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I'm a software engineer at Apple. I write here occassionally.

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Font Overload

Yesterday in ENGL 1101 we discussed information overload. As said in the class blog entry above, information overload is “loosely defined as an individual’s inability to fully process the overwhelming amount of information that they are confronted with every day”.

You are probably wondering where I might be going with this, wondering how fonts and information overload relate to one another. Until I read this article I really had no idea as well.

According to the article, having a hard to read font actually improves your ability to remember the information that was written in the font by 15 percent. Thus, by having an unusual font different from say the normal Times New Roman or Arial you remember more.

Relating this to the information overload, are we able to remember the content written in such a different font because we are normally overloaded with “normal” fonts or because a different font is just different thereby making it easier to remember because it stands out? It would be interesting to see if people remember the content better because it is a different font relative to the fonts around it (such as calligraphic text in an essay of Times New Roman) or because it is different. One could do an experiment wherein there would be two essays - one with a group of text written in a strange font surrounded by a “normal” font and another with a group of text written in a “normal” font surrounded by a strange font. Do we as humans just pick out what stands out and remember it?

No matter the case, it is important to remember too much of one thing can cause an overload and possibly burn out. Have you ever read a large mass of text in a “normal” font and been excited to read a piece of text in a different font? How did it affect you?

Source: Lifehacker