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Readability & Legibility



[Headline set in Basetica Pro Medium (2013, Mathieu Cortat, Nonpareille)]

Luc Devroye
McGill University
Montreal, Canada
lucdevroye@gmail.com
http://luc.devroye.org
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256tm
[Thomas Huot-Marchand]

256tm is the foundry of Besançon-based designer Thomas Huot-Marchand (b. Dole, France, 1977), the creator of typefaces such as the 72-weight Garaje (from Garaje 55 to Garaje 100; Garaje 53 Unicase Black is free) and Minuscule (a ten style family for small print), which won an award at the TDC2 2005 type competition. He studied under Peter Keller at the ANRT in Nancy, and teaches at the École d'Art de Besançon.

In Comedia he writes about legibility and the creation of Miniscule, which was optimized to be read at 2 to 6 points. His research for this at the ANRT was based on the theory of "compact typography" put forth by Emile Javal, a French ophtalmologist who explained his ideas in "Physiologie de la lecture et de l'écriture" (1905). For examples, see here and here.

MyFonts link. Klingspor link. Abstract Fonts link. [Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

A Comparison of Popular Online Fonts: Which is Best and When?

A study in 2007 at Wichita State University (Kansas) by Michael Bernard, Melissa Mills, Michelle Peterson and Kelsey Storrer. These font types were compared: Agency FB (Agency), Arial, Comic Sans, Tahoma, Verdana, Courier New (Courier), Georgia, Goudy Old Style (Goudy), Century Schoolbook (Schoolbook), Times New Roman (Times), Bradley Hand ITC (Bradley), Monotype Corsiva (Corsiva). Conclusion: First, no significant difference in actual legibility between the font types were detected. There were, however, significant differences in reading time, but these differences may not be that meaningful for most online text because these differences were not substantial. It may, on the other hand, be helpful to consider using font types that are perceived as being legible. In this study, the font types that were perceived as being most legible were Courier, Comic, Verdana, Georgia, and Times. Courier and Times were perceived as being the most business-like, whereas Comic was perceived as being the most fun and youthful. [Google] [More]  ⦿

A critique of existing typefaces for HDTV (EIA-708) captioning
[Joe Clark]

Joe Clark (Toronto) takes all the fonts proposed by Agfa/Monotype, Ascender and Bitstream for HDTV screen captioning apart. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Alex Poole: Serif or Sans-serif?

In 2005, Alex Poole reviewed over 50 empirical studies in typography and found a definitive answer. It has an extensive literature review. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Anja Meiners

Creator of the free Google Web Font ABeeZee (2012), a sans face created to help children. The font was published by Carrois Type Design. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Ann Bessemans

PhD student (b. 1983) at Leiden University and Hasselt University, who lives in Sint-Truiden, Belgium. In 2011, she finished the Expert Type Design Class with Frank Blokland at the Plantin Genootschap in Antwerp, and created the typeface Matilda. Matilda was specially designed to help make kids make the transition from reading simple type forms to more complex ones.

Her PhD in 2012 entitled Type Design for Children with Low Vision was jointly supervised by Gerard Unger at Leiden University, and Bert Willems at Hasselt University. Her research interests include the interrelations between image & word, typography, font design, legibility, reading graphic design, book design and modular systems. She speaks regularly about legibility. Speaker at ATypI 2013 in Amsterdam.

In 2014, Ann Bessemans designed a Belgian postage stamp that set a Guinnees record of 606 words on one stamp. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Annie Opitz Olsen

Annie Opitz Olsen, a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, was previously a Reno printer and calligraphy teacher. She works for Wycliffe Bible Translators and has given type design training workshops in Bangalore and Mexico City. Creator (with Victor Gaultney) at SIL International (Dallas, TX) of the Open Font License package of sans serif fonts called Andika Design Review (2006, weights called A through G). She writes: Andika is a sans serif, Unicode-compliant font designed especially for literacy use, taking into account the needs of beginning readers. The focus is on clear, easy-to-perceive letterforms that will not be easily confused with one another. It contains about 600 glyphs. Currently, the fonts are named Andika DesRev A and Andika DesRev B. Alternate URL where one finds Andika Basic (2008). See also here. Speaker at ATypI 2009 in Mexico City, where she updated the type world on the newest features of Andika, which is constantly being expanded. Interview. Google Font Directory link. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Artur Frankowski
[FontArte (was: Magdart Fonts)]

[MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Bouma

Hrant Papazian (The MicroFoundry) explains how the eye reads, and what the importance is of having good boumas (a bouma is the nebulous shape of a word; as if seen through foggy glasses). Fonts with more distinctive boumas enjoy greater readability. A distinctive bouma depends a lot on ascenders and descenders. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Bruno Munari

Italian artist, writer, designer, architect, graphic designer, educator, and philosopher, who proposed one font, Essential, in 1935, consisting of the minimum parts of letters needed for readability. His principles were lucidity, leanness, exactitude and humor. He was part of a team at Nebiolo (with Giancarlo Illiprandi, Franco Grignani, Ilio Negri, Till Neuburg, Luigi Oriani and Pino Tovaglia) that designed the lineale family Forma from 1966-1970 under the direction of Aldo Novarese. Born in 1907 in Milan, he died there in 1998.

The PhD thesis of Alessandro Colizzi at the University of Leiden deals with Bruno Munari's graphic design work. See also Colizzi's talk at ATypI 2013 in Amsterdam on Munari's legacy.

Several typefaces have been made tio honor his work. These include Munari (2013, Dori Novotny).

