Legibility in typeface design for screen interfaces

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Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Location:
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2017 Neumeier
Date
2017
Department
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
81+58
Series
Abstract
This thesis explores the considerations related to the design of a typeface specifically for the use in interface typography. The genre of interface typefaces is outlined and essential attributes and requirements of this category of typefaces are inspected from the viewpoints of legibility, readability and type design practices. The research is based on the analysis of interface typeface samples, interviews with type designers as well as empirical findings documented by designers. These trade practices and design artefacts are contrasted with findings from cognitive psychology and legibility research. Furthermore the author’s design of the «Silta» typeface and its creation process are used to scrutinize and validate these observations. Amongst the crucial factors in the design of interface typefaces the legibility of confusable characters is extensively analysed. Furthermore, the rasterized on-screen rendering of outline based fonts is identified as a major contributing factor requiring special attention in the design, technical production and testing phases of modern fonts. Additionally, the context and use of interface typography and how users interact with interfaces are identified as the cornerstones influencing the design decisions of a typeface for this use. Finally, the aesthetics of interface typography and the motivations for developing specific interface typefaces are touched upon. As evident from the reviewed material, branding and visual identity often appear to be a driving force in the creation of new interface typefaces. However, the necessity for technological innovation and its demonstration equally inspire new design solutions. While technological limitations stemming from digital display media are increasingly becoming of less importance, the changes in reading behaviour and adaptive typography drive current development.
Description
Supervisor
Vuori, Rasmus
Thesis advisor
Heinänen, Saku
Tuominen, Teo
Keywords
typeface design, legibility, readability, user interface, typeface
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Citation