Typographic Layout and First Impressions - Testing how changes in text layout influence reader's judgments of documents


  • Jeanne-Louise Moys


This study explores how the typographic layout of information influences readers' impressions of magazine contents pages. Thirteen descriptors were used in a paired comparison procedure that assessed whether participants' rhetorical impressions of a set of six controlled documents change in relation to variations in layout. The combinations of layout attributes tested were derived from the structural attributes associated with three patterns of typographic differentiation (high, moderate, and low) described in a previous study (see Moys, 2014). The content and the range of stylistic attributes applied to the test material were controlled in order to focus on layout attributes. Triangulation of the quantitative and qualitative data indicates that, even within the experimental confines of limited stylistic differentiation, the layout attributes associated with patterns of high, moderate, and low typographic differentiation do influence readers' rhetorical judgments. In addition, the findings emphasize the importance of considering inter-relationships between clusters of typographic attributes rather than testing isolated variables.






Journal Article