Re: Readability and point size

Subject: Re: Readability and point size
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 21:41:58 -0600

Jill Burgchardt wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> Does anyone have any statistics or know of any articles regarding use of different point
> sizes for readability? Specifically, is bigger always better (hardcopy documentation)?

Articles? Who has time to research?

Seriously, the answer, as to most questions, is "It Depends". A few
ideas:
* Run a few samples by sample audience members at various type sizes.
Get reactions.
* A rule of thumb is: you should be able to type the alphabet twice on a
line of text.
If you can type it more than twice, increase your size. If you can't
get thru twice,
crank it down a notch.
>
> The 12-point standard proposed for body text on our documentation seems to waste
> a lot of space. Since our audience is primarily scientists, we think they'd be just as
> comfortable if we dropped it to 9 or 10 point. (We assume they read plenty of technical
> stuff at smaller font sizes.)

Ugh. 10 points is bad enough - nine points should make even a sleazy
lawyer gag.

Know your audience, and know your design considerations. Any older
engineers? Tiny type might not agree with 'em.

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