How to look at a reading font



Crompton, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0001-9206-8341
(2014) How to look at a reading font. Word and Image, 30 (2). 79 - 89.

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Abstract

Science portrays letters as bundles of distinctive features such as lines, curves and angles. How can this reductive description be reconciled with the craft of typography? It is argued that although simple features might be necessary to identify letters they are insufficient to explain their design. During reading, anything we observe about letters, other than which ones are present, is unwanted information or noise. It is conjectured that the complications of letterforms are a form of crypsis that prevents us noticing anything about letters over and above the words they make. Fonts are designed to resist logic, rhetoric and art history. A worse subject for ekphrasis cannot be imagined. They are best described negatively as a self-camouflaged set of shapes. Those on the autism spectrum who can see though this camouflage may be word-blind through seeing letters too clearly. This suggests that it was by a darkening of our perception, by precisely not being able to know or see everything, that reading became possible.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ## TULIP Type: Articles/Papers (Journal) ##
Uncontrolled Keywords: reading font, alphabet, family resemblance class, ekphrasis, self-camoflauge, self-describing
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2016 10:06
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2021 12:10
DOI: 10.1080/02666286.2013.817132
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3000042