Rhetoric of Typography: Reading

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Brumberger, Eva. “The Rhetoric of Typography: Effects on Reading Time, Reading Comprehension, and Perceptions of Ethos.” Technical Communication 51.1 (February 2004): 13-24. Web. 12 February 2014.

Visual rhetoric, Brumberger says, should include a discussion of typography.

verbal/visual, thinking/seeing rhetorical division (13)
“Ong also argues that writing makes possible context-free language–verbal discourse that can be separated from its author, and, by virtue of that separation, can be read in a greater number of ways than can oral language” (Brumberger 13).

printing extended this

McLuhan and Fiore (1967) say these shifts in communication play huge role in shaping of society (14).

McLuhan argues “interaction with texts shapes readers’ thoughts” (Brumberger 14).

“visual structure of a document contributes to readers’ meaning making” (Brumberger 14).

graphic design argues design serves rhetorical purpose
Hurlburt says: persuade, inform, identify

designers began to re-conceive design process once it moved onto computers

Arnheim studied interactivity and visual rhetoric
thinking and seeing cannot be separated” (Brumberger 14, describing Arnheim’s position)

assume verbal and visual language as complementary (Brumberger 15)

visual rhetoric is mediated, just as verbal rhetoric is mediated

Kostelnick 12-cell matrix of visual communication
–we need to interrogate visual comm as we do verbal

visual rhetoric is inherently non-neutral (15)

two theories of reading:
context-driven (apply info to map already have in head)
feature-driven (see letters, then comprehend)
I would say both of these.

individual letters are better recognized in context of four-letter words (16)
if reading for meaning, typos are ignored (17)

perception impacts memory and interpretation (17)
if paralinguistic (typographical) info =/= linguistic (verbal), then longer reading and comprehension times (17)
?true or not true? That is the point of the research.

took UG students (not those from previous study) (18)
used three typefaces, seen as elegant, friendly, and direct by earlier study
used three texts, seen as professional, violent, and friendly by an earlier study
= 9 conditions

used Nelson Denny Reading Test, part 2, nationally normed, designed to evaluate comprehension and reading rate (19)

expected biggest effects where typeface persona least matched text persona (19)

ethos question was how much the author knew about the subject (20)

Text passages were normed before the test, but saw significant variance in the testing from the norm.
Typeface did not impact reading comprehension or time, even across persona. (20)
Typeface DOES impact ethos. (21)

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