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Research Readability Symbolism


At The MicroFoundry we harbor an insatiable desire to understand. Self-expression has undeniable value, but we feel that the creation of a typeface is primarily a solution to a design problem - and a problem cannot be solved without being understood. As such, we expend great energy delving into the murky depths of the human reading process, symbolism, linguistics, and other areas that form the foundation of written communication. In the hopes of helping to advance the state of the craft, The MicroFoundry makes its research available to colleagues through conference presentations, articles, discussion, and this website.

The readability of type is a complex, nebulous thing, and has caused many otherwise rational designers to declare it irrelevant - perhaps as an escape. Instead of “looking the other way”, The MicroFoundry has come to realize that the only means to tame the beast is to understand it.

Fraktur versus Roman

Although we may never possess an absolute understanding of readability, we learn more each passing day, and enthusiastically apply our insight to the design of our type, both for print and for screen. In addition, we have embarked on projects that intend to optimize written communication on deeper levels. From a reconsideration of Fraktur to a dedication to alphabet reform, our aim is to improve.

On some level, the forms that inhabit our writing systems are arbitrary and malleable. However, they are also directly derived from the depths of time and circumstance, enigmatic children of our physical and sociocultural environments. Following a desire to understand the role of shape in human communication, The MicroFoundry has spent very many hours researching and contemplating the issue, even carrying out some informal experiments.

Trajic notRoman