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Dwiggins' Eye Shock Factor | by Underware Type Foundry
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Dwiggins' Eye Shock Factor

In his book "Layout in Advertising" (1928), W.A. Dwiggins included an overview of some typefaces. What makes it interesting is that each typeface is valued by 'Legibility', 'Quality of letter design' & 'Eye shock'.


We especially find the last value, the Eye Shock factor, engrossing. Of course it's very subjective, but it has potential. For example for categorizing fonts. But it can be employed in other areas as well.


The concept of an Eye Shock Factor is also included in the code of Liza Pro. The typeface Liza Caps Pro has an OpenType feature which we called 'the Penetrator'. This defines which glyph will be used for a certain letter if it's in the beginning or end of a word. Two values of each letter influence the Penetrator: the frequency of a letter & the Eye Shock Factor of a glyph. Once a certain glyph has a high Eye Shock Factor (like t.begin for example. which has the maximum value of 10), the Penetrator will take care that this specific glyph doesn't appear as often as glyphs with a lower Eye Shock Factor (like j.begin).


The same as with Dwiggins' list, the list we made of Eye Shock values for glyphs in Liza Caps Pro is totally subjective. No scientific guarantees, but a nice opening for another perspective. "Eye Shock Factors" create a usable list, for example for font categorization or in our case for OpenType programming. In which other ways could the Eye Shock Factor be used?



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Taken on December 19, 2011