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4–7 September, 2019

Friday, 6 September | | Miraikan Hall

Talk | Presented in English

Typography for New and Better Readers: A Study of the Identification of Typographic Forms among Early Readers

With the goal of developing a typeface capable of performing well in children's books, Dafne Martínez and Sandra García conducted an analysis of fonts used in reading-instruction books distributed in Mexican public schools. The pair based their research on prior studies, which indicated that the biggest hurdles children face when learning to read are presented by characters sharing similar morphologies—for example, the letters b, d, p, and q. The Grotesk style currently appears in these textbooks as the primary font; its features include symmetrical shapes and a high degree of similarity between characters, which made Martínez and García wonder if this was the most appropriate typographic choice. Starting from the premise that correctly identifying and distinguishing characters is crucial to the process of learning to read, they conducted a field study with students between six and ten years of age to corroborate that their font and others they consider more suitable for such textbooks perform better than what is currently being used. The tests consisted of projections showing letters, words, and phrases displaying the most easily confused characters, and asking the study subjects to identify and replicate what they observed so that Martínez and García could later analyze parameters like certainty and time to respond. They believe it’s relevant to share their results because they could help improve decisions made during the process both of designing typefaces and of choosing type for editorial products.