Typographers are prized for their ability to select just the right font for the occasion; young, old, funky, serious… they have it all in their arsenal of types. One assumption that underlies typography design is legibility. Chosen fonts, after all, have to be readable and the more readable they are, the better it should be.
Turns out that the fundamental assumption behind the art of typography may just be that, an assumption. New research seems to indicate that tougher to read fonts lead to better message recall. The brain seems to like the challenge, within limits, of trying to decipher difficult to read text. It (the brain) concentrates more and ends up absorbing the message much more effectively.
The finding has interesting implications for advertising design. For far too long designers have been bullied by suits and clients into making headline and copy fonts needlessly larger. Now they have research on the side of smaller or poorly legible fonts. Something like Corsiva (see below) is a better bet than classics like Ariel or Times Roman.
Similar research has not been done on the size of the logo in an ad. Should it turn out that smaller size logos work better… ah; much happiness could be restored amongst the creative people in advertising agencies.