Type size research

Subject: Type size research
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 14:16:54 -0600

Jill Burgchardt asked for advice on type size. Jill,
there's been lots of research on this issue, but there is
no single answer you can apply because there are so many
variables to consider. Instead of trying for a single
optimal size, I suggest that you consider the following
factors in choosing the type size required (in order of

- your audience: many older readers have a difficult time
reading text smaller than 10 point, and find the 12 point
size easier to read. What size is the audience familiar and
comfortable with?

- your typeface: all fonts differ (some dramatically) in
perceived size at a nominal point size. Perhaps pick
another font that is smaller at the same nominal point
size? Perhaps pick a font such as Times that is optimized
for packing text legibly into a small space?

- your leading (line spacing): The larger the font, the
larger the line spacing typically. Reducing both font size
and line spacing slightly might help more than just
dropping to 10 point type.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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