This thesis is directed to the area of typography and the affects certain typefaces have on a reader's perception of the message of a text. There have been both empirical and non-empirical studies done that show evidence that connotations and feelings have been associated with typefaces. The intent of this study was to determine the feelings associated with a particular group of typefaces by relating each face to a list of adjective pairs and comparing the results with the content of books which incorporated the face on their jackets. This was to determine whether the content of a book and the feeling of the typeface used on its cover correlated with each other in order to aid in the reader's perception of the subject matter. The book jackets consisted of only type, with no other photograph or illustration. The method of testing used is called the semantic differential method. This method systematically measures degrees of meanings for various stimuli; the typefaces in this case. Twenty typefaces were chosen to be tested against twenty-two pairs of antonym attributes. A normal distribution was set up for each pair of attributes and the results found eight typefaces with two or more attributes of one standard deviation or higher. A sample set of books incorporating one of these eight typefaces on their jackets was collected and the contents of these books were compared with the typeface's attributes. Content matter of the books was determined from bookstore categories, catalog listings, and jacket flap summaries. From the sample sets, the percentage of contents corresponding to an attribute ranged from 0 to 100% for certain faces and certain attributes. Some choices of typefaces seemed very appropriate for a book's content while others did not. It was concluded that although books are categorized by their content, those responsible for choosing typefaces for the covers of these books 1 .) do not always take this categorizing into consideration, or 2.) are not aware of the feelings and connotaions people get from various typefaces. In response to these conclusions, a corollary investigation was performed to determine the reasons book designers do choose particular typefaces when designing book jackets. The responses included individual and per sonal reasons; production, supplier and time limitations; and specific protocol within publishing houses. All felt that a resource containing information regarding typefaces and the feelings they stimulate would be valuable.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Legibility (Printing); Type and type-founding--Psychological aspects; Book jackets--Psychological aspects; Reading, Psychology of
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Hofman, Veronica M., "An Investigation of the affects of typefaces upon reader's perception of the meanings of messages using the semantic differential testing technique" (1988). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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