Alphabet Readibility

26 Sep 2008 - 2:51am
5 years ago
1 reply
1247 reads
yunustunak
2008

Hello folks,
In this blog entry i stumbled you can find great inspration of airport
typography.
http://www.designworkplan.com/design/airport-signage-photo-inspiration.htm

One thing made me curious, latin, thai, arabic.. all used in similar width
or height values on these signs,
Are they all readable from every distance or is this just an aesthetic
decision?

I wonder if there is a search on this, about the readibility of different
alphabets.

Thanks in advance,

Yunus Tunak

Creative Lead
spacesheep interactive
www.spacesheep.net
Istanbul, Turkey

Comments

26 Sep 2008 - 11:05pm
Itamar Medeiros
2006

Hello, Yunus! I don't want sound purist (sorry: this is the Graphic
Designer in me speaking!), but I'm not quite sure if what you're
asking is about READIBILITY or LEGIBILITY:

Readibility -- how easy is a block of text readable -- has to do with
how a block text is composed (layout, kerning, tracking, the style of
writing, content of the text, etc...);

Legibility -- the characteristics of letters, numbers, graphics, or
symbols that make it possible to differentiate one from the other --
has to do with how a particular font was designed, such as stroke
width and the presence or absence of serifs, the amount of white
space for each character.

In other words, legibility refers to recognition, while readability
refers to comprehension.

That being said, a lot of factors are in place, making Readibility
and Legibity playing different roles at different time: the way that
you read a magazine has as much to do with recognizing the individual
characters of a block of text as is it has with the the style of
writing and the content of the text.

When it comes to signs, I remember reading an article about a type
family that was commissioned by the US Federal Government called
"Clearview", with the specific purpose of increasing the legibility
and improve ease of recognition of road sign legends
(http://clearviewhwy.com/ResearchAndDesign/index.php).

For non-roman alphabets, and I think that there is a lot more at play
than just the recognition of each characters: being a foreigner living
in China, I'm amazed on how fast can Chinese people read hundreds of
characters, given the complexity of its design. I would say there is
something about the structure of the language itself that allows
people to easily perceive (and interpret) combination of characters.

{ Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
designing clear, understandable communication by
caring to structure, context, and presentation
of data and information

mobile ::: 86 13671503252
website ::: http://designative.info/
aim ::: itamarlmedeiros
skype ::: designative

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=33586

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