Re: Font Usage in Manuals

Subject: Re: Font Usage in Manuals
From: CODY -dot- J -at- EWORLD -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 1996 19:47:15 -0800


As a 15 year veteran of the graphic design field, I must commend Robert
Plamondon on his excellent suggestions for font usage and selection in

I can only a dd a few comments to his suggestions:

Keep the body text a readable size, especially if pages must be copied and
faxed. For the serif fonts Times Roman and Palatino, 10, 11 or 12 point work
well. When using Garamond, 12 or 13 is best, because Garamond has smaller
lower case letters in relation to it's capital letter size. Times and
Palatino (among others) have larger lower case letters and therefore read
well at smaller sizes. However, anything below 10 points is difficult to read
in any font.

Conversely, captions are often best in 8, 9 or possibly 10 point type, but if
you use a sans serif, these sizes are readable.

Bullets can be made less glaring by using a smaller point size just for the
bullet itself and shifting the baseline up a few points. Most software offers
these options in a character dialog box. (With 12 point text I find a 7-8
point bullet shifted up 3 points works well).

Bold type *can* be effective, particularly when the font is also contrasting.
For example, I have used bold Helvetica headings with normal Times for a nice
contrast and readability.

Please, please, oh please, avoid all caps, except of course in acronyms.

Thanks for reading my $0.02.

cody -dot- j -at- eworld -dot- com

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