Re: Font size for headings (was:Font size)

Subject: Re: Font size for headings (was:Font size)
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "ghart -at- netcom -dot- ca" <ghart -at- attcanada -dot- ca>
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2000 16:50:00 -0700

Geoff hart wrote:

> You have to be careful about what you read; a lot of typography books make
> recommendations based solely on the author's personal taste rather than on any
> consideration of the reader's needs, and those suggestions often don't check
> out in the real world.

This is one reason why Bringhurst's"Elements of Typographic
Style" is so useful. Bringhurst is dogmatic on a few points, but
he generally does a good job of explaining the conventions and
the considerations without imposing his own. This generalization
is especially true of the second edition. It's not perfect, but
it's a very good reference.

>In my response, I suggested that a minimum difference of 20% in font size is necessary (in the absence of >other changes such as color, boldfacing, position, or underlining) to clearly distinguish between body >text and a heading in the same font.

This rule is a good argument for multiple indictors of use, not
just point size.

One reason that I hesitate to agree with the idea of a 3 point
difference between the sizes on your font palette for
tech-writing is that it tends to result in outrageously large
fonts. If you have a body text of 12, then your headings
(starting from Heading3) would be 15, 18 and 21 points in size,
while your title would be 24. On a 7 x 9 page, which is very
common for manuals, these sizes usually look ridiculous. YOu
could also have trouble the other way if your captions were
smaller than the body text.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

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