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The Next Frontier Is in Your Brain (nytimes.com)
9 points by robg 1695 days ago | hide | past | web | 1 comment | favorite

I'm a designer and I'm often surprised that current science has not been able to answer seemingly simple questions such as "what is the most legible typeface for a printed book?" or "what is the best chair for working on a computer?". The reason for this, I suspect, is that we are measuring the wrong things. When researchers study legibility, they measure recall ability, speed of reading, and other quantifiable stats. The results of these studies often vary and are difficult to replicate.

A good typographer doesn't aim for style, he/she aims to get typography out of the way in order to read a text with minimal distraction. Erik Spiekermann put it succinctly when he said "typography is like air, you only notice it when it's bad". I think design will connect to science only when we are able to peek into the brain and see if a person is really concentrated when reading a text, or pleased when he sits down on a really comfortable chair.

This kind of research will bring great dividends in various fields. I can think of anti-depressant medication, architecture, and advertising (perhaps this last one is more controversial).

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