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  • Ana Lešković


Seemingly unrelated, there are aspects of both music and typography that affect us in a similar way, although to different degrees. Often called the most powerful tool of graphic design, typography does not only convey message through words, but also has an undeniable effect on our psychology. The choice of the font has been proven to be a stimuli generating different persceptive reactions from our brain.

Music, on the other hand, is still a teritory with a lot of room for exploration. The extent of its effect on our brain is not yet fully known. However, it is known to be powerful, and undeniably emotionally charging. Whille listening to music, our brain releases dopamine, a hormone usually released in the midst of excitement, or feeling of being praised. Indeed, our brains perceive music as an award.


It is often told that a picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed, our sight is the sense we rely on the most, more so than our hearing. In addition to that, our sight and visual perception is more explored, while sound (especially music) remains somewhat of a mystery.

However, when you really think about it, what is it that makes you more emotional - a song, or a visual accompanying that song? Based on anecdotal evidence, it would seem more people get touched by music. And different music evokes different reactions - a highly distorted guitar might tickle our nerves into a tense quazi-agression, while a soothing piano might put us to sleep. Usually, it is an instant and recognizable reaction. Typography does the same, only in a much subtler way.


There are six main typographical classifications, and each evokes a different psychological reaction, based on the historically-established perception rooted in our brains.


Through the previous research, it is established that music and typography share certain emotional triggers - music in an obvious way, and typography in a much subtler one. However, they also share something that balances out the pure emotional triggers - a clear structure.

The structure in typography translates into a layout - a grid, spacings, point size, kerning, leading, etc. In music, that structure translates into musical keys, measurments, rhythms tones, etc.

The aspects of the two can be combined to create creative solutions, and open up space for further research and experimentation.

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