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Readability and reading behaviour in the Future

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danger

I'll throw in a few musings to this thread even though it seems to have died down.

What timeframe are you asking about?

As for next year, I think we'll continue to see more "club kid" fonts and a healthy slew of old traditional text faces as well.

If we're talking 10 years out, we might get to see the coming of the much hearalded movable print (small, flexible screens for newspapers, magazines, packaging). My feeling is the first of these products will be of fairly low resolution so we'll see more of the screen-loving fonts like the ones we're all looking at right now.

:::::::::: What are or will be the most influencial factors for this change, if a change happens?

Technology and Globalization (American cultural imperialism).

:::::::::: Will we see more Sansserif or serif type, if so, why?

If we're talking the short therm (10 years), I believe that we will be seeing sans serif faces increasing a their market share but all of the text faces will continue to lose share to display type if for no other reason that it's easier to design without a detailed understanding of letterforms. We are at the explosion of type design, I don't see any reason why it should slow down in the near future.

:::::::::: How much does this depend on the development of technology? (HiRes monitors e.g.)

High resolution monitors shouldn't change the type designs themselves as much as it should increase the appreciation of the designs. Most of us design primarily for print and the ability to display our print outlines accurately on the screen would be a wonderful bonus. Even Zuzana Licko's Base series (designed to look good on a screen and on paper) has a superb outline. I would love to see it on a high resolution screen.

>>Interesting discussion on "word glyphs". I've also heard a theory that whenever a language is faced with multiple-glyph forms for words, and single glyphs, the single glyph ultimately wins out (the contention being that logographic languages are innately preferable). Examples: people prefer & to "and"; or @ to "at"; or the number 2 to "to" and "too". Could our whole language be transformed in such a manner?

Eric Gill in his "An Essay on Typography" argued that the ampersand should not be relegated to corporate logotypes (Johnson&Johnson) & he used it in the place of "and" throughout the work. However, I find that many people read it not as "and" but instead as " 'n ", which is also a shortening.

As for the coming death of reading: Symbols will always have to be deciphered so that messages can be communicated without the presence of sound. We read the "Do Not Enter" roadway sign no matter where we are in the world, but we still read it by shape and color just as we read the letter "J". So what if teenagers don't read anymore (J.K. Rowling would laugh at that by the way), they write much more than any previous generation. Does it matter if it's "I will C U @ 2 by the gym"? Remember, legibility is a matter of familiarity and so is readability. I can't read the all-cap blackletter that's popular among American teen-aged car enthusiasts, but you can bet they can.

Perhaps that's the future of typography for ya: Blackletter. Lots and lots of blackletter. If so, I need better glasses.

Graham

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