Typography Can Save Lives

According to Lena Groeger of ProPublica, “type choices are a big deal — and can, in fact, have life or death consequences.”

See the article from ProPublica entitled “How Typography Can Save Lives.” It’s full of interesting tidbits, e.g. why big blocks set in ALL CAPS are still so common.

Apparently, the U.S. government defines “conspicuous” as “a heading in capitals equal to or greater in size than the surrounding text.” Why? Because back in the day of typewriters, capital letters were the only emphasis option available.

Graphic illustration of the changes made to a humanist typeface by MIT and Monotype.

MIT collaborated with Monotype to design a typeface that cuts down on driver distraction. A square-shaped typeface (Eurostile) on top compared to the humanist typeface (Frutiger) on the bottom. Source: Monotype Imaging.

Personally, I’m delighted to know that NOAA, the National Weather Servce whose forecasts I consult every day, has made their hazardous weather alerts legible. Now I’ll be able to find Rockingham County in a list of affected counties ten times faster.


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