Serif Apologist

Subject: Serif Apologist
From: Gwen Barnes <gwen -dot- barnes -at- MUSTANG -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 1995 17:08:18 GMT

-> I am the first to admit that I am no expert in this area.
-> However, I have read that serif fonts are easier to read because thei
-> little horizontal tails guide the eye of the reader across the horizo
-> axis of the page.

My last comment on this: As technical writers, we are accustomed to
researching, then explaining complex subjects to our readers.

Loose generalizations such as "I heard somewhere that serif fonts are
easier to read" are unworthy of a professional technical writer, since
they fail to take into account the vast amount of information on the
technical nature of typography that qualifies and in many cases
discredits the popular notion that serif fonts are easy to read.

I wonder how many technical writers would have the nerve to tell their
audiences that they read somewhere that Pascal is a better programming
language than C and thus evaluate software programs solely on that
basis. Folks, IT ALL DEPENDS HOW YOU USE IT. A moron can write a bad
program in any langage. A pompous self-aggrandizing tech writer can
typeset an ugly book in any font.

Typographers are professionals in their own right, with a long (500
year) history of doing the best they can to communicate with their
audiences. I'll bet a lot of them know a lot more than most of you, over
a range of subjects I'll bet YOU never even knew existed. Typography did
not come into existence in 1984 with the release of Pagemaker, and
typographers resent being treated as menial automatons.

Enough with the know-it-all generalizations. If you aren't sure where
you heard it, either ask the experts and come away with some actual
knowledge to share with the list, or admit you are unqualified to speak
on the subject and leave it at that. Just like at work.

Gwen gwen -dot- barnes -at- mustang -dot- com
MSI * Connecting the world 805-873-2500

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