[scribus] font usage

John Beardmore John at T4sLtd.co.uk
Sat Aug 15 16:05:22 CEST 2009

avox wrote:

>>>> 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.
>> This thread has covered some interesting stuff. Personally I think
>> legibility has as much to do with familiarity than with anything inherent
>> in the font design, but my opinion is not based on any evidence.
>> I wonder if the claims of legibility are sometimes based on little
>> evidence. For example, in UK secondary school classrooms I have noticed
>> that a great many teachers use comic sans on handouts and presentations.
>> They swear that this is for reasons of legibility. Wow.
>> The point I was trying to make was much simpler - if you are designing
>> anything  you need to do some research. Find out what others are doing and
>> then, if you choose to go your own way, you are at least doing that with a
>> full understanding that your work will stand out.
>> Another Example: I note that Sony are using a sans font on their manuals
>> where it mixes nicely with the pictures, and a serif font in the "serious"
>> section of the guarantee... I honestly think that for shorter documents
>> font choice is rarely to do with legibility ...
> Well, if it was all down to legibilty we'd only need one font ever...
> In my view legibility depends most of all on
> 1. font size
> 2. leading and spacing
> 3. letter form
> Most serif/sans serif fonts use well-known letter forms so that familiarity
> shouldn't be a problem.
> Old black letter fonts, cursive script or more exotic modern display fonts
> are more difficult to read without (and maybe even with) practice.
> Serifs help if you have long blocks of text with small leading. They also
> help to make letter forms more distinct (eg. "1" vs. "l" or "nn" vs. "rm")
> Fortunately, as another poster pointed out, the overall shape of a word is
> more important than individual letters (except in computer manuals).
> Sans-serif fonts like Delicious or Calibri should be fine even for longer
> text if you use a decent leading.

As a 'lurker' I've found this debate very interesting, because at the 
end of the day, if I can make my documents easier / more comfortable to 
read, they can only be more useful.

On the other hand, I'm coming away with the impression that there is 
little consensus on what 'the right way to do it' is.

Given that we've not had any complaints about typography since 1987, 
we'll just carry on as we are I guess !

Not trying to stifle the discussion though -  I live in hope that 
somebody will mention something that would trigger a rethink in how we 
present stuff.

Cheers, J/.
John Beardmore, MSc EDM (Open), B.A. Chem (Oxon), CMIOSH, AIEMA, MEI
Managing Director, T4 Sustainability Limited. http://www.T4sLtd.co.uk/
Energy Audit, Carbon Management, Design Advice, Sustainable Energy
Consultancy and Installation, Carbon Trust Standard Registered Assessor
Phone: 0845 4561332   Mobile: 07785 563116   Skype: t4sustainability

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