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Yard signs for a local politician captured the curiosity of Katherine Haenschen.
"I was driving through the region and noticed the same campaign was using a different font on signs in rural areas than on the signs in town," said Haenschen, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. "I thought, why would this candidate be using multiple fonts?"
Expert - Messaging - Haenschen - Daniel - Tamul
An expert in political messaging, Haenschen and Daniel Tamul, also an assistant professor in the Department of Communication, transformed the question into a captivating research project.
"What's in a Font?: Ideological Perceptions of Typography" questions the potential impact on voters if fonts are found to have political attributes.
Haenschen - Tamul - Key - Conclusions - Study
Haenschen and Tamul reached the following key conclusions through the study:
Individuals perceive fonts to have liberal or conservative leanings.
People - Font - Ideology
The more people view a font as aligned with their ideology, the more they favor it.
Fonts that fall under the serif category—ones festooned with a small line or stroke—are viewed as more conservative than fonts in the sans serif group, though differences exist within font families.
Research - Interest - Anyone - Communications - Results
"This research is of interest to anyone who cares about political communications, and the results have clear implications for political campaign professionals," said Haenschen. "When you're choosing a candidate's visual identity, you need to consider how people perceive that font."
The findings came from two survey experiments. The first used typeface classification, such as serif or sans serif, and typeface styles (regular, bold, italic).
Total - Survey
A total of 987 survey...
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