When dealing with publications, whether print or digital, selecting the right elements to increase readability is still among the top priorities of a publisher or editor. The typeface functions to enliven the published text with a certain distinctive mood. However, it should be done discerningly; the font style must not interfere with the message. Here are tips on choosing the right one for your publication.
- Select a typeface to set the tone of your publication: formal, technical, casual, or fashionable. Whatever type you have chosen, keep in mind that the typeface must complement, but never interfere with, your subject matter. Resist the compulsion to shrink the type size to justify the inclusion of more text; if there is limited space available, try editing first. Remember that type size is a crucial factor for creating interest and contrast.
- Respect a typeface family. Some common font types include Times, Arial, Helvetica, Century Schoolbook, and Avant Garde among many others. Utilize boldface, italics, and point sizes within a single font family.
- Don't use more than two types on a page. Sans-serif typefaces like Helvetica, Franklin Gothic, and Tahoma are most effective in large sizes: use them for titles and headlines. For narrative text, a serif typeface like Times is very effective.
- Avoid using all capital letters for extended text. Use upper and lower case, particularly for long headlines and body text.
- Don't underline for emphasis. Underlining looks tacky and it makes the text difficult to read. For emphasis, use boldface instead, italics for technical terminologies, titles, and foreign words.
- Use short lines for smaller fonts. Readers will get confused trying to follow long, congested lines of small text. Increasing the vertical space between long lines of text (the "leading") can add to their readability.
- Utilize bigger types wisely. For slideshows, be sure that the type is big enough to be read from the back of the room. Stand back from the monitor or slide at arm's distance: you should be able to read the text.
A huge selection of typefaces is available and can be downloaded online should you need more selections for your publications.
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