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« Save $400M printing cost from font change? Not so fast…

I am really bummed that the idea trending hot online now, popularly represented as “the US government could save $400 million dollars a year by switching fonts,” is a bit off-​base. It is not the change of design that saves toner; it is that their chosen font is smaller at the same nominal point size than the comparison fonts. Not to mention that the $400 million figure being bandied about is not actually the main number suggested by the kids, which was $234 million.

That said, it is great that middle school kids (the study has two authors, although one has gotten the media attention) are doing creative problem solving and applying scientific thinking! No sarcasm intended. It is not their fault that non-​obvious aspects of the problem mess up the idea.  (Readers of my blog may remember that point size and font size have a rather nominal relationship.) Garamond* lowercase is about 15% smaller than the average of the fonts they compare it to, while its caps are only about 7.5% smaller. So it is no surprise that it uses less ink at the same point size.

This is why most scientific studies comparing typefaces first compensate by resizing the fonts to eliminate differences in the lowercase height (called x-​height by us font geeks). This study failed to do that. As a result, they actually get results that are the exact opposite of other studies. Century Gothic has a very large x-​height, so printed at the same nominal point size uses more ink than Times. Printed at the same x-​height (as in other studies), it would use less.

Setting any font 15% smaller would save 28% of its area coverage. Of course, there are some caps in the texts as well, which would make the savings a bit less. Interestingly, this is pretty exactly much what the study found. So, you could just as easily save ink by setting the same font at a smaller point size.

For a moment though, let us pretend that the study did in fact equalize the x-​height, and found that a typeface change saved noticeable amounts ink. With a “normal” typeface such as Garamond, this would mean that the strokes making up the font were just thinner at the same size (“stroke” is a virtual thing here; modern digital fonts essentially trace the outlines of the letter). If that were good and useful, why not go further? Why not make the strokes even thinner? Maybe there is no font bundled with common operating systems and software that would meet these needs, but one could just commission one. Even a master type designer could do a basic four-​member family for $100K or so, which is a lot less than the hundreds of millions at stake. Make it razor thin and save even more!

But any of those changes, swapping to a font that sets smaller at the same nominal point size, or actually reducing the point size, or picking a thinner typeface, will reduce the legibility of the text. That seems like a bad idea, as the % of Americans with poor eyesight is skyrocketing as our baby boomers (and even their children, like me) age.

Aside from that, the reduction in toner/​ink usage probably would save less money than claimed in the study. The claim is based on the proportion of total cost of ownership of a laser printer that goes to toner. There are sadly two big problems with the idea that using less ink (or toner) will save that amount of cash, based on that proportion.

First, large offices that use printers and copiers do so under a maintenance agreement that includes the cost of toner. They pay per page printed, and actual toner consumption is generally ignored. In such cases, a font change will only save based on the page count, not the toner.

Second, the study makes the interesting claim in a footnote: “Ink and toner are used synonymously in this study. Even though traditional ink is more expensive than toner, a focus on determining the percent savings in cost rather than the magnitude of the cost obviates this difference.” Urm… how? They are assuming that the percentage of printing cost ink or toner accounts for is the same for all classes of output.

This is untrue. Many of the documents that account for a substantial percentage of the government’s overall printing costs are printed on a printing press, using offset lithography. For offset printing, the percentage of the cost of  that is associated with ink is in fact much smaller than for laser or inkjet printing. But it isn’t a fixed percentage, either, due to the large proportion of the cost that is associated with setup. It will be a higher percentage for short runs, and lower for long runs. Additionally, because of the huge cost of owning printing presses, many or most offset litho jobs will be printed out of house, using third-​party printers.

So, for in-​house printing-​press printing, the savings will be a much smaller proportion than the quoted 26%. For outside printers, they will not charge based on minor variations in ink usage; they just check things like whether it’s a page of text vs graphics. Either way the savings will be less.

There is a different way an effectively smaller font will definitely save money: by allowing multi-​page documents, especially long ones, to take fewer pages! So maybe it all works out—if you don’t worry about legibility.

There is another practical issue with Garamond in particular. The version bundled by Microsoft (from Monotype Imaging) does not have a bold italic, which is an unfortunate lack if one wants to promote its use for all government documents. (Yes, you can turn on bold and italic in your word processor anyway. You will just get a faked font instead of the actual one, which is ugly and less legible.)

