UNB Marketing Blog
Tips and tricks from your university marketers

Why we left align

Author: Marketing

Posted on Dec 8, 2016

Category: Brand

When it comes to designing a web page, advertisement, poster, or even a social media avatar, the alignment of text and objects on a page plays a critical factor on the viewer’s ability to easily read and comprehend the content. When objects and text are aligned well on a page, we don’t notice anything at all other than the intended message. However, when objects and text are even slightly out of alignment, we notice right away and are distracted from the content or purpose of the design. Even if we aren’t sure exactly why something looks off, we know when something looks awkward or could look or read better. To ensure all UNB designs are consistent, appealing and easy to read we left align text. Left-aligned text is easier to read than centred or right aligned text because of the way our eyes scan a page. Eye tracking research has shown visitors scan websites in a predictable F shape pattern.f_reading_pattern_eyetracking People read horizontally across the upper part of the page, then they move about halfway down the page and read in a second horizontal movement. Lastly, people will vertically scan the left side of the page. Left-aligned text also performs best for readers because it helps the eye find the start of the next line when it leaves the end of the last one. Right-aligned or centred text changes the starting place of each line forcing readers to work harder to find where each line begins to continue reading. This can impede reader’s speed and comprehension. Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 10.28.33 AM When you compare these two posters, the one on the left is much easier to quickly comprehend and allows the eye to naturally scan the page, taking in the most important information. Have a question about alignment or any other design guidelines? Contact us at brand@unb.ca.