble out a hand-written message. Now type it up on a keyboard and print out the words in Courier font -- that's the one that looks like an old-style typewriter. Ask yourself which of the two looks the more authoritative. I bet you didn't choose the hand-written one.

Now try printing the same words in book-style print -- Times New Roman is the choice of champions here. Another leap in authority has been achieved.

When I used to read my favorite authors' books I was affected by their authority, but some of this authority came from the words having been presented in an authoritative way. Professional book designers make a living out of this art. (Most books will contain a note telling you which font has been used -- a detail which shows that book designers are proud of their art.)

Advertising people know all about fonts too, and they use them to persuade you to buy stuff. So next time you go by an advertising board or look at a packet or a can label give the text on it more than just a passing thought -- it has been deliberately designed to snare your mind. 

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