Discussion:
typography & readability
(too old to reply)
Adam Funk
2017-03-14 10:44:44 UTC
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I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog (I'd heard
of him previously, but ended up discovering these pages by accident
recently). The pages are worth reading, so I'm just putting key
snippets here.

Last week, I mentioned that some people “read with their ears” and
some people “read with their eyes.” What I learned today leads me
to hypothesize that the latter group accounts for all those times
in my life when I’ve encountered blank stares, from people I know
are intelligent and well read, upon suggesting that factors like
font choice or the way type is arranged on a page might have
something to do with the effectiveness of the text.

...
What did I learn today? I learned that there is a correlation
(strength to be determined) between the ability to read fast and an
insensitivity to typographic design considerations.

<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2006/05/speed-reading-vs-typography.html>

In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.

By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...

There has been a good deal of expensive research done privately by
the Starch Organization on behalf of their paying clients. None of
this material is public.

To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in peer-reviewed
journals that is any better than the student work alluded to above.

That leaves exactly ONE resource, consisting of the results of
well-designed experiments but unfortunately lacking in the requisite
characteristic of being peer reviewed. I nonetheless present it for
your professor's edification and enjoyment:

Colin Wheildon, "Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making
Pretty Shapes"

<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2010/01/typesetting-myths-you-should-have.html>
--
A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing What he Reads.
_Principia Discordia_
bert
2017-03-14 13:37:37 UTC
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Raw Message
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Chambers' 1966 edition of his 6-figure Mathematical Tables:

Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...

He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
"heads" and 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 have "tails". He continues:

Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.

Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
--
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-03-14 14:07:32 UTC
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Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
Which "above assertions"? Are you doubting that Adam found some
interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog?
Post by bert
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.
Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
Anyway, for those interested in this kind of thing there is a thread on
comp.text.tex entitled "Not TeX, but typography", started by Donald
Arsenau on 3rd March. He linked to a post about the Oscars at
https://medium.freecodecamp.com/why-typography-matters-especially-at-the-oscars-f7b00e202f22#.g20p9c4kr.


Incidentally, I agree that old-style numerals work best for
readability, most of the time, though I think Mark Brader has a
different opinion.
--
athel
Mark Brader
2017-03-14 19:50:20 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Incidentally, I agree that old-style numerals work best for
readability, most of the time, though I think Mark Brader has a
different opinion.
Damn right.
--
Mark Brader, Toronto | "I can't tell from this... whether you're
***@vex.net | a wise man or a wise guy." --Ted Schuerzinger
Peter T. Daniels
2017-03-14 14:32:18 UTC
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Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.
Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
Can you, then, provide a reference to the study?

The intuitions of I presume the mathematician De Morgan, though I agree
with them (I had to change the font for every digit in *The World's Writing
Systems* in order to get "old style" numbers in Times New Roman), are not evidence.

When I wrote something like the above in an article submitted to a
psychology journal the passage was met by howls of outrage, but the referees
didn't offer any psychology studies of readability/legibility.
Don Phillipson
2017-03-14 15:00:40 UTC
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Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
NB: this cites the literature of psychology
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.
Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
Can you, then, provide a reference to the study?
The reference should be familiar to specialist historians of
mathematics. (Psychologists, student or qualified, would be
unlikely to know it.)
Post by Peter T. Daniels
The intuitions of I presume the mathematician De Morgan, though I agree
with them (I had to change the font for every digit in *The World's Writing
Systems* in order to get "old style" numbers in Times New Roman), are not evidence.
When I wrote something like the above in an article submitted to a
psychology journal the passage was met by howls of outrage, but the referees
didn't offer any psychology studies of readability/legibility.
Unmentioned so far in this thread is the large literature on
readibility in the history of typography, from Aldus Manutius
(1500) to Stanley Morison (1931) to the designers of Arial
and Helvetica (1957). Recent discussion focussed on letter
width and horizontal spacing, and may have neglected risers
and descenders (characters extending higher or lower than
the majority) -- which suggests knowledge of the historical
literature is probably still useful. Wikipedia offers likely
cribs and citations.

But it helps to identify the right shelf in the library. I doubt
psychology students today have even heard of the type
designers named.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Peter T. Daniels
2017-03-14 18:04:27 UTC
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Post by Don Phillipson
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
NB: this cites the literature of psychology
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.
Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
Can you, then, provide a reference to the study?
The reference should be familiar to specialist historians of
mathematics. (Psychologists, student or qualified, would be
unlikely to know it.)
Legibility/readability is not a branch of mathematics.