The question that should be asked is: what font and size combination could be used to maintain or increase legibility while saving money on printing, by reducing page count and/​or ink/​toner usage, with a font that is bundled with common apps (or free), and has all the required font styles?

But that is a far more complex question, and most folks covering the issue much prefer simple and appealing messages like “high school kids tell gov’t how to save $400 million!”

I like innovative ideas to save money. Really, I do. But I wish the media and public had consulted some experts on this area before going nuts promoting this idea, because it just doesn’t hold water—or save money—without losing legibility.

Thomas is currently senior technical product manager for fonts and typography at Extensis, in Portland, Oregon. He has been on the board of ATypI, the international typography society, since 2004, and treasurer since 2007. In other relevant background, he was a teaching assistant for a senior level stats course in his second and third years of undergrad, has an MBA from UC Berkeley, and an MS in printing, specializing in typography, from the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology.

Updates & notes

This post has seen some editing for grammar, clarity, adding a few more details, and to be less of a jerk. Again, I am impressed as heck that a high middle school student is attempting serious research. I would not be analyzing it critically ,like a serious adult study ,if not for the fact that the media initially largely embraced it uncritically as if it were.

* The student study does not specify which Garamond they used, but it was obvious (to me) in the samples that they were using the Monotype version that is bundled with Microsoft Windows. Because Garamond goes back to the 1500s, and there is no trademark on the name, there are literally dozens of typefaces by that name, with about four or five being fairly common.

Since I wrote this, there has been some interesting coverage. The Guardian UK was in with the initial pack, with some caveats, but then their Nadja Popovitch wrote about this blog post and interviewed Jackson Cavanaugh of Okay Type for his reaction and analysis.

Meanwhile, John Brownlee did a nice job of explaining the point-​size part of my analysis in layman’s terms, for Fast Co Design.

I did more elaborate checking on the study’s original sources and found that their five government test documents each used different body text typefaces: New Century Schoolbook, Minion (with Myriad headlines), Melior with a little Helvetica, Times with Helvetica headlines, and Book Antiqua. The average of these was almost identical to my original estimate using two of them, but I updated my numbers appropriately.

Given that the five source documents all use different fonts, one could reasonably wonder if they are a representative sample. Generally, as a rough guideline, you need a sample of about 30 to get sufficient statistical reliability for something like this.

CNN quoted Suvir: “”Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” Suvir says with a chuckle.” This may be true, but that stat is not original to him—it dates back ten years, and is specifically about inkjet printer ink. Such printers may still be common in schools (although even there I expect laser printers are taking over), but government agencies are definitely not using inkjet printers for much of their output.

46 commentsto “Save $400M printing cost from font change? Not so fast…”

  • March 29, 2014
    JSintheStates wrote

    Thank you! Not to mention, that as a true 1947 baby-​boomer with AMD, thin fonts are extremely difficult for an aging population to read! But never mind us older experienced people, it’s a teeny-​bopper culture, isn’t it?

  • March 29, 2014
    Michael McBain wrote

    I read the original article on this and went ‘bullshit!’. Larger x-​heights mean you end up with more pages. And another thing… If you compare Garamond and Times when printed, Times is much ‘blacker’ on the page. Garamond’s spindly ascenders and descenders give a grey appearance, which translates to lower measured comprehension levels.

  • March 29, 2014
    Chris Barber wrote

    far be it from the media to let facts get in the way of the story! great article with great points. if only $400MM savings were that easy!

  • March 29, 2014
    John Hartrich wrote

    I feel that you really didn’t read the entire article before making your rebuttal. The high schooler’s study estimated that the savings to the federal government was only approximately $136 million, and if state governments also joined in would cover an additional $246 million. In the Army, we rely on HP printers and toner which is purchased with operations and maintenance funds, our ” base budget “. The study was also done based on paper coverage and weight at different font size, not about readability.

  • March 29, 2014
    Tom Legrady wrote

    You say that set up cost “will be a lower percentage for short runs, and higher for long runs.”

    I think you mean to say the opposite. Setup cost for a run of ten copies is expensive, but for a run of a million is insignificant.


  • March 29, 2014
    Jean-MIchel Paris wrote

    The original message to the government is simple: Find (or create) a font that meets legibility (and other requirements) and would reduce ink cost.

