[no subject]

From: Robert Royar <rroyar -at- COSY -dot- NYIT -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1993 18:51:29 -0500

The following are followups to the typeface discussion on here for a few
days. Note I did not write these, so I retained the original headers.

Date: Mon, 08 Nov 1993 10:51:34 -0500 (EST)
From: Ron Dwelle <dweller -at- gvsu -dot- edu>
Subject: Typefaces (*DIGEST*)
Message-id: <9310087527 -dot- AA752784694 -at- GVSU -dot- EDU>
Reply-to: Ron Dwelle <dweller -at- gvsu -dot- edu>
Lines: 34

On typefaces--

(I'm amazed that I suddenly have so much to respond to!)
As a former typographer, I can let Bonnie Nestor know that
there are scads of research (there is scads of research?) on
the readability of typefaces. (A quick CD-ROM search showed
up 179 books/articles in our little library which basically
has nothing on the subject!)

Most of the research is (to put it charitably) somewhat
inconclusive. The general feeling among practicing
typographers is (or used to be 20 years ago) is that
readability of a typeface is mostly a function of
familiarity. The first time you see a typeface, you might
have trouble with it, especially if it's unlike typefaces
you are familiar with. When I used to be in the
type-specifying business and would present a proof to
client, I soon learned that comments like "I don't like that
typeface" or "that typeface isn't very readable" were almost
always statements of familiarity/unfamiliarity with the
font. (The early English typefaces will easily demonstrate
this to anyone--one can hardly make senfe of plain Englifh.)

Most research suggests that size (font height and line
length) is more important than the type style in
determining readability. And in fact, most new text fonts
(new being anything after Times New Roman and Helvetica) are
the result of trying to cram more text into smaller spaces
without damaging readability. Almost all other new fonts
(display) are the result of trying to be distinctive (for
business purposes, like the MacDonald "M").

Ron Dwelle (dweller -at- gvsu -dot- edu at Internet)

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