If you're putting yourself forward as a "specialist historian of mathematics,"
then provide the reference. If you're not, why are you speaking for them?
Post by Don Phillipson
Post by Peter T. Daniels
The intuitions of I presume the mathematician De Morgan, though I agree
with them (I had to change the font for every digit in *The World's Writing
Systems* in order to get "old style" numbers in Times New Roman), are not evidence.
When I wrote something like the above in an article submitted to a
psychology journal the passage was met by howls of outrage, but the referees
didn't offer any psychology studies of readability/legibility.
Unmentioned so far in this thread is the large literature on
readibility in the history of typography, from Aldus Manutius
(1500) to Stanley Morison (1931) to the designers of Arial
and Helvetica (1957). Recent discussion focussed on letter
width and horizontal spacing, and may have neglected risers
and descenders (characters extending higher or lower than
the majority) -- which suggests knowledge of the historical
literature is probably still useful. Wikipedia offers likely
cribs and citations.
All of which is impressionistic and based on no objective evidence whatsoever.

"Ascenders," not "risers." The cover term is "extenders."
Post by Don Phillipson
But it helps to identify the right shelf in the library. I doubt
psychology students today have even heard of the type
designers named.
I am not a "psychology student." I am an expert in writing systems and I have
been reading the typographic literature for 50 or more years.
Athel Cornish-Bowden
2017-03-14 19:57:15 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Don Phillipson
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
NB: this cites the literature of psychology
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.
Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
Can you, then, provide a reference to the study?
The reference should be familiar to specialist historians of
mathematics. (Psychologists, student or qualified, would be
unlikely to know it.)
Post by Peter T. Daniels
The intuitions of I presume the mathematician De Morgan, though I agree
with them (I had to change the font for every digit in *The World's Writing
Systems* in order to get "old style" numbers in Times New Roman), are not evidence.
When I wrote something like the above in an article submitted to a
psychology journal the passage was met by howls of outrage, but the referees
didn't offer any psychology studies of readability/legibility.
Unmentioned so far in this thread is the large literature on
readibility in the history of typography, from Aldus Manutius
(1500) to Stanley Morison (1931) to the designers of Arial
and Helvetica (1957). Recent discussion focussed on letter
width and horizontal spacing, and may have neglected risers
and descenders (characters extending higher or lower than
the majority) -- which suggests knowledge of the historical
literature is probably still useful. Wikipedia offers likely
cribs and citations.
But it helps to identify the right shelf in the library. I doubt
psychology students today have even heard of the type
designers named.
I would hope that anyone with an interest in typography would have
heard of Aldus Manutius and Stanley Morison, not to mention John
Baskerville, Eric Gill (a nasty man but a brilliant typographer),
Hermann Zapf and many others.
--
athel
Peter T. Daniels
2017-03-14 21:51:23 UTC
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Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden
Post by Don Phillipson
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
NB: this cites the literature of psychology
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.
Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
Can you, then, provide a reference to the study?
The reference should be familiar to specialist historians of
mathematics. (Psychologists, student or qualified, would be
unlikely to know it.)
Post by Peter T. Daniels
The intuitions of I presume the mathematician De Morgan, though I agree
with them (I had to change the font for every digit in *The World's Writing
Systems* in order to get "old style" numbers in Times New Roman), are not evidence.
When I wrote something like the above in an article submitted to a
psychology journal the passage was met by howls of outrage, but the referees
didn't offer any psychology studies of readability/legibility.
Unmentioned so far in this thread is the large literature on
readibility in the history of typography, from Aldus Manutius
(1500) to Stanley Morison (1931) to the designers of Arial
and Helvetica (1957). Recent discussion focussed on letter
width and horizontal spacing, and may have neglected risers
and descenders (characters extending higher or lower than
the majority) -- which suggests knowledge of the historical
literature is probably still useful. Wikipedia offers likely
cribs and citations.
But it helps to identify the right shelf in the library. I doubt
psychology students today have even heard of the type
designers named.
I would hope that anyone with an interest in typography would have
heard of Aldus Manutius and Stanley Morison, not to mention John
Baskerville, Eric Gill (a nasty man but a brilliant typographer),
Hermann Zapf and many others.
None of whom performed experiments testing readability/legibility, regardless
of what "enzyme kineticists" might imagine they had done.
Hans Aberg
2017-03-14 22:36:26 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
They are called text figures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Text_figures