Dolcevita link. Munart: dedicated web site. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Cambria, Constantia, Times New Roman

A legibility study in 2006 at Wichita State University (Kansas) by Barbara S. Chaparro, A. Dawn Shaikh and Alex Chaparro shows that Cambria is more legible than Constantia, and both are far more legible than Times New Roman. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Crystian Cruz
[Promodesign]

[More]  ⦿

Cunzhen Lin

Lin obtained an MA in 2002 from Hochschule fuer Grafik und Buchkust Leipzig (Academy of Visual Arts) and a PhD in 2012 from the School of Design, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). He is Associate Professor at CAFA.

Speaker at ATypI 2012 in Hong Kong: Chinese typeface recognition in public space. The talk summarizes the factors that influence legibility of Hanzi characters, and deals with the proportion of black and white using statistical analysis. Using statistical analysis, the author discovers the relationship between major Hanzi typefaces, their strokes, texture and legibility. Based on statistics and calculation, this paper examines mathematical relationships between different parameters, and the threshold of black and white in terms of recognizability, ultimately ways of analyzing and testing the legibility of Hanzi typefaces. This paper tests the accuracy of this theory by experimenting with typefaces used in directional signs on highways. [Google] [More]  ⦿

David Covington

Author of Legibility: Techniques of Investigation (1998) and Type on the Screen. [Google] [More]  ⦿

David Kindersley's spacings rule

David Kindersley's great rule for spacing: place each letter such that its center is halfway between the centers of the adjacent letters, where center is defined in a least squares sense. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Dawn Shaikh
[The Effect of Typeface on the Perception of Email]

[More]  ⦿

Dawn Shaikh
[The Effect of Website Typeface Appropriateness on the Perception of a Company's Ethos]

[More]  ⦿

Dawn Shaikh

Dawn Shaikh received her PhD in human factors psychology in 2007 from Wichita State University. Throughout graduate school, she worked on a grant from Microsoft's Advanced Reading Technologies group. Her master's thesis focused on line length in news&narrative articles. She worked on the legibility of ClearType fonts, and on that of onscreen fonts. Her dissertation focused on the perception of typeface personality. After graduation, ironically---despite Microsoft scholarships throughout her life---, she joined arch enemy Google, where she worked on Google Web Fonts, Docs, Ebooks, Android, and Internationalization. Speaker at ATypI 2011 in Reykjavik on the topic of typefaces for Android OS (with Steve Matteson). [Google] [More]  ⦿

Dennis Pelli

Creator of the free eye chart font Sloan (1990-1994, Metropia Ltd), which is based on Louise Sloan's design, which in turn has been designated the US standard for acuity testing by the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Committee on Vision (1980, Adv Ophthalmol, 41, 103-148). The standard specifies only the letters CDHKNORSVZ, whereas the font file provides a complete uppercase alphabet A-Z. This font was developed for the Pelli-Robson Contrast Sensitivity Chart. It is made available at the Pelli Lab in the Psychology Department of New York University. He also created the free font Yung (2006): 26 Chinese characters a-z based on high-resolution scans of Yung Chih-sheng's beautiful calligraphy in a beginning Chinese primer (DeFrancis, J., 1976, Character Text for Beginning Chinese, Second Ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). [Google] [More]  ⦿

Distributed Proofreaders

Creators of DPCustomMono2 (2003), a monospaced font specially designed so that proofreaders make fewer mistakes. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Euroface

A European road type project, to be implemented by 2005. "In 1994, the members of European Parliament urged the creation of a new comprehensive road typeface system, the development of a `general high recognition and perception font', and recommended adoption of uniform design practices. Now, after five years of extensive research, the European Committee for Uniformity of Type Design and Type Safety completed the research and presented legible-for-all-purposes-suitable-typeface. The typeface, named Euroface, was developed and studied through extensive design exercises, laboratory investigation and road tests. The result is convincing: Euroface is 42% more legible than Helvetica at the speed higher than 80 km/h and at 120 km/h legibility reaches a value of 5 ISRU*. The Committee's recommendation were accepted and the adoption of the system in the EC countries should be completed by 2005. A Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and Type Safety was published in 1999, thoroughly presenting the projects implication, possibilities and practical applications." The project used the legibility machine of Professor Morozov, and is headed by Professor E. Bügleichenhaus. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Fabula
[Sue Walker]

The Fabula typeface was originally designed as a screen font as part of a project that produced software to enable children and teachers to produce bilingual story books. Since then, changes have been made to its design and it is now, additionally, a font suitable for titling and text setting in large sizes. Fabula was designed by a team led by Sue Walker that included Conrad Taylor, Vincent Connare, Gerry Leonidas and José Scaglione.

Sue writes: It has been used in a series of tests designed to find out what children in year 2 think about typefaces in the books they read. They descibed Fabula as 'clear, so you can see it properly'; 'normal'; 'like an ordinary book'.

Stylistically, Fabula has long ascenders and descenders (to help identify the word shapes), an informal feel, rounded terminals, a rounded e, a clear distinction between characters that might be easily confused, such as the (a, o) pair and the (l, 1) pair.

