The Baskerville Experiment: Font and its Influence on Our Perception of Truth

Tweet “Can we separate the form of the writing from its content?” – Errol Morris “Is it ever possible to understand the meaning of a work of art as separate from the way in which we receive it?” – Lynne Conner Source: The Pentagram Papers, 44th Edition   In the spring of 1980, Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris (“The Thin Blue Line,” “The Fog of War”) first encountered philosopher Saul Kripke’s seminal book, Naming and Necessity. After reading the book, Morris became fascinated with the theory that words and our interpretation of them are singular manifestations of all of the individual characteristics (seen and unseen) that comprise them. More specifically, Morris was consumed with the idea that typeface itself might have an innate power to influence our fundamental perception of truth. “Yes, we read the word ‘horse,’” Morris wrote, ”but we also see the letters, the typefaces, the shape of the word on the page. Is this not part of the meaning? Do we more readily accept (as true) sentences written in one typeface rather than another?” As Morris continued work on his acclaimed films over the coming decades, this idea continued to haunt him. Morris collected anecdotal stories dealing with the power of typeface. This included the story of Phil Renaud, a Canadian university student and blogger. While in school, Renaud blogged: I’m nearing the end of my sixth semester of university, and things are going pretty well: I’m clearing a decent grade point average, enjoying my major, and…
Source: Marketing Experiments
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