Post by Peter T. Daniels
Post by bert
Legibility depends ... also on the proper relation of
black and white ... we have introduced extra spaces
of a few thousands of an inch.
Now that is the conclusion of a really SERIOUS study of
legibility, by an author who understood that it mattered.
Can you, then, provide a reference to the study?
The intuitions of I presume the mathematician De Morgan, though I agree
with them (I had to change the font for every digit in *The World's Writing
Systems* in order to get "old style" numbers in Times New Roman), are not evidence.
When I wrote something like the above in an article submitted to a
psychology journal the passage was met by howls of outrage, but the referees
didn't offer any psychology studies of readability/legibility.
The LaTeX2e developers 1990s, I think it may have been, reported that
the studies they knew of were inconclusive: too much hangs on what
styles the reader is used to.
Quinn C
2017-03-14 22:15:55 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by bert
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog . . .
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There's an excellent counterexample to the above assertions.
This is how L.J. Comrie explains it, in the Introduction to
Hutton introduced equal-height figures into mathematical
tables ... but De Morgan clearly demonstrated the
superiority of old style figures with heads and tails ...
... in this, he has been followed by the best editors in
Germany and the UK ... very convincing testimony to the
superior legibility of the old-style figures came from
the compositors and proof readers of these tables ...
He is referring to fonts in which the digits 6 and 8 have
As in the font I'm using here!
I had never paid a lot of attention to it.
--
Manche Dinge sind vorgeschrieben, weil man sie braucht, andere
braucht man nur, weil sie vorgeschrieben sind.
-- Helmut Richter in de.etc.sprache.deutsch
Quinn C
2017-03-14 22:17:03 UTC
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Post by Adam Funk
Last week, I mentioned that some people “read with their ears” and
some people “read with their eyes.” What I learned today leads me
to hypothesize that the latter group accounts for all those times
in my life when I’ve encountered blank stares, from people I know
are intelligent and well read, upon suggesting that factors like
font choice or the way type is arranged on a page might have
something to do with the effectiveness of the text.
It sounds backwards. Or looks backwards, to the other group.
--
... their average size remains so much smaller; so that the sum
total of food converted into thought by women can never equal
[that of] men. It follows therefore, that men will always think
more than women. -- M.A. Hardaker in Popular Science (1881)
Adam Funk
2017-03-15 13:27:36 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Quinn C
Post by Adam Funk
Last week, I mentioned that some people “read with their ears” and
some people “read with their eyes.” What I learned today leads me
to hypothesize that the latter group accounts for all those times
in my life when I’ve encountered blank stares, from people I know
are intelligent and well read, upon suggesting that factors like
font choice or the way type is arranged on a page might have
something to do with the effectiveness of the text.
It sounds backwards. Or looks backwards, to the other group.
I found it quite surprising too.
--
A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing What he Reads.
_Principia Discordia_
James Wilkinson Sword
2017-03-14 22:28:18 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Adam Funk
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog (I'd heard
of him previously, but ended up discovering these pages by accident
recently). The pages are worth reading, so I'm just putting key
snippets here.
Last week, I mentioned that some people =E2=80=9Cread with their ea=
rs=E2=80=9D and
Post by Adam Funk
some people =E2=80=9Cread with their eyes.=E2=80=9D What I learned =
today leads me
Post by Adam Funk
to hypothesize that the latter group accounts for all those times
in my life when I=E2=80=99ve encountered blank stares, from people =
I know
Post by Adam Funk
are intelligent and well read, upon suggesting that factors like
font choice or the way type is arranged on a page might have
something to do with the effectiveness of the text.
...
What did I learn today? I learned that there is a correlation
(strength to be determined) between the ability to read fast and an=
insensitivity to typographic design considerations.
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2006/05/speed-reading-vs-typography.h=
tml>
Post by Adam Funk
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There has been a good deal of expensive research done privately by
the Starch Organization on behalf of their paying clients. None of
this material is public.
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in peer-reviewed
journals that is any better than the student work alluded to above.
That leaves exactly ONE resource, consisting of the results of
well-designed experiments but unfortunately lacking in the requisite=
characteristic of being peer reviewed. I nonetheless present it for
Colin Wheildon, "Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making=
Pretty Shapes"
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2010/01/typesetting-myths-you-should-=
have.html>

I prefer the Arial font. As do most. Times is fancy and stylish, but s=
lower to read.

