Re: Font size

Subject: Re: Font size
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 23:04:15 +1100

Robert Partridge asked some questions about
optimum font sizes.

Robert, your questions run pretty close to inviting
some of those "simplistic generalizations" that
we've all agreed we should avoid.

The answer is "it depends."

What typeface? Different typefaces behave differently
at 11 points.

What is your output device? A high-res printer, or an
office-model laser jet?

How is your printed page intended to be used? Held
up in front of the face in strong light like a
newspaper? Or spread open on a desktop while the
reader juggles multiple tasks?

I find the FrameMaker user guide attractive to look
at, but less than ideal for use as a user guide. It is
designed, I would say, as a good-looking textbook
rather than a working document.

It's good that you noticed how that extra leading
adds to readability. Many people are ignorant of that
fact -- people who should know better. Many novice
designers think that increasing size improves
readability, when in fact increasing leading or narrowing
the column width would be even better solutions in many

Michael West
Melbourne, Australia

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