Graphic designer, writer, curator, and educator Ellen Lupton came to Carnegie Mellon last week to give a guest lecture, “Your brain on typography.” She talked about a variety of topics concerning design and type. She even made points about humor and storytelling. But I think the most intriguing part of the talk was her section on how the human brain perceives type. Letters and words have become such an integral part of humanity that our brains have developed a unique relationship with letterforms. Lupton emphasized how letterforms have transcended their most basic role as symbols into something greater. Humans can perceive minute details in letters that influence our mood, behavior, and thoughts. This means designers of all kinds can leverage letters to convey a rich variety of narratives. She stressed the power of type as a medium of communication of content, emotion, and behavior. Her talk made me realize how far the influence of typography can reach—far past the limits of most people’s conscious perception. In every field imaginable, type is a potent force, and leveraging it is crucial to communication.