Fabula 1 has a double storey a. Fabula 2 has a single storey a. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Faruk Ate
[Serif vs sans serif]

[More]  ⦿

First and last letter example

A well-known example illustrating how unimportant the order of the letters is in a word, as long as first and last letter are right: "Aoccdring to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt is taht frist and lsat ltteer is in hte rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porblem. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lterer by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. That'll mcuk up the splelchekcer. Ceehiro." [Google] [More]  ⦿

FontArte (was: Magdart Fonts)
[Artur Frankowski]

FontArte (est. 2004; ex: Magdart Fonts) is Artur Frankowski's foundry in Warsaw, launched in cooperation with Magdalena Frankowska. Frankowski is a Polish designer (b. 1965, Zamosciu) of a character in the September 11 charity font done for FontAid II. He currently teaches typography at the Technical University of Warsaw. In 2004 he finished his PhD thesis on legibility of type on cartographic maps. He has published type and visual communication-related articles in design&print magazines. Through FontArte he wants to preserve Polish typographic heritage, specially Polish Avantgarde and introduce new directions in Polish type design culture. He spoke at ATypI 2005 in Helsinki on Type on maps and at ATypI 2007 in Brighton on Designing a regional typeface. Co-creator with Henryk Sakwerda in 2006 of Silesiana 2006 (see also here), a great calligraphic font whose development was supported by the Silesian Government. MyFonts link. Author of several typefaces:

  • From the Magdart era: MF Ala i As, MF Norma 1 i 2, MF Trond, MF Multi Putli, MF Plazma, MF Towarowy, MF FCR, MF Proteza, MF Strzeminski.
  • FA Berlewi (2006): a stencil face based on poster lettering from 1924 by Henryk Berlewi. Together with Magdalena Frankowska, he wrote a book called Berlewi (2010). Henryk Berlewi was a Polish pioneer of typography and design.
  • FA Cindy (2002): shoe dingbats by Magdalena Frankowska.
  • FA Desiconz (2005): dingbats by Magdalena Frankowska.
  • FA Dropsy (2000)
  • Grotesk Polski FA (1996-2006): inspired by the first Polish typeface design - Antykwa Poltawskiego. Has sans weights, and one stencil style.
  • FA Domestic Godess (2005): domestic dingbats by Magdalena Frankowska.
  • FA Julian (2003): avant garde ransom face, based on Wladyslaw Strzeminski's lettering in the 1930 publication "Z Ponad".
  • FA Karaker: medieval script based on a scan.
  • FA Komunikat (2004): almost unreadable, an experiment in minimalism, inspired by Wladyslaw Strzeminski (1932).
  • FA Modernista (2004): grungy sans based on Baccarat, an early 20th century face by the Polish foundry Jan Id'zkowski.
  • FA Norma (2000): destructionist.
  • Ozdoby Gardowskiego (2004): ornaments based designs by Ludwik Gardowski (1923).
  • FA Praesens (2004): great avant garde display face.
  • FA Prototyp (2007): minimalist unicase.
  • FA Relief (2006): pixelish.
  • FA Supersam (2003): dot matrix style.
  • FA Szczuka (2000): avant garde poster display face based on pixel type.
  • FA Zero One (2007): experimental pixel style type family.
[Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Fontsmith
[Jason Smith]

Jason Smith is the British corporate typeface designer who founded Fontsmith in 1999, where he retails his own designs from his office in London. He has created a typographic identity for the Post Office in the UK. His fonts include FS Sinclair (2008, octagonal), Casey, Seat, Tractebel, PPP Healthcare, Powergen, Allied Irish Bank, UUnet, Channel 4, FS Ingrid, FS Rome, FS Albert (2002, a soft-cornered sans family), and Saudi Aramco. Of these, only FS Albert (2002), FS Rome and FS Ingrid can be purchased.

Newer fonts include Champions (Regular, Bold, Headline; done in 2009 for the UEAFA Champions League), FS Rufus (a slab serif by Mitja Miklavcic, Jason Smith and Emanuela Conidi), FS Sophie (2004, sans), FS Rigsby (2005, sans), FS Clerkenwell (2004, with Phil Garnham, slab serif), FS Pele (2007, ultra fat), FS Kitty (2007), FS Sinclair (2007, rounded octagonal), FS Alver (2007), FS Dillon (influenced by the Bauhaus quest for simplicity), FS Lola (2006, for Wechsler Ross&Portet; done with Phil Garnham, it is advertised by Fontsmith as a transgender type).

In 2007, he made the custom face Xerox Sans as a modification of his FS Albert, to which Greek and Cyrillic alphabets were added as well. Mencap, a British company that works with people with a learning disability, asked Smith to design a font, FS Mencap (also known as FS Me), for the learning disabled---easy to read, yet elegant.

Custom typefaces include More4 (2005, for the Channel 4 Adult Entertainment channel), ITV (2006, for the ITV network), BBC ONE (2006, for the BBC), Post Office Sans (2003), FS Conrad (2009, a multiline display face). Vernon Adams and Fontsmith got into a quarrel about Vernon's Mako, which was submitted and rejected by Fontsmith, which published its own similar face Lurpak a few weeks later.

In 2012, Jason Smith and Fernando Mello codesigned the sans typeface family FS Truman at Fontsmith.

Klingspor link">Jason Smith [Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Forrest L. Norvell

Type commentator and analyzer in San Francisco who has written on Hrant Papazian's bouma theory, Futura, web typography, chirography and readability. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Francisco Kloss

Gerardo Francisco Kloss Fernández del Castillo is a Mexican academic specializing in typography. As director of the graphic design career at UAM Xochimilco, he is developing an integral model to evaluate legibility. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Frederic Goudy
[Typologia]

[More]  ⦿

G. Kevin Connolly

G. Kevin Connolly's thesis at the University of Calgary on legibility: Legibility and Readability of Small Print: Effects of Font, Observer Age and Spatial Vision (1998). [Google] [More]  ⦿