-- =

Peter is listening to "Eagles - Hotel California"
Robert Bannister
2017-03-15 03:42:15 UTC
Permalink
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Post by James Wilkinson Sword
Post by Adam Funk
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog (I'd heard
of him previously, but ended up discovering these pages by accident
recently). The pages are worth reading, so I'm just putting key
snippets here.
Last week, I mentioned that some people “read with their ears” and
some people “read with their eyes.” What I learned today leads me
to hypothesize that the latter group accounts for all those times
in my life when I’ve encountered blank stares, from people I know
are intelligent and well read, upon suggesting that factors like
font choice or the way type is arranged on a page might have
something to do with the effectiveness of the text.
...
What did I learn today? I learned that there is a correlation
(strength to be determined) between the ability to read fast and an
insensitivity to typographic design considerations.
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2006/05/speed-reading-vs-typography.html>
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There has been a good deal of expensive research done privately by
the Starch Organization on behalf of their paying clients. None of
this material is public.
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in peer-reviewed
journals that is any better than the student work alluded to above.
That leaves exactly ONE resource, consisting of the results of
well-designed experiments but unfortunately lacking in the requisite
characteristic of being peer reviewed. I nonetheless present it for
Colin Wheildon, "Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making
Pretty Shapes"
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2010/01/typesetting-myths-you-should-have.html>
I prefer the Arial font. As do most. Times is fancy and stylish, but
slower to read.
Sorry, but I find a font with serifs much easier to read, especially if
it's 10 pt or smaller. I don't mind sans serif for titles and headlines,
but sometimes I just refuse to even try to read Helvetica/Geneva/Arial
because they're so difficult to read. Same with italics.

As for what most people prefer, I couldn't say. You are claiming most
prefer Arial. Isn't that strictly a Windows font? Even if it isn't, have
you conducted a serious study into what people prefer?
--
Robert B. born England a long time ago;
Western Australia since 1972
Peter Moylan
2017-03-15 06:56:47 UTC
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Post by Robert Bannister
Post by James Wilkinson Sword
I prefer the Arial font. As do most. Times is fancy and stylish, but
slower to read.
Sorry, but I find a font with serifs much easier to read, especially if
it's 10 pt or smaller. I don't mind sans serif for titles and headlines,
but sometimes I just refuse to even try to read Helvetica/Geneva/Arial
because they're so difficult to read. Same with italics.
As for what most people prefer, I couldn't say. You are claiming most
prefer Arial. Isn't that strictly a Windows font? Even if it isn't, have
you conducted a serious study into what people prefer?
Windows fonts can be installed in other operating systems. I see that I
have Arial. I even, to my surprise, have Dingbats, and that's a font
that would only ever be used by someone who likes Windows.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
James Wilkinson Sword
2017-03-15 13:10:47 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by James Wilkinson Sword
I prefer the Arial font. As do most. Times is fancy and stylish, but
slower to read.
Sorry, but I find a font with serifs much easier to read, especially if
it's 10 pt or smaller. I don't mind sans serif for titles and headlines,
but sometimes I just refuse to even try to read Helvetica/Geneva/Arial
because they're so difficult to read. Same with italics.
As for what most people prefer, I couldn't say. You are claiming most
prefer Arial. Isn't that strictly a Windows font? Even if it isn't, have
you conducted a serious study into what people prefer?
Windows fonts can be installed in other operating systems. I see that I
have Arial. I even, to my surprise, have Dingbats, and that's a font
that would only ever be used by someone who likes Windows.
No, dingbats is useful.
--
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
James Wilkinson Sword
2017-03-15 13:11:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog (I'd hear=
d
of him previously, but ended up discovering these pages by accident
recently). The pages are worth reading, so I'm just putting key
snippets here.
Last week, I mentioned that some people =E2=80=9Cread with their =
ears=E2=80=9D and
some people =E2=80=9Cread with their eyes.=E2=80=9D What I learne=
d today leads me
to hypothesize that the latter group accounts for all those times=
in my life when I=E2=80=99ve encountered blank stares, from peopl=
e I know
are intelligent and well read, upon suggesting that factors like
font choice or the way type is arranged on a page might have
something to do with the effectiveness of the text.
...
What did I learn today? I learned that there is a correlation
(strength to be determined) between the ability to read fast and =
an
insensitivity to typographic design considerations.
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2006/05/speed-reading-vs-typography=
.html>
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number o=
f
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostl=
y
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There has been a good deal of expensive research done privately by=
the Starch Organization on behalf of their paying clients. None of=
this material is public.
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in peer-reviewed
journals that is any better than the student work alluded to above=
.
That leaves exactly ONE resource, consisting of the results of
well-designed experiments but unfortunately lacking in the requisi=
te
characteristic of being peer reviewed. I nonetheless present it fo=
r
Colin Wheildon, "Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Maki=
ng
Pretty Shapes"
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2010/01/typesetting-myths-you-shoul=
d-have.html>
I prefer the Arial font. As do most. Times is fancy and stylish, bu=
t
slower to read.
Sorry, but I find a font with serifs much easier to read, especially i=
f
it's 10 pt or smaller. I don't mind sans serif for titles and headline=
s,
but sometimes I just refuse to even try to read Helvetica/Geneva/Arial=
because they're so difficult to read. Same with italics.
As for what most people prefer, I couldn't say. You are claiming most
prefer Arial. Isn't that strictly a Windows font? Even if it isn't, ha=
ve
you conducted a serious study into what people prefer?
It's obviously easier to read without unnecessary squiggles. Do you add=
superfluous rubbish when you write by hand?

