Monday, September 11, 2023

This design detail determines if you trust your news sources

When you’re reading an article online, you’re probably not stopping to consider what font the words are set in. But it’s making a big difference in how you absorb the news.

If you’re on a train and catch a glimpse of a newspaper over someone’s shoulder, chances are you can recognize which publication it is without being able to see the masthead. “The average person can tell you very quickly if an article came from the New York Times or the Dayton Daily News,” says Mario Garcia, senior adviser on news design and an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School.

That’s because establishing familiarity through font is part of a publication’s branding. You might not know a newspaper’s typefaces by name, but no matter what words are written, you could tell which publication they belong to. “The role of typography and design, in all of this, is to really remind you that you are in the place you trust,” says Garcia, who also runs a design studio whose clients have included the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. This is why many national publications don’t use standard typefaces such as Times New Roman or Georgia, instead working with a team of designers to create their own.

Typography not only creates familiarity with readers, but it’s also a large part of how publications establish authenticity and trust with their audience. On the surface level, a badly designed or ill-considered site influences how seriously readers view the content. “If you’re interviewing people to work in a law firm and they show up in jeans, they’re telling you they don’t take this job seriously. Type can do the same thing,” renowned type designer Tobias Frere-Jones told Quartz. “It can support the content that’s being delivered, fight against it, or undermine it.”

9th  Edition of International Design Research Awards

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