Gerardo Kloss

Type expert who wrote about legibility. [Google] [More]  ⦿

H. Bouma

Bouma is a word accepted in the readability literature---word shapes as recognized by readers. But Bouma is a man, not an object. He wrote Visual interference in parafovial recognition of initial and final letters of words, Vision Research, vol. 13, pp. 762-782, 1973. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Hans Rudolf Bosshard

Born in 1929 in Balm/Lotstetten, Germany. He studied typefounding in Schaffhausen from 1944-1948, and worked as typesetter in printing shops in Zürich and Stockholm from 1951-1959. From 1959-1994, he taught typographic design in various schools, and from 1993-1998, he was a free-lance book designer associated with Niggli. Author of "Der typografische Raster The Typographic Grid" (Zürich, 2000), and "Typografie Schrift Lesbarkeit" (Verlag Niggli AG, Switzerland, 1996). The latter (highly recommended) book surveys legibility issues in type choices, and closes with a classification of post-1945 typefaces. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Heinemann

Foundry whose fonts are sold via Fontworks UK, who write: The Heinemann fonts were initially developed by the in-house design team at Heinemann educational publishing out of the necessity to find the perfect font for use in early primary reading books and literacy products. Basic Heinemann is defined by longer ascenders and descenders which help children to distinguish between letters; rounded edges on all letterforms help focus the reader on the individual letter shape; and modified characters (e.g., a, g) ensure instant recognition of letterforms. Heinemann Special offers further modified characters and kerning pairs ideal for dyslexic or special needs use (eg a, d, b). The Heinemann fonts were developed in partnership with children, literacy advisors, teachers of special needs/dyslexia and primary school teachers, and are now released in response to hundreds of requests from publishers, designers and teachers to purchase them. They have been trialled in schools and learning institutions over an 8 year period, and are a favourite for use in both print and electronic product. Heinemann is a 12-style sans family. [Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Henk Gianotten

Dutch type connoisseur after whom Antonio Pace's Linotype Gianotten (1990) is named. He worked for 40 years in the production and distribution of graphic arts equipment and fonts, at companies such as Tetterode, BT and Buhrmann. As a student of Willem Ovink, he got very interested in legibility of typefaces. On his own contributions to typography, he writes: Since 1964 I was involved on the production of our faces for Morisawa. Later on we produced faces for photocomposition for Bobst (Autologic), Berthold, Compugraphic, A.M., Harris Composition, Itek, Scangraphic and others. Tetterode owned the rights for faces like Nobel, Lasso, Polka, Orator, Promotor, Lectura and Hollandsche Mediaeval. LinotypeLibrary owns the licenses for these fonts since October 1 2000. News about LinotypeGianotten. Linotype's press release. PDF samples of LinotypeGianotten. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Hrant Papazian's alphabet reform efforts

Hrant Papazian's alphabet reform efforts are based on his research on readability. This theory was first publically explained at the ATypI 1998 meeting in Boston. Hrant says: The best single place to read it is my 10K-word essay in the book "Graphic Design&Reading". There's also a quarter-length version of that essay in issue #54 of tipoGrafica magazine (in the English original and a superb Spanish translation." To see what he means, check his Mas Lucida project. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Indra Kupferschmid

German type personality (b. 1973, Fulda) who studied visual communication at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. She is involved in type at the Museum für Druckkunst Leipzig and in the DIN committee for type classification. Founder of Kupferschrift, a type expertise firm based in Weimar and Düsseldorf. Alternate URL. She is a professor of Kommunikationsdesign und Typografie and head of the department FB Design at the HBK (Hochschule der Bildenden Künste) Saar. She researches the classification of typefaces, the history of grotesks and legibility.

She is co-author of Helvetica Forever (Lars Müller Publishers) and Buchstaben kommen selten allein, a typographic reference book.

Speaker at ATypI 2011 in Reykjavik. Speaker at ATypI 2013 in Amsterdam. At the latter meeting she introduces Type Record, a data base on typefaces run by her and Nick Sherman. [Google] [More]  ⦿

James Alex Rogers

Graphic designer and typographer in Sheffield, UK. In 2013, he created the exerimental typeface Mendel by a special blending process, explained by him as follows: The typeface was created by combining four existing web fonts to create the base letterforms, which were then altered and added to to create the three weights. In this way the weights work together as a family and can be used interchangeably. These four faces were Georgia, Times New Roman, Lucida Grande and Verdana. The resulting typefaces, Mendel Friendly, Mendel Professional, and Mendel Formal, are quite readable on small screens.

Behance link. [Google] [More]  ⦿

James Montalbano
[Terminal Design]

[MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Jason Smith
[Fontsmith]

[MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Jennifer Pereira

Lincoln, RI-based student (at SCAD, Savannah, GA) who is interested in legibility issues for her school project. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Joe Clark
[A critique of existing typefaces for HDTV (EIA-708) captioning]

[More]  ⦿

Joe Clark
[Tiresias: Critique by Joe Clark]

[More]  ⦿

Joe Clark
[Screenfont.ca]

[More]  ⦿

Juan Pablo de Gregorio

Juan lives in Santiago, Chile. Home page of Sabia Usted. Blog with entries on themes such as legibility. Klingspor link. Kernest link. Veer link. Designer of these typefaces:

[Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Kamil Kamysz

Polish graphic designer and assistant professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland. Behance link.

