Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Committee Chair/Advisor

Howard, Tharon

Committee Member

Hilligoss , Susan

Committee Member

Blakesley , David


Professional, technical, and visual communication practitioners and academics have historically overlooked visual rhetoric and how it is employed in business communications as well as how various cultures comprehend and respond to the design elements and visual composition of business documents. More specifically typography, the building blocks of a document, has been little explored in professional and technical communication research. As such, this study utilizes eye-tracking technology in conjunction with other data collection methods to understand if and how fonts contribute to the persuasiveness of business communications and if different cultures vary in typeface assessment and perception.

Mackiewicz and Brumberger have both examined typeface anatomy and its effect on perception of font personality. Similar methods are implemented in this study to determine if the anatomical characteristics of fonts contribute to the perception of typeface persuasiveness in business documents. Furthermore, this study also seeks to establish if any correlations exist in typeface persuasiveness between American and Chinese cultures.
Through this study, it was discovered that there are in fact anatomical characteristics of typefaces that lend themselves to a font being perceived as persuasive. It was also found that the perception of persuasiveness differs between the two cultures, and the methods by which the two groups assess the typefaces for persuasiveness are quite distinct.

Included in

Communication Commons



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