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A few weeks ago, my Father, a 56 year old entrepreneur, asked if I could throw together a brand identity and some marketing materials for his most recent endeavor: a small sandwich/concession/ice cream shop. After due conceptualization, research, and a few hours tinkering around in InDesign (I am not exactly “trained” as a graphic designer), I developed three logo concepts for him to review and incorporated each into a complementary, basic tri-fold menu. When I presented him the fruits of my labor, the only thing he said in response was “I hate those menus and I don’t know why.”

Great. Not only was this project pro-bono; I had to play the ever-so-familiar guessing game of “what do I do now?” You know; you’ve been there. So, I changed my focus and asked myself “what would he be looking for as a consumer?” I wanted to know why he made that face before even reading the copy of the menu. While doing a little research, I came accross a very interesting empirical study regarding the instantaneous impact of typeface aesthetics on a consumer’s perception and emotional response which can be found HERE. Within the results of this study, I discovered the answer I was looking for. The participants of the study consisted of mainly hospital employees or students between the ages of 21 to 40 years (all within my age bracket and below my fathers). After exposing these participants to a number of typefaces, they found that “Georgia” font (the font I used in the menu) is congruent with the trait words practical, formal, and assertive, while Arial (my dad’s prefernce) is congruent with the trait words stable, conformist, and unimaginative.

Hmm. Does this make baby boomers more conformists or unimaginative when it comes to typeface? I won’t go that far but I will say this: there is definitely an underlying, distinct difference between generations and typeface/graphic design.

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