Creator of Hoptype (2012) about which he says: Hoptype is a screen font I designed during Ala ma font(a) workshop in Katowice. The workshop was led by Martin Majoor, Filip Blazek, Marian Misiak, Eben Sorkin and Ann Bessemans and curated by Ewa Satalecka. The typeface is designed especially for iPad applications for children who are not yet fluent readers. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Karin von Ompteda

Karin von Ompteda is an MPhil research student at the Royal College of Art investigating typeface legibility for people with low vision. With a background in the sciences (MSc, Biology, University of Toronto) and design (BDes, Graphic Design, Ontario College of Art&Design), her research takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of typography. At ATypI 2008 in St. Petersburg, she spoke about the role of typeface design within the scientific study of legibility. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Kevin Larson

Kevin Larson received his PhD in cognitive psychology in 2000 from the University of Texas at Austin. His academic research was on word recognition and reading acquisition. He currently works for Microsoft's Advanced Reading Technology team in Redmond, WA, and is working on the scientific understanding of ClearType and other reading technologies.

At ATypI 2003, he spoke about the recognition of words. He provided evidence to support the following theory: "The reader recognizes each of the letters at the same time (in parallel) and assembles a word." (As opposed to sequential recognition and assembly, or word shape recognition.) Speaker at ATypI 2007 in Brighton. At ATypI 2009 in Mexico City, his talk was entitled Don't we have enough fonts? A summary: Few can distinguish differences between typefaces beyond a serif / sans-serif difference, particularly with text faces. If readers can't detect these differences, then we are wasting a lot of time and effort. Many researchers now believe that that people have two evaluative systems - one that involves slow, effortful, deliberative thinking - and one that is automatic, fast, and pre-attentive. The second, called rapid cognition, allows people to make rapid judgments with relatively little information. For example, it only takes 50ms (1/20th of a second) to make a judgment about the aesthetics of a website that is similar to a judgment made after a long exposure. Our studies demonstrate that the personality of a typeface is identified with rapid cognition and that it impacts our recognition of the words written with the typeface.

At ATypI 2013 in Amsterdam, he speaks about Designing with Science (jointly with Matthew Carter). An excerpt: Matthew Carter and Kevin Larson have developed a type design process where they iteratively conduct scientific letter recognition tests and use the results from the tests to inform design decisions. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Legibilidad y comprensión en la Web

Argentinian tutorial on cascading style sheets, web typography, the main families of web fonts (included in the main operating systems), and legibility. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Legible versus readable

John Hudson explained in 2002 at textmatters.com (link died): I would equate legibility with decipherability, i.e., a typeface is legible if one can easily identify and distinguish the different letters. Pretty much any text typeface worth the name can claim this basic legibility. Readability is considerably more complex, because the act of reading is not based on the decipherment of the shape of individual letters but recognition of their combination in wordshapes. This introduces elements of type design that go beyond the creation of umabiguous letter shapes: spacing, for example, and issues of horizontal and vertical stress and the rhythm they create in text, which may either work with or against the natural movement of the eye during reading. Steve Hoselitz gives these definitions:

  • Readability is concerned with ease and comfort in reading in a sustained fashion with our eyes moving in a series of short jerks as we traverse the lines left to right and back again; it is the test of text.
  • egibility is concerned with the speed with which we recognise individual letters or short compact groups of words when our eyes are wide open and not moving; it is the test of display.
[Google] [More]  ⦿

Leticia Rumjanek

Leticia Gouvea Rumjanek wrote a Masters thesis at ESDI (Univ. of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) on readability entitled Tipografia para crianças: um estudo de legibilidade (2009). [Google] [More]  ⦿

Linda Kudrnovská
[TYPO]

[More]  ⦿

Loemer

Ghent, Belgium-based creator of Mawe (2012), a font used for readability experiments. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Luciano Perondi
[Molotro]

[More]  ⦿

Margaret S. Ratz
[Unifon (or: Unifon Press)]

[More]  ⦿

Marieke Crabbé

Graduate of Sint-Lukas Academy in Brussels in 2011. For her Masters project in 2011, she created Minimal, a type family in which parts of glyphs are omitted without jeopardizing legibility too much.

Behance link. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Masayuki Yamamoto

Masayuki Yamamoto graduated in visual communication design from University of Tsukuba before he studied typography at University of Reading. He taught graphic design at the Department of Fine Arts&Music, Hyogo University of Teacher Education, and is now professor at Tama Art University. He spoke at ATypI 2005 in Helsinki on Harmony of type mixture in Japanese typography, and at ATypI 2007 in Brighton on Measuring harmony of type mixture. These statistical studies concern the Latin/Japanese type mixture focusing on four recent fonts: Heisei-Mincho W3 (1991), Hiragino-Mincho W3 (1993), Kozuka-Mincho R (1997), Yu-Mincho R (2002), and various sans (gothic) fonts for Japanese. At ATypI 2009 in Mexico City, she spoke on legibility research of Japanese typography. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Mike Parker
[Poynter Fonts]

[More]  ⦿

Molotro
[Luciano Perondi]

Molotro is Luciano Perondi's typefoundry, which he runs with Stefano Minelli and Valentina Montagna. This Italian type designer (b. Busto Arsizio, 1976) lives in Busto Arsizio (Varese). At ATypI in Rome in 2002, he spoke about the logo-grammatic approach to type design: "Carattere senza un nome importante". His ATypI 2002 report is here. In this enlightening piece, you can read about his opinions on type. From 2000 on, he is lecturer at the Basic Design Lab of the Politecnico di Milano. In 2003 he founded the Research Team EXP. The research team, formed by type designers and psychologists, studies the reading process, the influences of the irregularity of typefaces on reading and the non linear script. EXP is now starting to work on the effects of presbiopia on reading and on how an adequate design of types could help presbiopian readers. At ATypI 2005 in Helsinki, he spoke about How does the irregularity of letters affect reading? His type designs include