  • March 29, 2014
    Nani Paape wrote

    Hi Thomas, thanks for filling in the missing pieces in this story. As an old fart myself, I find that typefaces like Garramond, as pretty as it is, are harder to read than the more open faces with taller x-​heights. Oddly, given its prevalence, Times NR falls into that category, too.

  • March 29, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Yes, I did read it, quite carefully. Otherwise I wouldn’t be quoting a footnote at the end.

    Yes, the $400M is either from the combined federal and state governments, or the best-​case number. Either way, it is the main number being bandied about on the interwebs, so it goes in the headline. (Coverage and reaction to the piece is anything but subtle, you know.) But I could clarify that.

    The study was also done based on paper coverage and weight at different font size,

    No, at the same (nominal) font size. My point being that what is labeled the same point size is actually effectively smaller, and that is where the savings is coming from.

    not about readability.

    Yes, and that is my main point (besides explaining what it is about the change that is causing the savings). In the real world, actual size and readability matter. Otherwise, we could just set everything in the smallest point size our software allows, and save even more money! One-​point type, here we come!

  • March 29, 2014
    Séamas Ó Brógáin wrote

    Hello, Thomas. Thank you for your very informative blog. You may be interested to know that the proposal to use x height as nominal type size was made back in 1984 in a paper by me in Professional Printer (journal of the Institute of Printing). Full details, and a revised version of the paper, are at Best regards, Séamas Ó Brógáin (Dublin).

  • March 29, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Oops, quite right. Fixed now!

  • March 29, 2014
    Nick Shinn wrote

    I would suggest that the “built-​in” leading which programs like Word add to paragraphs, as a default setting, be reduced by 50%.

    That would save a lot, in reduced number of pages per document, and have little or no adverse effect on readability.

  • March 29, 2014
    tom wrote

    Since my curiosity is piqued and there are printing and font experts here I have a simple question.
    For the everyday casual numbskull what are the “optimum” fonts to use for 1) Text that will be printed 2)Text for everyday screen use like e-​mails. What works for the general population. And toner savings a side benefit.
    I definitely know what I don’t like (curly q nonsense) and Arial (indistinguishable cap and lowercase “I” and numeral 1, and hard to read).

  • March 29, 2014
    Steve Hartman wrote

    But never mind us older experienced people, it’s a teeny-​​​bopper culture, isn’t it?”

    It most definitely isn’t, because no one under the age of 45 knows what a “teeny-​bopper” is.

  • March 29, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Well, first realistically there are no single optimum typefaces. There are actually scads of good choices. It also matters whether you are trying to maintain a consistent look across media for branding, or just trying to pick the “best” thing for your own use.

    For all-​around personal screen use, with fonts you likely already have, I remain partial to Lucida Sans /​ Lucida Grande, and Verdana. Both were designed from the ground up for legibility in low-​res environments such as screen.

    In print, it depends on your criteria. Are you trying to reduce costs as much as possible for some reason? How long is the document? What is it and what feeling should it have? My print documents are usually aimed at other people reading them, and for some specific reason and not only legibility. So I think about what feeling I want the document to have, as well as worrying about legibility issues and the like. I do entire presentations on picking fonts, so it is not a quick answer.

    Screen text aimed at others presents nearly all the same issues, except that electrons are nearly free, unlike print. So using a slightly bigger size has no inherent cost.

  • March 30, 2014
    Dave Ross wrote

    In all the talk about this article, I’m surprised I haven’t seen any mention of Ecofont, which made a splash in 2008. See more info, but the basic idea is that it’s a sans-​serif font with little holes inside the glyphs to save ink.

    I don’t want to deny the kid any kudos. This was a cool project, and this is the kind of thinking that finds those little things that make huge differences in the world. But this particular area is one where a lot of work has been done already, and ultimately the best savings would come from just getting rid of printouts as much as possible.

  • March 30, 2014
    Vicky wrote

    +1 to Dave. I remember this at the time as well. It’s actually not that legible to be honest, but somehow the entire design world got selective memory on this thing.

  • March 30, 2014
    Ira Newlander wrote

    Puleez, people. What has been proposed is a change of FACE, not FONT.

    12 pt Garamond is a font. 24 pt. Garamond is a font.
    Garamond is a FACE, not a font. Garamond Italic is another face. Garamond Bold is another face. Garamond Bold Italic is … all together now … a face.
    Thank you.

