Ubiquitous Design: A Study of Popular Fonts and Typographic Understanding




Haefner, Nathaniel A.

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Ubiquitous typefaces, such as Helvetica and Times New Roman, were designed in the age of metal type and, despite their age, are still ingrained into modern software—allowing these typefaces to continue to reach a wide audience and achieve ubiquity. In order for new typefaces to differentiate and compete with existing choices, type designers must employ user preferences and leverage digital technology to create a stronger relationship between typographic voice and physical properties of typefaces. By performing A-B typeface comparisons based on structure with designers and non-designers based on sentiment and perception, establishing emotional profiles for the most common typefaces, and interviewing prominent typeface designers about their practices, this research explores the relationship between ubiquity and physical features to set a baseline for future typeface designs. Further, this research investigates ubiquitous typefaces through measuring physical properties and determining their relationship to non-physical and emotional characteristics to better recognize how typeface design can address user preferences and understanding in a variety of typographic settings.



Design, Typography, Popular, Ubiquity, Fonts, Emotions, Measurements, User experience


Haefner, N. A. (2020). <i>Ubiquitous design: A study of popular fonts and typographic understanding</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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