  • Solferino Text (2007), a great transitional understated text face for the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
  • Minotype (aka Ninzioletto, a stencil face).
  • Zotico/Zotica (2004, a sans family for the Milano Film Festival).
  • Ninzioletto (2004, a stencil face designed for the Venice sign system).
  • Tecnotipo (2005, designed for Tecno).
  • Quinta (2006).
  • DeA (2003, for DeAgostini).
  • Ccunami.
  • Csuni (which stands for Carattere Senza Un Nome Importante).
  • Csuni1885 (2003, for Mattioli1885; see also Experience1885).
  • Mattioli1885.
  • DeA, for DeAgostini (2003).
  • Sessantacinque (2003).
  • Eye of Goat: designed in 2005 by Perondi, Valentina Montagna and Federico Zerbinati. It is a medieval ornaments typeface (free for a limited time).
  • Dic Sans.
  • Nanoline (hairline sans).
  • Decima (2005), a sans.
  • Lontano (2003). A Caslon-style face commissioned for the Matteoli 1885 edition.
  • Voland (2010). A commissioned Baskerville face for the Italian publishing house Voland.
  • Under the identity design and art direction of FF3300, Molotro created the sans typeface family Divenire, in Regular, Italic and Mono subfamilies, for the Italian Democratic Party in 2012-2013.
Klingspor link. [Google] [More]  ⦿

MyFonts: Legible faces

MyFonts hit list for the tag word "legible". Long list of legible typefaces [large web page warning]. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Ndjili

Really interesting way to show that reading distance matters. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Ole Lund

Norwegian professor in the Graphics Engineering Arts Program of Gjøvik College. Type designer who lives in Raufoss. In 1999 at the University of Reading, he wrote a doctoral thesis, entitled Knowledge construction in typography: the case of legibility research and the legibility of sans serif typefaces.

At ATypI 2004 in Prague, he spoke about British traffic signs. In particular, he will talk about Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert's influential traffic signs and accompanying letterforms from the early 1960s for Britain's national roads (first for the new motorways and later for the whole national road network). [Google] [More]  ⦿

Poynter Fonts
[Mike Parker]

The Poynter fonts was published in 1996 as "the readability series" for use in newspapers. Designed to optimize all aspects of text readability, the font series is the result of an ongoing collaboration among Poynter [Institute] faculty, conference participants from newspapers large and small, and the Font Bureau of Boston. The defunct page at poynter.org had questions and answers by Ron Reason of The Poynter Institute and Mike Parker, typographic editor of The Poynter Fonts. The fonts were adopted by the Detroit News and the Ottawa Citizen. They were released by the Font Bureau. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Promodesign
[Crystian Cruz]

Promodesign is a Brazilian graphic design company of Crystian Cruz in Sao Paulo. Crystian Cruz and Beto Shibata used to run the Tipos Maléficos foundry. He is also associated with Agencia Africa. Presently he is type director at Africa Propaganda. Alternate URL. Since 1999 he has been working as art director for a major Brazilian magazines and as type consultant for publishing companies and design studios. He specializes in commissioned type design.

He obtained an MA in typeface design from The University of Reading (2009), based on his type family Quartzo, a typeface system for magazines. He lectures at IED Sao Paulo. His fonts:

  • His award winning graffiti font Brasilero (2001: first prize at the Tipografia Brasilis in display typography 2001) can be freely downloaded. In 2009, he was still improving and extending Brasilero to include optional characters with typical mistakes or alternate forms used for graffiti. At ATypI 2009 in Mexico City, he spoke on the Brasilero project.
  • Cruz Sans (2002).
  • Rodan QR (2002).
  • Quartzo (2009) comes in Display, Text, Pocket and Cyrillic sets. Its outlines are slightly "broken" to enhance readability at small sizes for magazines. Also, his use of Opentype features to make barchart and ratings characters is quite clever.
  • Quartzo (2013) is a complete typeface system for magazines.
  • In 2014, Crystian Cruz and Marina Chaccur codesigned the sans custom typeface UOL for the Brazilian internet provider.

Behance link. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Readability Of Websites With Various Foreground--Background Color Combinations, Font Types And Word Styles

Alyson L. Hill (Department of Psychology, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX) discusses readability of web sites. Dated 1997. One of her conclusions: In this experiment, Times NR (proportionally spaced) was faster than Courier New (non-proportionally spaced), while Arial (proportionally spaced) was slower than Courier New. [Google] [More]  ⦿

R.L. Pyke

Author of "Report on the legibility of print", Medical Research Council, London, 1926. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Rudi Seitz

Font, word and character selection and legibility experiments by Rudi Seitz. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Screenfont.ca
[Joe Clark]

Joe Clark (Toronto) is developing special fonts for captioning and subtitling for TV and film. Joe's motto is Watching TV is bad enough. Reading TV shouldn't be worse. Two interesting sub-pages: Here he explains the difference between captioning and subtitling. Captions are basically for the deaf, and are manually turned on. They not only describe what is said or heard but also mention or show things about the intonation, style, language, or nature of the voices or sounds. Subtitling is mostly used to translate. It is generally automatically turned on, and shown at the bottom of the screen. On this page, Joe lists the main issues with captioning and subtitling and lists the many problems with popular subtitling faces such as Bitstream's Tiresias or Monotype's Arial. Speaker at ATypI 2007 in Brighton. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Serif vs sans serif
[Faruk Ate]

Faruk Ate discusses this old dilemma. Serif is more legible in print, but less so on screen. Serif is better for dyslexics though, as there is less confusion. At small screen size, sans serif is recommended. He concludes: Personally, I still prefer sans-serif for large chunks of text with a lovely serif heading. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Shelley Winter

