Please Read this Entry in Whatever Accent Makes You Happiest

Last week, I got the opportunity to participate in an interesting workshop. Anastasios Maragiannis, a professor at University of Greenwich in England, came to teach a workshop called Typo-Topo about Typography.

The idea behind the workshop was that we would be exposed to a new way of thinking, as well as a new way to use text and type to create meaning in our work. It was only a week long, but within that time frame we had a lot of material to cover. By Friday, we had to present an idea of our concept to a group of ours peers.

I decided to explore the how type can influence how readers perceive what they are reading. I wanted to see for myself how a person could change what they were thinking with just a gentle nudge from type. I found out some pretty interesting stuff.

I had six people read the same poem six times. Each time they read the poem, the type, color, texture, space, and font were drastically changed. I made sure that each test subject did not have access to what they had previously written, to help prevent influence from previous decisions of the poem.

I learned that some people read the poem and didn’t really change how they felt throughout. Out of the six people I tested, only two fell into this category and both of them felt confused by the poem.

Some people used humor and long descriptions to explain how they were feeling. My favorite response came from a version of the poem where each line had it’s own distinct font. For this part, Patrick wrote “Reading this makes me feel like I’m reading a Shakespeare play with a man in the center expressing pain, sorrow, joy, and loneliness. It seemed like if I stepped in gum, but found a dollar, but then a bird pooped on my head.”I found this description amazing, especially since his first analysis of the poem was very serious and solemn. Other students described the type as influencing what type of accent they should read it in.

Overall, the workshop was a great opportunity. I found a new avenue of HCI that I can pursue with help from Anastasios and Vesna (one of my professors).

I promised Kyle that I would end with a picture of me as a kid, so here you go!