  • March 30, 2014
    Stephen Nixon wrote

    @Nick Shinn, Actually, reducing the leading/​line spacing in text documents by 50% would REALLY mess with the readability. Ever tried reading a EULA, vs a well-​designed novel? The longer line lengths and reduced leading in legal contracts make them difficult to read, while the shorter line lengths and increased leading in books make them much more pleasurable (and simply easier) to read.

  • March 30, 2014
    Stephen Nixon wrote

    @Thomas Phinney, One thing you forgot to consider, I think, is that on the run-​of-​the-​mill print documents that this could effect, government employees are likely just spitting out text documents for review/​editing, rather than branded pamphlets, etc. And in this run-​of-​the-​mill printing, I’m guessing most people just default to 12 pt Times, with whatever the default leading MS Word gives it. In that case, switching to Garamond could actually save some ink and some pages, and at 12 point, still be quite easily legible (most books are set around 10 pt, no?).

  • March 30, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Actually, ever since Office 2007, the MS Word default has been 11 pt Calibri, replacing 12 pt Times.

    I didn’t forget to consider that; it is the study that chose to treat all docs as being printed on laser printers, and then used as their examples five docs that were printed primarily on printing presses.

    My point was that if you are going to make a change, you could just as easily pick a smaller size of the same font, instead of picking a different typeface that happens to be smaller at the same nominal point size (compared to the five starting typefaces they selected).

  • March 31, 2014
    Michael Leddy wrote

    I salute Suvir Mirchandani’s industry in devising the project, flawed though it is, and Thomas Phinney’s patient explanation of the problems.

    Does anyone have thoughts about this 2009 experiment?

    The methodology is not exactly scientific. But the samples of Garamond and Times New Roman appear to be the same or virtually the same in size. And Garamond uses less ink than TNR.

  • March 31, 2014
    kurt s wrote

    Thanks for the read…saves me time…as I can just forward this article to my superiors….want to save money on printing?? do less printing….number one and number two… set the dpi to 300 vs 600….

  • March 31, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Again, they used point size as their size measurement.

    Also, again left unspecified is which Garamond they used. It was obvious in the high school study, but I can’t easily tell in this other experiment.

  • March 31, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    I think “do less printing” is great advice. 🙂

    I am curious, why do you assume that a lower DPI will result in using less ink? I guess you are thinking fewer dots… but in general, using the same device and printing at 300 dpi instead of 600 dpi, it will make the dots 4x the size (2x in both dimensions). It is not at all obvious to me that any ink or toner savings will result.

    Some printers offer a “draft mode” that does not fill in the letters as thoroughly and hence uses less ink, which may or may not also be at a lower resolution. But it is also less legible, of course.

  • March 31, 2014
    Joe wrote

    I agree with many points you’ve made. However, the fact that most people use standard settings of times new Roman at 12 points and never bother to change the size also factors into savings.

  • March 31, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Yes, but this study is predicated on the idea that people could change something. Of course there is inertia, but it does not seem like an unreasonable supposition.

    Also, as noted by me on a previous comment, with Office 2007 the default for Word and Excel changed to 11 point Calibri.

  • March 31, 2014
    kurt s wrote

    Hi again….someone (old printer guy)…told me that years and years ago about the 300 vs 600…..never thought about it all that much…..i’m not that molecular when it comes to this kind of stuff… a teacher retired at our school years back…we saved over 50 cases of paper that next year… way to save on printing??….don’t print unless its going to be read by someone…. I agree the draft setting would probably save money…..we’ve also moved to the “recycled” toner from a vendor vs oem…..saves a bit…..

  • March 31, 2014
    S M wrote

    Suvir actually did this project a couple of years ago as a twelve-​year-​old, and as he stated, his goal was to save his _​school district_​ money, which is generally a younger audience with fewer vision problems, and which may do ink contracts differently than the government.

    It takes a smart kid to notice the waste at all and consider alternatives, even if it’s essentially saying: why don’t we use a smaller font for printing [handouts for kids]? … and that’s a question worth asking when the audience is largely other middle schoolers.

    It would be interesting to _​objectively_​ look at what font size is suitable for someone with normal vision, possibly without causing OSHA-​non-​compliance eye strain. If you’re going to try to be precise about this argument, you need that in there, rather than proclaiming simply that this font size is harder to read for you. Both this article and Suvir’s original study could have benefited from legibility analysis, but at least _​he_​ doesn’t make any specific claims about it!

