Michael Blum


This thesis addresses itself to the problem of understanding the emotional connotations of printing types. It is hypothesized that there is a model useful in predicting reactions to a given type style based on atmosphere value and usage. The majority of the literature on this subject is nonempirical. It is characterized by the author's stating their opinions with little or no attempt to validate them. The empirical literature shows that there is an emotional connotation associated with particular type faces. These studies have not shown, however, the importance of this connotation in terms of appropriate choice of type faces . There seems to be a need for research which measures the ability of printing type to change the contextual meaning of a message. Five hypotheses were formulated in order to study this problem. The hypotheses utilized type face predictions -- appropriate, inappropriate, and neutral. It was hypothesized that those type faces predicted to be appropriate would arouse stronger emotions compared to type faces predicted to be neutral or inappropriate; and that those predicted to be inappropriate would arouse stronger emotions compared to a type face predicted to be neutral. It was also hypothesized that the prediction for the neutral type face would not arouse stronger emotions compared to all other types tested. A six-scale semantic differential was used to test the reactions of students and employees at RIT to six type faces and six messages. The scores were taken as absolute values in order to see the strength of the emotional response to the message/type face combinations. Z scores were calculated to test the hypotheses at the 90% level of significance. The results show that some of tne hypotheses are valid at the desired level of significance in all cases tested, some are valid for certain messages only, and a few are rarely valid. The results seem to show that the emotional connotations of messages are indeed influenced by type face selection, and that a methodology for measuring this phenomonen has been developed. While the number of type faces and messages tested was small, the large number of responses obtained tend to establish the methodology as a sound one for developing a more extensive body of knowledge on this subject.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Type and type-founding; Printing--Specimens

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Media Sciences (CIAS)


Gross, Carl


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in December 2013.

Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at Z250 .B68


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