RE: writing direction

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Wed Mar 25 2009 - 12:59:14 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: writing direction"

    The reading direction does not significantly affects the attention to the
    subject presented or the person or sign presenting it.

    However, if we look at how we drive a car today, it's not like driving a
    wagon powered by horses: your average car has many more controls in the
    center of your car, for the radio, for speed control, for your GPS, and even
    for taking objects in the central box or coins to pay your run on a toll
    highway. Also it is easer to take your sunglasses if needed in the case in
    front of your passenger, or give them back to your passenger. If you are
    right-handed, then your right hand should be on the center of the car.

    At the same time, the driver really needs to be on the side of thecar that
    is near the central line of the road, not along the side of the road, for
    obvious reasons of visibility. This pushes the drivers to prefer driving on
    the right, because it's much easier and give them more control if they are

    For road signs it does not matter a lot which direction is used for the
    script in which the direction signs are written: nobody reads them
    completely, and it is often enough to just identify the first few letters
    and jump directly to the place where the directional arrows are pointing you
    (the distance after that is secondary).

    Another thing to consider is how the layout of ads shown in large displays
    along the roads is arranged: if there's a photo and a text, the text is
    typically on one side, except the most famous trademarks that can span the
    whole panel width because it is easily recognized (also ith other factors
    like typography, logo, color...). These texts typically use a single
    narrower column that reads from top to bottom and aligned near the left
    margin (for the Latin's LTR direction). You will read this text only when
    you are near enough from the panel, and will not have a lot of time to read
    it; on the opposite the graphic or photo can (or should) be easily seen and
    recognized from a much longer distance.

    There are however lot of variations in this last scheme for ads: all depends
    on what is the primary focus of viewers: what the advertizers want is not
    necessarily to view the text, but be attracted by the object, graphic, photo
    placed there. The surrounding area is then decorative and is there for
    "fun", and is not read directly but is used for giving some positive

    For example, you can find ads with almost no text ad all, just a symbol on
    top of the photo (ads for Nike or Benetton are such examples: and their
    layour is very different on large panels on roads and on printed magazines
    or papers, and on the web).

    > -----Message d'origine-----
    > De :
    > [] De la part de Debbie Garside
    > Envoyé : mercredi 25 mars 2009 10:48
    > À : 'Mark E. Shoulson';
    > Objet : RE: writing direction
    > When I was teaching DTP some 15 years ago, I used Gutenberg's
    > Reading Patterns; which at its most basic consists of Primary
    > Optical Area, Terminal Anchor and Fallow Corners when looking
    > at a page/graphic/sign. The Primary optical Area is
    > different according to the writing system used e.g. if you
    > write LTR then the POA is on the top Left with the Terminal
    > Anchor bottom right; the fallow corners for RTL being the top
    > right and bottom left. The reverse is true for RTL readers.
    > I used a specific test on my students that proved 100% (over
    > a nuber of
    > years) that Gutenberg's reading pattern works if adhered to
    > for design purposes.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Mar 25 2009 - 13:04:41 CST