Hello I'm Sarah Hyndman, a multisensory type expert, graphic designer and author of ‘Why Fonts Matter’. I’ve been researching the perception of typography for the last five years and I'm excited that I now have enough results to start publishing them. My plan is to write, design and publish a series of small books to document the process and share the results of each topic, while also continuing with the research. You can play a vital role in making this happen, find out more and sign up here.
The books will be written in everyday language and designed to be attractive, accessible and useful. All the research is self-initiated and self-funded, which means I can explore topics intended for good without a commercial agenda, and the results aren’t locked away behind non-disclosure agreements. I gather the data by taking my Pop-up Typography Lab to events and I create lots of online experiments and surveys. All are designed to be fun, exciting and surprising to take part in, and participants often become a part of the discovery process. The books will be just as innovative and engaging, with extras like scented bookmarks and textured (or maybe edible) pages and bellybands.
“Every single one of us is already an expert in typography as a type consumer. All of these codes of references only work because you and I have been learning to recognise them all of our lives.” Sarah Hyndman interviewed by Rob Alderson
“The series of multisensory experiments, for me, turned typography on its head.” Natalie Kelter, designer, writing for Creative Review.
Written for you not scientists
Some of the books in this series will be companions to the academic studies I co-author with scientists like Professor Charles Spence from the University of Oxford. These will be written in a clear and non-academic style, and with examples to show why the results are useful to you. They will tell the behind-the-scenes stories, with anecdotes from participants, and show that some of the best insights come from failed experiments. I'll also tell you about the things that went wrong: sweets being spat out at the mass jellybean experiment at the Science Museum, the time I accidentally made chocolate taste even cheaper, coping with extremes of noise and weather, the number of times I've had to re-gather data until I finally learned how to collect it in exactly the right way for a scientific study, or about the scent that is now indelibly seared into our memory.
I have experience writing and designing books as I’m a published author of two books, something that I’d never have imagined even five years ago. The first was ‘Why Fonts Matter’, which I originally self-published before it was picked up by Penguin/Random House, it’s now been translated into languages including Chinese and Korean and is on permanent display in the Design Museum London.
The research results book series
Each book will be A5 size with a lightweight cover so that it can be posted around the world economically (that's about the size of a sheet of letter paper folded in half, but with many more pages). They will also be available to buy in digital format. The books will be published and sold via my Type Tasting website starting in early 2019. Titles will be published one at a time as the data is analysed and each book is written, designed and printed. My aim is to publish a book every two to three months.
‘Typographic Interventions’ will document the ongoing project that has an agenda to initiate positive behaviour change. I've been exploring the language of enticement vs the voice of authority or guilt, with a view to ultimately publishing a blueprint for creating positive change through typefaces and language. The first stages of the explorations have been featured in The Times and iNewspaper. Ultimately, rather than telling people what not to eat, could we learn from the enticing language of ‘naughty’ foods and make unprocessed and healthy foods more appealing?
‘The Great Jellybean Experiment’ will be the everyday-language companion to the published study ‘The role of typeface curvilinearity on taste expectations and perception’ by Carlos Velasco, Sarah Hyndman (Type Tasting), Charles Spence (University of Oxford)—an experiment that demonstrates that typefaces alter the perceived taste of a jellybean. This book will also document the learning curve of a non-scientist gathering information for a scientific study; from the initial inspiration, the discoveries she made along the way, and the number of attempts it took to gather the data in the ‘right’ way.
“Fascinating insight into how type can influence our feelings, our senses, and even our taste” Professor Charles Spence, University of Oxford.
‘Smell: typographic memory matching’. Typefaces and smells are memory storage systems. Some of the associations are shared, while others document individual experiences. Over the last five years hundreds of people have taken part in the scent and typeface pairing experiment. This unique process taps into instinctive emotional responses and charts the distinct patterns that reveal the collective memories of a society. Early stages have been written about by CNN and Wired. This book will share the results.
"Sarah Hyndman brings a frisky mix of art and science to her multisensory analysis of typography and communication" Ellen Lupton, curator, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
The full research results book series (working titles)
Typographic synaesthesia, Personality types, Typography & the art of congruence, Budget to premium, Motivational typography, Semiotic equations for choosing fonts, Sound of type, The great jellybean experiment, Multisensory typography, Tasting type, Coffee type, Smell & typographic memory mapping, Still vs sparkling, Chocolate type, Proustian type, Mood & emotion, Typographic interventions, Semiotics & cultural context, Typography for robots, Ice cream type, Secret codes.
“Type Tasting surveys have given the graphic design community comprehensive information to use as hard evidence behind our typographic choices” Computer Arts Magazine.
How YOU can play a vital role
Become a patron and you will play a vital role in making the publication of this research happen. Find out more and sign up here.