[scribus] font usage

Peter Nermander peter at nermander.se
Fri Aug 14 21:39:01 CEST 2009

> The most important thing is legibility, somewhat subjective, but in
> general a serif font will be more easily readable at small size than
> sans-serif. Some people, I think, get lost in the idea of wanting a
> "modern" look to the font, and sans-serif seems more sleek and modern.
> As your eye scans across text, it can have a hard time differentiating
> the number 1 from small letter l from capital I with some/many
> sans-serif fonts, which means that your brain then must use the context
> of surrounding letters, slowing the reading process and bringing about
> some cognitive distraction. The result is subtle visual and mental fatigue.

As I understand it sans fonts are easier to read, but serif fonts are
generally faster to read.

This comes down to how we read. People without reading problems read
"word images", we don't read the individual letters in the words but
just see the whole word and our brain interprets it correctly. There
are examples if this where words are written with nonsense letters,
but the words look like regular words unless you spell through therm
(like I just showed:-).

But people with reading problems (or kids who are learning to read)
read words one letter at a time. Then sans fonts are better because
each letter stands by its own.

For user manuals and similar there is no need to read fast, it's more
important to not misunderstand, but for a 300 pages novel reading
speed makes a difference (and it's less severe if you missunderstand a
word here and there).


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