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Welcome to the virtual Type Tasting access panel. Here you have access to a selection of the research experiments that will be run live at the V&A in London in conjunction with the London Design Festival. When you’ve completed your chosen selection press the ‘sign me up’ button to be awarded your participant’s badge and to be notified of the results when they’ve been tallied up.

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We’ll be decking the studio with boughs of typography for for Open Studios Weekend. Come and join us from 11am to 6pm on November 28th & 29th at the Chocolate Factory N16.

There will be prints and Christmas gifts to buy, Type Tasting experiments and demos to take part in, and I’ll be chatting about the Why Fonts Matter book which is being published by Penguin/Random House on January 28th.

The Type Tasting Studio is in The Chocolate Factory N16, Farleigh Place, London N16 7SX

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The World’s Most Expensive-looking Font Might Surprise You
By Madeleine Morley for AIGA

When you hear the word “luxury,” it’s easy to conjure up the colors gold, silver, and velvety purple; yet when it comes to typography, what we associate with wealth is less clear-cut. For the ancient Greeks, rare and precious purple ink came from sea snails found deep in the ocean, a dye so difficult to obtain it was reserved for kings. We don’t mine the sea for letters of the alphabet though, so what’s the typeface equivalent of purple ink, the fanciest looking font?

Writer and typographer Sarah Hyndman, whose last book explored the tastes we associate with different fonts, investigated the relationship between typography and cost in her latest survey at the V&A in London. Hyndman sought to find out whether a font can truly make a product appear more expensive, and also whether certain typographic characteristics have been consigned to the bargain bin.

After surveying over 368 people, the results suggest that bold typefaces with rounder terminals appear cheaper, whereas lighter weights, serifs, and contrasts are rated appear more expensive, with the modern Didot selected as the diamond of all fonts. This is perhaps, unsurprising; the serif is associated with fashion and you can find it on the mastheads of magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Read the full article here…


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It’s the final weekend to purchase a copy of the first edition of The Type Taster: Why Fonts Influence You

Books purchased this weekend will all be signed and have free UK postage
This first, limited edition of the book is only available until the end of Sunday 25th October 2015.

From 28th January 2016 The Type Taster will be published as Why Fonts Matter under the Virgin Books imprint of Penguin Random House.
Click here for more information.

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Are you a graphic design student? Would you like to know more about the power of typefaces and how exciting typography can be?

Type is both functional and evocative
Type functions as a carrier of words. It displays these efficiently so that the reader’s eyes can glide seemingly effortlessly across the page as they read. It is sometimes considered that type should be ‘invisible’ and not intrude on the reading experience. The title of American typographic expert Beatrice Warde’s 1930 essay, ‘The Crystal Goblet’ refers to her opinion that type should function like a clear wine glass and purely ‘carry but not obstruct’ the content. Much research into typefaces explores their legibility, focusing on the mechanics of letter shapes and how they function. Testing includes eye-tracking and monitoring response times. An example is the research Monotype type foundry has done with MIT into legibility of typefaces on car dashboards. There are rules for legible typography, scroll down to the resources section below for nine of the important rules.

However there is more to typography than legibility…

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Sophie Thompson Peter Bleksley

Yesterday I was invited to be one of the guests on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live to talk about how we respond to typefaces. I took along some of the games that had gone down so well at the Pop-up Type Tasting at the V&A for the London Design Festival the previous weekend. Above is actor Sophie Thompson playing the ‘Feel Me’ game matching what she can feel to one of the fonts shown, if you came along to the event last weekend you know exactly which font she’s feeling from the expression on her face!

It was such an interesting programme to be on. Sophie is delightful and a pleasure to listen to, and I was excited to meet Peter Bleksley who is one of the hunters on ‘Hunted’ with the most amazing voice. It seems that we would all love the challenge of being on the next series and going on the run in an attempt to evade capture for 28 days. Third guest Trevor Lyttleton founded a charity which works with the elderly and we had a great chat afterwards about the power of typefaces on packaging to trigger nostalgia and bring back memories.

Scroll down for links to listen to the show.

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If You Love That Font So Much, Why Don’t You Date It?
By Liz Stinson for Wired

“If I were going to date a typeface, it would probably be something like Franklin Gothic bold condensed. The font is undeniably masculine—sans-serif, solid, reliable. If it were a human, it’d be the type of guy who would fix my broken sink and play football in the backyard on Thanksgiving. I’m not alone here. Lots of women find Franklin Gothic to be a total dreamboat.”

“Some proof: When graphic designer Sarah Hyndman asked women to choose between dating nine fonts including Franklin Gothic, Futura Light, Helvetica, and Arial bolded round, 20 percent of women said they’d pick Franklin Gothic as their typographic beau, the winner by a landslide. I know it sounds weird, but let me explain. Hyndman’s dating question is part of Tasting Type, a series of online experiments she’s been performing to gather data on how typography impacts human perception.”

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Read the full article…

student pack of games

Are you a UK design student? Prepare yourself for the new year with a discounted copy of The Type Taster and free postage (save £5). This is a book about typography from the point of view of the type consumer and takes you through the associations and science behind fonts influence you as a reader.

Buy it quickly! This edition is only available until 25th October.*
Student copies of the book will also include a selection of typography games (shown above).


You have really opened my eyes to such a brilliant subject. It’s already making me view design work from such a different view point and I have now become excited by the possibilities typefaces present while experimenting with them.” Design student Jessica Dutton

“This alongside the typography bible (Robert Bringhurst’s elements of typographic style) should become a staple in everyone’s collection.” James (Via Creative Review blog)

“This is no boring instructional tome on the correct use of ligatures, rather it takes a look at the emotional lives of fonts, and examines how their distinct personalities create (often subconscious) emotional responses.” Grafik

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