Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Are we there yet? Don’t be a dingbat when choosing a font

TanyaPereznewW

By
From page A6 | July 16, 2014 |

Something that I’m supremely interested in that I’m pretty sure is actually boring beyond words is fonts. I love the variety and how it’s possible to find just the right one to convey a message. For example, a lariat-style font makes a fun headline if you’re doing a story on a calf-roping competition.

As I’ve been looking at scores of newspaper front pages over the past month to see modern layouts that we at The Enterprise might emulate, fonts are a big issue.

I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “Fonts? You mean the way the letters look as I’m reading? I don’t even notice that.” Which is probably a main goal when choosing typeface for many column inches of newspaper print … notice the content, not the text.

Recently I read a story by Chris Gayomali titled “How typeface influences the way we read and think” from The Week (http://theweek.com/article/index/245632/how-typeface-influences-the-way-we-read-and-think). This June 2013 article told the story of the researchers who presented their ground-breaking findings about the Higgs boson “God Particle” in the highly irreverent font called Comic Sans. I confess to liking Comic Sans; when it’s used to deliver a casual message, or maybe a newsletter from a kindergarten teacher, it’s adorable.

But is “adorable” what these heavy-hitter scientists were going for as they presented one of the biggest discoveries in years? The charts, the equations and the summaries were all delivered in a childlike, simplistic typeface better suited to a kid’s lemonade stand. Kind of makes me want to spew a string of zapf dingbats.

Although we might like to think we are beyond judging books by their covers, our brains are wired to value how things look. And our brains don’t value Comic Sans.

The Week story went on to say that Errol Morris of The New York Times “conducted an experiment on the publication’s unsuspecting online readers.” An article about a scientific study was posted on the NY Times site in six different fonts: Baskerville, Computer Modern, Georgia, Helvetica, Comic Sans and Trebuchet. A quiz after the article evaluated whether readers believed the study’s conclusions.

The quiz results showed that readers were more likely to believe the conclusions when the story was presented in Baskerville; they were least likely when it was presented in Comic Sans. Baskerville is a serious and elegant font, conveying the notion that what you are reading is important and true.

Further in the article, a university student named Phil Renaud conducted an informal study on fonts. In six semesters, he wrote 52 essays using three different fonts. Of the 11 essays Renaud wrote in Times New Roman, a very common font, his average grade was A-minus. He wrote 18 essays in Trebuchet MS, receiving an average grade of B-minus. And of the 23 essays he wrote using the font Georgia, he had an A average.

Said The Week story, “Renaud’s observations were consistent with a 1998 study from Carnegie Mellon, which pitted Times New Roman against Georgia. Participants overwhelmingly preferred Georgia over its stodgier doppelgänger, judging Georgia to be ‘sharper, more pleasing, and easier to read.’ ”

Although the bumps in grades or believability were not huge in the font experiments, it seems like a good idea to tip the scales in your favor by using Baskerville or Georgia for essays and research. Maybe it will be the difference between your kid getting into Harvard or not.

— Tanya Perez is an associate editor at The Enterprise. Her column publishes every other Wednesday. Reach her at tperez@davisenterprise.net. Follow her on Twitter at @enterprisetanya

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24