Tuesday, 10 January 2012

ITAP- Legibility & Tone of voice

Legibility and tone of voice are the principles I have chosen to drop my 2 pence on this week. Legibility especially is an incredibly expansive subject and can refer to any which matter of things. In visual communication it generally refers to the legibility of typography primarily, with some other exceptions. Walking down any high street in Britain you will be hit with thousands of logos, advertisements, posters, sales campaigns, information graphics and much more visual stimulus with typography being its focal point. 
 Legibility is what makes some stand out, and some shadow out into the dark chasm of corporate advertising. Now the factors that affect legibility are numerous but can be destructed down to the fundamental elements. Firstly the typeface. The typeface used by a company or independent retailer to promote their establishment can have a number of effects on the potential consumer.
Yellow type fades out.
  If a typeface is sans-serif it usually represents a modern, clean, hygienic, maybe avant-garde establishment very much catering for the more present day consumer. If a serif or script typeface is used, this could mean the shop or service is hoping to entice the more nostalgic old fashioned target market. Colour is also incredibly important in legibility, to stand out against the thousands of logos and adverts you need to have your logo firstly stand out against its own background of you want any chance to be able to be seen against the rest.
  The type should be used on a contrasting colour background e.g., Black type on a white background and vice versa. Our eyes find it difficult to decipher letters too similar in colour to the adjacent pallet for example, yellow type on a white background would be unreadable from afar. Past colour and typeface choice the typographic choices made with the individual logo or promo material can affect the legibility as well. For example if you have a sans-serif typeface of a 5 letter word but artistic licence on the graphic designers side, decided to change the kerning.
Ray Gun
  The word might be aesthetically pleasing on the screen in front of him but the letters might mould into a single unreadable object when seen from afar or in passing. When talking about typographic legibility it is hard not to mention one of the greatest and sometimes detested graphic designers of our time, David Carson. Famed or infamous for his work in the magazine “ Ray gun “ , David Carson pushed typography to the extremes in which people had not seen before, and had a way of laying type over itself to a point when the message was not entirely legible but created artwork on the page whilst doing so. Leading to him coining the infamous phrase “don’t mistake legibility for communication “.

David Carson

 Tone of voice, something you would not necercerally accustom with type, is another very important thing to bear in mind when communicating a message. The typeface used can’t often be the polar opposite of the word that is being described, which is why we need to make conscious decisions when designing anything into the emphasis the letters have on the message. For example, if I were to type the word “shout!” using a bold, sans-serif typeface in capital letters. This would portray the phrase perfectly. “Shout!”, using a whispy serif script font with a in very light acquisition would not be making the most of the typographic potential. 

No comments:

Post a Comment