Subject: Typefaces
From: "Bonnie Nestor (NESTORM -at- FEDC04 -dot- FED -dot- ORNL -dot- GOV" <nestorm -at- FEDC04 -dot- FED -dot- ORNL -dot- GOV>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1993 14:33:56 GMT

I would be VERY interested in knowing whether there is any research
(are you reading this, academic community?) on the readability of
various typefaces.
I am currently having a very ladylike disagreement with the manager
of special publications in my office. She is "disappointed" (her word)
that I chose not to follow the style that she established, at great
trouble and expense, for the institutional plan that the office
produces every year.
However, the style (or design, or template -- hey, is there a
standard terminology for this?) called for the body copy to be
set in Caslon -- which I find extremely difficult to read. The
ascenders and descenders are thin, and there are these little
round blobs for serifs, so that the lower case "c" looks like
an "e" (at least to me), and so forth and so on.
So I went with the white bread of computer typesetting, Times
Roman, with Helvetica for the headings, and I think it's a nice,
ordinary, clean-looking document -- which is all I really
wanted. (Hey, this is a PLANNING document with a one-year life
cycle. Glitz is not only unnecessary, it makes the customer
But seriously -- I think Bonni Graham is right, this is underrated
as a quality issue. Do you want to use all those pretty faces
just because they're available, or do you actually want people
to READ the document, and are the two mutually exclusive?
And is there anything other than anecdotal evidence (don't get
me wrong, I love reading about what other people are doing!) to
back up typeface choices?

Bonnie Nestor
mnj -at- ornl -dot- gov
DISCLAIMER: These are not the opinions of Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
Martin Marietta Energy Systems, or the U.S. Department of
Energy -- or couldn't you tell?

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