E Optical Illusion

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Jack Fahnestock's picture
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Joined: 5 Mar 2013 - 8:53pm
E Optical Illusion
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I don't know if it's just me and I've never heard of this optical illusion but do the arms of this E appear to flare into the stem?
I like my corrected version better but I want to get some other thoughts on it. Thanks.

Jack Fahnestock's picture
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Joined: 5 Mar 2013 - 8:53pm
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Am I just crazy?

Nick Cooke's picture
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Joined: 25 May 2004 - 2:29am
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The one on the right looks wrong. I think it's your eyes. I have a similar thing with circles not appearing circular, but slightly super elliptical diamond shaped.

Igor Freiberger's picture
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Joined: 20 Jun 2008 - 8:44pm
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Jack, I have the same impression. But prior to adopting a change, I suggest you to make print tests to see if this illusion persists. Screen bright may induct different impressions than prints.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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If anything, the open end has to be thicker (generally).

hhp

Joshua Langman's picture
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Joined: 14 Nov 2010 - 12:22am
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I'm with Hrant on this one.

Albert-Jan Pool's picture
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Joined: 30 Aug 2006 - 2:14am
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Me too!

Thomas W Phinney's picture
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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Ditto.

> I have a similar thing with circles not appearing circular, but slightly super elliptical diamond shaped.

You are not alone on that, it’s actually a common optical illusion. I mentioned it in the article I just wrote for Communication Arts....

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Link?
And you wrote a piece like that last year, right?

hhp

Thomas W Phinney's picture
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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Article is in press, won’t be out until March, sorry!

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Sure – just remind me to remind you. ;-)

hhp

Thomas W Phinney's picture
Joined: 3 Sep 2002 - 11:00am
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I'm sure you'll see me tweet and FB and such when the article is out. It's about how to tell well-crafted fonts from crap, which ends up being basically about all the tricks of human perception you have to compensate for in type design.

Martin Silvertant's picture
Joined: 31 Dec 2009 - 11:51pm
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Thomas, I would love to read that article as well when it's out.

I also agree the open ends have to be thicker generally, but which E looks better is contextual in my opinion. From a distance the left E looks better, and I suppose this is the best way to view the typeface. When I look up close though I see the left E features semi-transparent pixels to suggest a very slight slant whereas the right E features very sharp horizontal lines. I don't think this is an optical illusion which actually affects the shape of the letter though. I don't think it should be compensated for. Perhaps only if you're doing a really big geometric display letter.