British type designer, born in 1959, who runs Type Design, an independent consultancy which she founded in 1981. From 1977 on, she worked in the type department of Linotype, where she and Walter Tracy developed Arabic and Cyrillic typefaces. She created Telegraph Newface Bold (1989, with Walter Treacy, for The Daily Telegraph), Telegraph Newface Roman (1990), Pegasus Bold (1980, with Matthew Carter for Berthold Wolpe), Mitsubishi Arabic (1987, with Tim Holloway), New Johnston Signage Light (1988), Sun Life Engraved (1988), and helped Matthew Carter with the creation of foreign glyphs to extend his Galliard family. BAA Bembo, used at BAA airports, was drawn by her (and possibly Freda Sack as well). Typographers laud it for its legibility compared to Vialog and Frutiger. [Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Soffi Beier

Sofie "Soffi" Beier graduated from Danmarks Designskole (The Danish School of Design) in 2000, and has since been working as a graphic designer, designing several Danish magazines, websites, books and CD covers along with a number of typefaces. She has a PhD from the Royal College of Art in the UK, with a thesis entitled Legibility and Visual Compensation of Typefaces. Sofie works in London and Copenhagen. She teaches at Danmarks Designskole.

MyFonts link. Speaker at ATypI 2011 in Reykjavik. Speaker at ATypI 2013 in Amsterdam on the subject of typeface legibility.

Author of Reading Letters: Designing for Legibility (2012).

Designer at Die Gestalten of Engel New Sans (2010), Pemba Script (2005, a connected 50s script), Engel (2005, 8-style sans family; Engel Light is free). In 2011, she created the round sans family Ovink which was loosely inspired by Knud V. Engelhardt's work for the street signage, designed around the years 1926-27 for Gentofte in Denmark. Named after legibility expert Gerrit Willem Ovink, the family was designed for legibility at great distances based on research published by Beier in Beier, S.&Larson, K. (2010): "Design Improvements for Frequently Misrecognized Letters", Information Design Journal, 18(2), 118-137. That same research was used in the calligraphic text face Spencer (2011), which was named after legibility expert Herbert Spencer. And to Pyke (2011), a variation (with optical scaling) on the didones, named after legibility researcher Richard Lionel Pyke. These are two phenomenal contributions to the field, sure to garner her a closetful of awards.

Klingspor link. [Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Software Usability Research Laboratory

At the Department of Psychology, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, various (mostly Microsoft) fonts were compared for speed of reading, and legibility. Conclusions: "o significant differences in reading efficiency were detected between the font types at any size. There were, however, significant differences in reading time. Generally, Times and Arial were read faster than Courier, Schoolbook, and Georgia. Fonts at the 12-point size were read faster than fonts at the 10-point size. In addition, a font type x size interaction was found for the perception of font legibility. In general, however, Arial, Courier, and Georgia were perceived as the most legible. For font attractiveness, Georgia was perceived as being more attractive than Arial, Courier, and Comic, while Times was perceived as more attractive than Courier. This contrasts with participants' general preference for a particular font type. Overall, Verdana was the most preferred font, while Times was the least preferred. Thus it seems that the Georgia and Times serif fonts are considered more attractive, but they are generally less preferred. Of the fonts studied, Verdana appears to be the best overall font choice. Besides being the most preferred, it was read fairly quickly and was perceived as being legible.". For font legibility, Tahoma 10pt, Courier 12pt and Georgia 10pt came out the winners. Research by Michael Bernard, Bonnie Lida, Shannon Riley, Telia Hackler, and Karen Janzen. Alternate URL [Google] [More]  ⦿

Stuart Gluth

Designer of Roxane, a font designed with legibility in mind. Plus an essay on legibility. Stuart Gluth teaches graphic design, leads the Design Research Group at the University of South Australia, and has a master's degree from the ANCT in Paris. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Sue Walker
[Fabula]

[More]  ⦿

Terminal Design
[James Montalbano]

Terminal Design is the company of James Montalbano in Brooklyn, New York, est. 1990. He was the President of the Type Directors Club, 2002-2003. He teaches type design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Feature on him by John Berry. James designed these fonts:

