Essay typography

To all those out there marking student essays at the moment: are you aware that the typographical fonts of the essays might be influencing your grading?

Student Phil Renaud has a hunch that this might be the case, and supports his hunch with empirical research — he has examined his own essay archive.

Do you make a conscious choice of font when you are writing? And — what does your favourite font say about your personality?


4 thoughts on “Essay typography

  1. “Evidenced [sic] over 52 papers”? With no discussion of variance? You’re all humanitiesistes, isn’t it?

    As a part-time distance student myself I used Palatino last year, with good results, and I’ve switched to the very excellent Charter this year, with only one result so far, but a favourable one. I chose Charter over Georgia because it looks less clumpy at 12 points, and is designed to print nicely on rubbish printers like my Random Inkjet.

    I spent a lot more time worring about margin sizes, though – it’s hard to make double-spaced 12-point on A4 look other than stupid, and the key is to fatten the margins right up (~40mm works for me).

  2. Anyone who spends that much time worrying about the fonts on their essay papers should be docked a few percentage points for being too damned pretentious.

  3. Hey, thanks for the link! Glad you enjoyed the article.

    @ Des:
    2. Didn’t delve any further than I needed to, really; it shows enough that it might do well for other people to look into this. Setting aside three or four hours on a saturday to look through my old essays is not enough for a discussion on variance, but then, I really only wanted people to think about how they used their fonts, not try and cite me as a definitive authority on the matter.

    Just wanted to clear that up 🙂

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