Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bigger is not always Better

While in school standard paragraph size was 8pt. Now I am lucky if I can get away with 10pt. Most of the time I am forced to use the default of 12pt. It has taken quite the adjustment for me to succumb to the largeness of real world type. I now try to hold onto 10 as much as I can, because 12 still looks like the elephant in the room.

There are real world applications that require large body type, when you are working with young children and elderly. Young children large letterforms because they are learning to read them and need to be able to see the variety of strokes and curves to decifer the words. Elderly people, have deteriorating eyesight, so they would require the large type as well too. So if either of these two groups are your audience, go ahead be as horsey as you want.

But I think for most audiences that smaller type is better, or at the very least, use type that is not standard when you open a program. This shows that very little thought went into the body copy, which is just as important as the rest of your design. It might have more importance, in that it conveys important information to your reader.

Size is not always the issue, but text variations. Making different categories of text different size, weight, style, or color enhances reading and comprehension of your audience. Our eyes naturally try to differentiate text, doing your part to make that easier for your audience helps insure readability, which enhances your chance to convey your message. Type is always a challenge, and I find that designers (myself included) have to continually improve themselves in this area. Type is the meat and potatoes of any design, and if you don't know how to use it your designs will suffer.

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