The "visual onomatopoeia" for words like sizzling, hot, chilly, etc.
January 7, 2015 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Sometimes, on restaurant menus or in other media that I'm not recalling at the moment, the text styling will reflect the meaning of the word. Examples off the top of my head: sizzling, hot, chilly. Here's an example in an advertisement. What would you call this phenomenon? The most apt description I can come up with is visual onomatopoeia, but is there a better word for this?
posted by arsgratia to Writing & Language (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
“I don't think that type should be expressive at all. I can write the word 'dog' with any typeface and it doesn't have to look like a dog. But there are people that [think that] when they write 'dog' it should bark.”

― Massimo Vignelli

I always think of it as "barking" text, because of this quote. Just a personal thing, not a recognized phrase.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:16 PM on January 7, 2015 [7 favorites]

Representative typography.
posted by John Cohen at 7:21 PM on January 7, 2015

Decorative or display fonts is probably too broad, but it covers these.
posted by klangklangston at 7:39 PM on January 7, 2015

Figurative typography.
posted by nanook at 7:59 PM on January 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Here's a debate about the name which includes the charming coinage "fontomatopoeia."
posted by Miko at 3:40 PM on January 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

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