Re: General writing question

Subject: Re: General writing question
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 12:42:10 +0000 (UTC)

For this question:===========
Since the cows have come home, I have always, and I mean always, used Times
or another serif font for body text and san serif for headings and I know
that this is considered the "norm" or "standard" for tech. docs. That said,
a new client is insistent on using sans serif fonts for both headings and
text and it isn't pretty when you're trying to read this manual.===========
My first response is to say you're kind of asking the wrong question IMO. As a contractor, if the client wants some font, it's really the client's decision. As a professional, you can raise the issue of legibility -- a combination of font choice, plus many things such as line length, white space, content, page size, page layout, etc, etc, etc... And yes, branding and company image. Definitely, as a professional, if you think legibility is an issue, then you have to raise that issue for the benefit of your client.Â

If you're only worried about aesthetics, then really, it's not your call.
That said, anybody remember the NeXT? There was such excitement because the screen resolution was so good that you could use serif fonts online! Back in those days, the notion was that serif is better in all cases because giving the eye a line to follow increases legibility. But that when online the serifs looked so bad that they just added noise. Today we wonder if it's just a learned convention, and now that we're so used to sanserif it makes no difference, or even sanserif is better. I'm sure digital natives have a different feel for legibility than do us old farts.
I will say, there is nothing inherent in sanserif that makes it unsuitable for print. I have lots of templates that do this. There are lots of examples of printed sanserif that work perfectly, deliver a clean result, and are easy to read. It's the whole package that matters. As a writer, there often comes a point where you have to worry about the content, and let somebody else worry about the design.
Now, for single-source that can switch fonts for different outputs... Um, that's the whole point of markup -- separate content from rendering. XML, markdown... Whatever else is there out there. You have choices.
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