  • March 31, 2014
    Hector Pahaut wrote

    On the other hand, this one delivers (at least in the toner saving department, beauty is another thing…)

  • March 31, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Suvir did two projects, and the second one is the one that everyone is talking about, and that I linked to, which applied to government documents. You are ignoring the intent of the second study, and the media reaction to it, which are what my blog post is about.

    I do not question that Suvir is smart, and I for one would be happy to have my kid at 12 or 14 be doing research like this! It is really impressive in that respect. But given that the media and public are treating this as seriously as research by an adult, we can’t subject the research to less criticism because it came from a 12- or 14-​year-​old.

    It would be interesting to _​​objectively_​​ look at what font size is suitable for someone with normal vision, possibly without causing OSHA-​​​non-​​​compliance eye strain.”

    Those are two different things right there. Font legibility gas already been studied at some length, although there is still much more to be done. I suggest you start with Sofie Beier’s excellent book on the topic, Reading Letters: Designing for Legibility, which has a great recent overview of research about type and legibility. Or just do a search on “font size legibility study” and read some of the abstracts of research. You will find that even within the usual range of text sizes, a difference of 16% or so is quite significant (such as the difference between 12 pt and 10 or 14 pt).

    If you’re going to try to be precise about this argument, you need that in there, rather than proclaiming simply that this font size is harder to read for you.”

    I never said that it was harder to read for me. I said (1) that taking a range of average documents and making the print smaller would make it, in general, harder to read, and (2) that if the savings results from making it smaller rather than using a different typeface, that needs to be acknowledged, and (3) that if the savings is resulting from the different typeface being thinner at truly the same size, that too will make it harder to read on average. Neither (1) nor (3) are about me, just in general.

    I further suggested that giving an aging population, that none of these things is necessarily a wise thing for the government to do. I will add a fairly self-​evident prediction now: for government documents available both in print and online, the age of the readers of the printed versions will skew significantly older than the general population, and that the average age of people reading such printed documents will only increase for the next 10 years or more.

  • April 1, 2014
    Team Lato Fonts wrote

    The team behind the opensource Lato font family have just made a sensational new release: The “Lato Saves Billions” font can save billions of dollars, not millions!!!

  • April 2, 2014
    Edward Black wrote

    Thank you very much for a more scientific view on this topic. When I first heared of this topic the first thing that came to my mind was: “If the font uses less ink, it is probably worse to read with my bad sight”…

  • April 2, 2014
    Wallace Harshaw wrote

    Personally, Tom, I’ve taken to 1-​length-​encoding all my documents, and only need to print out a single page a year…

  • April 2, 2014
    Zoran Gracer wrote

    You are all talking about Microsoft Office as a standard, and that is unfortunately. Word is particularly the worst choice of text programs ever made. It was designed for masses and with out any sophistication. It was not designed under Steve’s leadership.

  • April 2, 2014
    NickBango wrote

    Hey look, a research review on the effects of fonts and formatting of text on the web:

    While I won’t discuss guidelines, I’m quite surprised the most recent study dates back to 2008. You know, hardware, software and web technologies have evolved quite a little bit.

    Thomas, may I ask for your valued opinion?

  • April 2, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Hi Nick,

    I think that a research summary where the summary reverses the finding of the research is worrisome.

    In another of these four experiments (Sheedy et al., 2005) the readability of font weight and
    italics were investigated. This experiment found that the thicker stroke font (Franklin Gothic
    Book) was more readable than its thinner stroke versions (Franklin Gothic Medium, Demi,
    and Heavy), and that italics decreased readability (Sheedy et al., 2005).

    Oops, bad summary. The “Book” weight is thinner than Medium, Demi or Heavy! Too bad the study didn’t also test the Light weight. So we can’t tell if the description is wrong, or the summary is wrong, but they definitely do not match up.

    In many other cases, the meaning of the study results is misrepresented or overgeneralized. One really serious example:

    In terms of line length, a study done by Dyson and Haselgrove (2001) found that 55 characters per line seems to be optimal overall. Participants in this study were asked to read multiple documents, each with line lengths of either 25, 55, or 100 characters per line….

