Invisible Design

The reading experience on mobile devices can be improved through the development of a screen-optimized font family and a responsive reading application.

Invisible Design Cover

People rely on phones, tablets, and ereaders to read everything from the ephemeral to the substantial. This medium is still young, and there are many unresolved concerns that disrupt the flow of information.

By analyzing the transition of type from print to the web as well as referencing screen readability and legibility studies, one can gain insight into the complex issues that guide mobile design.

Designers and visual communicators usually aim to grab the audience’s attention. It sounds backwards to create something that does the exact opposite: invisible design, when done properly, should not be something that readers actively notice. This allows the content, the real star of the show, to shine. I was guided by a quote from Adrian Frutiger:

“From all these experiences, the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together, and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but, not perceived, by the reader.”

I referenced many academic articles in my thesis, most notably those of Dawn Shaikh, and used those results to formulate my own study. From there, I compared the metrics of the most and least successful fonts and started sketching. The final product is my typeface Optimist Sans.

Table of Contents

Inner spread from chapter one

Inner spread from chapter one

Inner spread from chapter three

Different typeface styles

Demonstration of leading in typography

Inner spread from chapter four

Inner spread from chapter five

Dummy text set in different typefaces

Survey results of Droid Sans

Survey results of Frutiger

Inner spread of chapter 6, showing off sketches for a new typeface

© Stephy Miehle as Blinding Stars