OpenFiction [Blog]

I’m a strong believer…

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on August 13, 2007

…in the importance of font choice. I know some writers who are very careful about the fonts they will use, and tend to choose somewhat fancy nonstandard fonts. For me, fonts really only have the power to hurt, not help. The moment a font is more noticeable than the writing, either because its a bad font or just too fancy, the font is a problem. There’s an article in the New York Times Magazine on fonts for highway signs that illustrates this nicely. The whole point of a font is to maximize readability and communicate information.

For any text I expect to be read on paper that is longer than a paragraph or two, I prefer Times New Roman, which is classic compact and very readable. For most online text, I use Verdana, which is again simple and quite legible. Verdana’s too wide a font for printed sans-serif though, and I’m not a big fan of Helvetica, which lacks crucial detail needed for the numbers-based evaluation reports I write (in particular, you can’t distinguish the letter “l” from the number “1”). For printed reports and for spreadsheets, I use Tahoma, which is essentially a compact Verdana. It’s got good contrast between characters and is legible at very small font sizes (down to 6 point in print).

All of that being said, I’ve never been entirely happy with the font of tOFP [ Blog ], which looks really crappy on a PC, so I may go back and change it.


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