    I shouldn’t have to point it out, but the study did not find that “55 characters per line is optimal overall.” It found that 55 characters per line was better than either 25 or 100—but there is a lot of room in that range for other numbers that could be better.

    For line length, Shaikh & Chaparro (2004) tested 35, 55, 75 and 95 characters per line. All performed similarly, except that 95 CPL was read 6% faster. However, 35 and 95 CPL were the least favorite reading conditions. So another vote for moderate line lengths. Plenty of other advice and data is out there as well. Personally, I suggest aiming for 55–75 CPL for general body text on screen, or font size x 30 as line-​length or maximum line length.

  • April 2, 2014
    roger wrote

    Garamond is easier to read. Don’t know why the author of this article is insisting it isn’t easier to read.
    And who cares about apples with apples. Fact is, when I go into a word document i’m not going to request font size 12.345827. We get what we are given, and Garamond is easier to read than Times new Roman, with thinner lines and less spacing.

  • April 2, 2014
    Jason wrote

    We just produced a single weight Eco for Ryman stationers that is legible, readable and actually, in my opinion, looks nice.

    Font Explorer X has functionality to measure widths, ink usage and paper usage.

  • April 4, 2014
    Joe C wrote

    The savings are probably nothing compared to what would be saved if the government ditched its contracts for Microsoft Office and switched to open-​source alternatives…

    I should so some research! (Actually, might get my kid to do it…)

  • April 4, 2014
    Pieter Pijlman wrote

    In 2009, a dutch company (off course) invented ‘ecofont’. What started out as a search for an eco-​friendly font is now also available as software that puts tiny little holes into your fonts so it uses less ink and saves money and the environment. Check

  • April 4, 2014
    Chris Jones wrote

    Something pretty obvious with the samples provided at the beginning of John Brownlee’s article.

    When you compare the pics of the “Original” and the “Garamond” versions of the sample text, they reach down to almost the same spot on the printed page.

    If you reduced the fontsize of the “Original” (Microsoft’s Times New Roman, presumably) by c. ~10% so that the glyphs are the same size as in the “Garamond” sample you would use less paper.. Perhaps one page less to every 10-​12 pages you print if for instance you used TNR 10pt rather than Garamond 12pt.

    As explained by Mr. Phinney, in both cases you will use roughly the same amounts of ink… but with Garamond you will end up using something like 5-​10% more paper… All told there’s an outside chance your printing costs might actually go up by a small margin.

    I have a distinct feeling this young man was well-​coached as to the merits of having one’s name in the news at a young age in such favorable light.. It seems we are getting this precocious-​genius-​finds-​solution-​to-​problem-​that-​stumped-​experts-​for-​decades every couple of months these days.

    At least this will help him with his college applications… Should he lose his talents by the time he reaches the age of professionals like Mr. Phinney.. let’s just hope he won’t change course and become a politician… or a journalist…

  • May 6, 2014
    Brewster wrote

    You’re acting like a cynic. Flawed High School Paper > Someone writing about flawed high school paper

    Zuckerberg could have been in high school when he created the $150 BILLION Behemoth, Facebook. I can only imagine what great advice you would have given Mark then..

  • May 9, 2014
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    Ever hear of the ad hominem fallacy?

    The only problem was the mass media and public piling on and assuming the conclusions were accurate and ought to be acted on. Tons of people wrote about it before I did. Otherwise, I would certainly not have bothered picking it apart.

    I will always believe that ideas are worth discussing, and flawed ideas that other people are taking seriously are worth debunking.

  • January 19, 2015
    Logan wrote

    Ironically you make the same kind of assumptions and conclusions that a 14 year old made concluding what you think legibility is…

    swapping to a font that sets smaller at the same nominal point size, or actually reducing the point size, or picking a thinner typeface, will reduce the legibility of the text.” – a generalization based on no data…

  • January 28, 2015
    Paula wrote

    Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume.”
    So it’s really THREE times AS much? Which is it?
    I see this all the time. Big difference.

  • February 16, 2015
    Thomas Phinney wrote

    A generalization based on tons of data, actually. 🙂 I just wrote a 6400-​word report that was largely about these very issues, with plenty of citations. For body text in print at typical body text sizes (9-​14 pt) with the range of fonts generally being used or considered (including Century Gothic… shudder), yes, it’s a pretty useful generalization.

    Read Sofie Beier’s book and all the relevant research discussed therein, then come back and we can chat some more.

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