RE: Font Selection Process (Was: Fonts used in print)

Subject: RE: Font Selection Process (Was: Fonts used in print)
From: "Domaschuk, Rob" <Robd -at- datalogics -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2002 08:22:18 -0600


Hey Steven,

I am sending this in hopes of not starting another round of fonts versus
content. I am pretty darn sure it's gonna happen anyway, but at least *I*
will not have started it! :-)

CAVEAT: The following applies to my font fondling, which once set up, takes
a back seat to the creation of content. In other words, I set this all up so
that I can concentrate on the content. Therefore, all my fondling serves to
increase the readability of the all-important content.

On to your question:

The fonts we use here at Datalogics are Frutiger and Sabon . I personally am
a big fan of Caslon. Here's why (and this is a long explanation, so please
bear with me).

First of all, I look for a serif font that has a marked difference in height
between the x-height and the height of the ascenders on a character. The
greater the difference, the more "readable" the font. Also, the width of
M-space has to be proportional to the difference between the x-height and
ascender-height. In other words, Garamond (in my opinion) has capital
letters that are too wide given the otherwise nice height-differential.

When people read, they do not read character-by-character. Instead, people
read by identifying the shapes of words. This is why All-Caps are frowned
upon - it slows down reading. Anyway, since we read by identifying
word-shapes, the size and proportion of a font's glyhps are very important.

Second, I look for the weight of the characters. Open up Word or Frame, type
the letter 'o' and zoom to 600%. Notice that the character is not a single
weight. One side is heavier than the other. This aids in reading as it helps
the eye move from left to right.

Third, I look for decent pair-kerning.

Fourth, I look to see if there is an expert set available that contains
ligatures.

Fifth, since I don't use numbers for mathematical purposes, I look for
lower-case numerals (when they are in the body of text)

Finally, I look for price.

HTH


Rob Domaschuk | 312.853.8337 - p
Technical Writer | 719.623.7431 - f
Datalogics, inc. | www.datalogics.com

"In the bodies of old men wine lingers on,
attracted by the dryness there."
- Plutarchus


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