Project Projects


Project Projects

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Red & Black
IGEPA ‘Velour’ 1.5 200g/m2
950 x 635mm
Edition 50

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In his study Thinking, Fast and Slow, economist Daniel Kahneman argues that there exist two modes of thought processes. System 1 is instantaneous, automatic, emotional, and subconsciously driven; System 2 is more laborious, intentional, calculative, and slow.

In a memorable case study illustrating the differences, Kahneman recounts an experiment in which a sample of 40 Princeton students were given a test consisting of a set of simple-seeming mathematical questions. The control group received a typical CRT. The experimental group received a version of the exam that induced “cognitive strain”: small, barely legible type set in washed-out gray.

Counterintuitively, findings indicated that students were half as likely to make mistakes when encountered with the bad typography –– ostensibly, because they had been forced to read more slowly, and hence, more closely. Kahneman here is interested in patterns of decision-making, but the results add a much more compelling page to the book of visual grammar: typography’s effect on cognitive function suggest textual reading to be a primarily visual activity. Non-normative typography, rather than interfering with reading, may actually encourage the closer analysis of texts and content.

Text by Project Projects