-- =

Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Adam Funk
2017-03-15 13:29:17 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Robert Bannister
Post by James Wilkinson Sword
I prefer the Arial font. As do most. Times is fancy and stylish, but
slower to read.
Sorry, but I find a font with serifs much easier to read, especially if
it's 10 pt or smaller. I don't mind sans serif for titles and headlines,
but sometimes I just refuse to even try to read Helvetica/Geneva/Arial
because they're so difficult to read. Same with italics.
I strongly agree, but I can't claim that's more than my personal
opinion/preference/experience.
Post by Robert Bannister
As for what most people prefer, I couldn't say. You are claiming most
prefer Arial. Isn't that strictly a Windows font? Even if it isn't, have
you conducted a serious study into what people prefer?
I'd rather see Comic Sans than Arial: at least the former shows that
someone chose it to be funny.
--
I was born, lucky me, in a land that I love.
Though I'm poor, I am free.
When I grow I shall fight; for this land I shall die.
May the sun never set. --- The Kinks
occam
2017-03-15 08:34:47 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Adam Funk
I found some interesting stuff on Dick Margulis's old blog (I'd heard
of him previously, but ended up discovering these pages by accident
recently). The pages are worth reading, so I'm just putting key
snippets here.
Last week, I mentioned that some people “read with their ears” and
some people “read with their eyes.” What I learned today leads me
to hypothesize that the latter group accounts for all those times
in my life when I’ve encountered blank stares, from people I know
are intelligent and well read, upon suggesting that factors like
font choice or the way type is arranged on a page might have
something to do with the effectiveness of the text.
...
What did I learn today? I learned that there is a correlation
(strength to be determined) between the ability to read fast and an
insensitivity to typographic design considerations.
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2006/05/speed-reading-vs-typography.html>
In the first half of the 20th c., type foundries funded a number of
private studies on readability. If any of this material is still
available anywhere, I'm not aware of it.
By far the greatest bulk of so-called research consists of very
badly designed experiments conducted by psychology students (mostly
undergrad, I think) for class credit. ...
There has been a good deal of expensive research done privately by
the Starch Organization on behalf of their paying clients. None of
this material is public.
To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing in peer-reviewed
journals that is any better than the student work alluded to above.
That leaves exactly ONE resource, consisting of the results of
well-designed experiments but unfortunately lacking in the requisite
characteristic of being peer reviewed. I nonetheless present it for
Colin Wheildon, "Type & Layout: Are You Communicating or Just Making
Pretty Shapes"
<http://www.ampersandvirgule.com/2010/01/typesetting-myths-you-should-have.html>
The memorable quote I came away with from that blog is:
" Since the advent of desktop publishing thirty-odd years ago, people
with no training in typography have been putting themselves out as
experts. And that has caused the sewers to overflow, releasing all sorts
of stuff into the mainstream. "

The thing I disagree with the above statement is the perception of
'mainstream'. Like in a lot of other disciplines, the mainstream IS the
online sewer. The skill is to discern the clean tributaries which
trickle into it.
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