RE: font and font size for graphs

Subject: RE: font and font size for graphs
From: "Dick Margulis" <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 21:02:40 -0500

Here is a vanilla rule of thumb for the typographically challenged (can safely be ignored by those who are confident of their skills):

For the figure legend, use a non-bold italic, either the same as your text font or a sans-serif that complements it, one optical size smaller than the text font. So, for example, if your text is 12 pt Times, your legends might be 11 pt Times italic or 9 pt Helvetica italic (10 pt Helvetica is optically similar in size to 12 pt Times). If the legend begins with a figure number and perhaps a short titular phrase, that portion may be bold and may even be a different font (if it is set off from the remainder of the legend with an em space).

Make the callouts one size smaller than the legend and always a sans-serif (regardless of whether you choose a serif or sans-serif font for the figure legend). So, in the above example, the callouts would be 8 pt Helvetica.

Vocabulary item: despite the terminology used by your favorite publishing program, a _caption_ (from the same Proto-Indo-European root as cap, captain, chef, chief, kopf, and head) is a title at the _top_ of a figure. The _legend_, or _cutline_ is the descriptive information beneath or to the side of a figure.

Dick




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