The PEEL Method
After reading Lohr’s Chapter 9, I focused on three specific areas when designing each of the four key words for my instructional unit. These areas are readability, presentation, and experimentation.
Readability is the most important aspect of design especially when it comes to selecting and utilizing typefaces for instruction. Obviously clear and readable typefaces support learning. Choosing a particular typeface based on use (heading versus body) is essential. Lohr states that both Georgia and Garamond are very readable classic typefaces (p. 230). Even though Georgia has been specifically designed for electronic viewing (p. 233) both texts seem to work well on paper and on screen. For instance, I used Georgia with the Point graphic and Garamond with the Link graphic. When I stood six feet back from the computer screen (p. 240), as Lohr recommends, both were equally readable. What is interesting though is I tended to rely on the Georgia typeface more than the rest, especially when more written text was required (please refer to Explain and Evidence graphics). Perhaps that is why typography is both an art and a science (p. 226).
Like readability and presentation, experimentation affects both design and instructional choices. Lohr recommends that designers and instructors experiment with typography because the “it depends rule” must apply and a “cookbook approach” does not work (p. 226). Sometimes you simply have to experiment to see whether the choice in typeface or arrangement works effectively or not. For example I had to select a totally different typeface for the E in the Evidence graphic. I required a typeface that allowed me to superimpose words on top of the letter itself. Neither the Georgia nor Garamond typefaces were wide enough to superimpose words on top of the typeface’s letters. In the end I selected a Century Gothic typeface for the E. This typeface was not only readable but supported both the design and instructional purposes I preferred. The Evidence graphic was the most challenging to design. I found it difficult to express its meaning visually; therefore, I decided to use key words like quotes, facts, and stats to support its instructional message. Furthermore, although Lohr discussed that x-height made reading easier for children (p. 250) I soon realized that the phrase PROVE IT! had to be capitalized. I experimented with lower case letters, different typefaces, kearning and/or spacing—and in the end capitalizing the words worked best—especially when looking at the computer screen from a distance or holding a piece paper out at arm’s length. Although the words quotes, facts and stats are important the phrase PROVE IT is also significant because evidence must be incorporated to support one’s point (argument) in essay writing and that is why I used capital letters and a larger font size here.
As you can see readability, presentation and experimentation are extremely important when it comes to design and instructional purposes. Completing this assignment has definitely encouraged me to be more mindful of my choices in graphics, both as a designer and an educator.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Education, Inc.