Rhetoric of Typography: Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Typefaces for Technical and Visual Communication
Since the early 2000s, scholars have been conducting research to determine whether typefaces influence a reader's response to a document. Some areas of research have included the role of gender, age, or other demographics on typeface perception. However, the role of culture in academic discourse on the rhetoric of typography has been largely underexplored, and this is concerning given the ease with which technical documents can be delivered to cultures around the world with a couple of clicks on a computer.
I developed my research topic to explore whether Koreans perceive typefaces differently from non-Koreans and to discover what typefaces may have the greatest cross-cultural appeal. To conduct the study, I developed a questionnaire and administered it to a group of Koreans and non-Koreans, and then I analyzed the data using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The two groups rated typical or more common typefaces, such as old style or neo grotesque typefaces similarly. However, they also rated unusual or unique typefaces such as slab serif and geometric sans serif typefaces differently. The findings, while not entirely conclusive, do indicate that different cultural groups may tend to perceive stylized typefaces differently from one another and that common old style and neo grotesque typefaces tend to be safe choices.
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Arts and Humanities
Peterson, M. (2017). Rhetoric of Typography: Cross-Cultural Perceptions of Typefaces for Technical and Visual Communication [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/672/
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