  • Alfon (2003, serif). Montalbano calls it a muscular text typeface. It has chamfered corners and cupped serifs.
  • Badinage. A connected retro script.
  • Cappella (2013) is a direct result of the work done on the Fordham Chapel custom font commission. A one weight, all caps design based on wood carved lettering from a Fordham University chapel honoring fallen alumni.
  • The legible sans serif family ClearviewOne, designed for highway signs, and used for US highway signs starting in 2002. The highway sign font family is called ClearviewHwy), and is further explored here. ClearviewHwy is used for highways in the USA starting in 2004 (see the discussion here). The OpenType version of ClearviewOne is called ClearviewText (2007). ClearviewADA (2007) is a family of Clearview fonts that conform to the letterform specifications for signage outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act legislation. Free download.
  • Corporate fonts for Condé Nast Publications, Warner Music, The American Medical Association, the U.S. National Park Service, Vanity Fair, Brides, Gourmet, Mademoiselle, Sassy, Details, Glamour, Jane, Self and Book.
  • Consul (Text, Caption, Deck, Display): a 48-style text family. Optically sized, it emerged from a Gustave Mayeur design done by Montalbano for Mens Vogue. Consul has a hint of didone, but the brackets are rounded and the stems gently flared. In Montalbano's palette, this is one of the beauties.
  • Enclave (2007): A sixteen font slab serif family.
  • In an earlier life as part of Fonthaus, ca. 1994-1995, I believe that Montalbano designed fonts like DidotDisplayAntiqueTdi, DidotDisplayRegularTdi, ProgressivePsychoOneTdi (through Six) and SenzaTDI (many weights).
  • Fervent (2013). A sans version of Badinage.
  • The well-balanced and interesting sans-serif family Giacomo (2002). Includes Cyrillics.
  • Insouciant (2011). An upright connected script family.
  • At ITC: The strange experimental face ITC Orbon (1995-1996), ITC Freddo (1996), a thirties style sign font, and ITC Nora (1997).
  • Kinney (2011). A type family for tables and information design. James's self-proclaimed attempt at creating a neutral serif.
  • Latin 512: An 80-style didone family with triangular or wedge serifs typical of the Latin style. There are Expanded, Regular, Condensed and Compressed sub-families.
  • Moraine (2009): a serif family with a wide generous feel. Stems are flexed and tapered and serifs are cupped.
  • Now Playing (2007): A digital revival of the naïve plastic lettering that was used on the marquee of the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
  • Rawlinson (2003, a serif family, which includes a Condensed sub-family). NPS Rawlinson Roadway is an old style serif typeface currently used for the United States National Park Service's road signs. It was created to replace Clarendon and uses James Montalbano's wife's last name. There is also Rawlinson 2.0 Condensed.
  • Shenandoah: display type based on the wood letters at Shenandoah National park.
  • Social (2012). A rounded sans family for on-line use.
  • Tangent (2007): A geometric sans in sixteen styles.
  • Trilon (2009, +Condensed, Condensed, Expanded): sans face. Montalbano calls it a 21st century gothic.
  • 718 (2010): a clean 24-style sans family influenced by as many typefaces as there are immigrants in Brooklyn. Named after the non-Manhattan area code.
  • VF Sans and VF Sans Condensed (2011), an avant-garde family with 32 styles. James explains its release: Back in the late 90s I designed a family of sans serif fonts for Vanity Fair magazine. I based them on various sans serif designs from the 1930s with nothing particular in mind. They have been compared to Intertype's Vogue, and I do see the connection, but it wasn't my intention of doing a Vogue revival. They have been kept out of circulation these last many years at Vanity Fair's request, but it appears that during the last few years Vanity Fair has lost interest in them. They no longer grace the front cover of the magazine, and they appear with less and less frequency inside the publication. I've also noticed several pirated uses of them as they have popped up on some book jacket designs. So with Vanity Fair's permission I felt it time to set them free.
  • The Yo series (2010): Yo Lucy, Yo Andy, Yo Frankie, Yo Sophie, Yo Zelda. This is a didone family on two axes (weight, extension) with 100 members (520 were originally planned). They reach in alphabetical order from condensed (Andy) to extended (Zelda).

Klingspor link. FontShop link. Linotype link. Behance link.

View James Montalbano's typefaces. [Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

The Effect of Typeface on the Perception of Email
[Dawn Shaikh]

A study in 2007 at Wichita State University (Kansas) by A. Dawn Shaikh, Doug Fox and Barbara S. Chaparro showed test subjects emails in Calibri, Comic Sans and Gigi. The selection of the three fonts used for the neutral email was based on previous work by Shaikh, Chaparro, and Fox (2006) that examined user perception of how appropriate 20 fonts were for 25 uses (i.e., business documents, web pages, email). The ranking of those 20 fonts: Calibri, Corbel, Candara, Cambria, Verdana, Arial, Times New Roman, Constantia, Georgia, Century Gothic, Comic Sans, Courier New, Consolas, Monotype Corsiva, Kristen ITC, Agency FB, Rage Italic, Gigi, Rockwell Extra Bold, Impact. Interestingly, in questions of ethos, Comic Sans and Colibri are almost equal, well ahead of Gigi. [Google] [More]  ⦿

The Effect of Website Typeface Appropriateness on the Perception of a Company's Ethos
[Dawn Shaikh]

A study in 2007 at Wichita State University (Kansas) by A. Dawn Shaikh reveals that among a handful of typefaces, readers of company web sites order them as follows: Calibri, Cambria, Arial, Calisto, Georgia, Courier New (way down), and at the bottom, Monotype Corsiva, Lucida Hand, Informal Roman, Viner Hand and Curlz. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Thomas Huot-Marchand
[256tm]

[MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

Tiresias: Critique by Joe Clark
[Joe Clark]

Joe Clark (Toronto) deflates the balloon blown up by Bitstream regarding John Gill's Tiresias, which was specially developed for screen captioning. His main points:

  • It was tested on only a few dozen people, but is marketed as a font for everyone.
  • Some of the tests for this claimed caption and subtitle font used printouts, not captions or subtitles.
  • It is claimed to be superior to typefaces like Times, even though what were talking about are screenfonts, not print fonts.
  • It costs up to $17,500, but it does not even have an italic.
  • Its researchers admit to little expertise in typography, yet the researchers parent organization receives 40% of the retail price.
  • It is claimed to be a better solution to a specific problem than a generic typeface would be, but it has itself turned into a generic typeface that is misapplied to specific problems.
  • The ingenious, unique typeface has already been partially cloned, via a competing knockoff typeface with a different design and identical widths.
  • It is ugly by design.
[Google] [More]  ⦿

Toshi Omagari

Toshi Omagari is a Japanese type designer who studied typography and type design at Musashino Art University in Tokyo. After graduating in 2008, Toshi taught graphic design in Fukuoka. He joined the University of Reading in the summer of 2010 and graduated in 2011. His graduation face Marco (2011), named after Marco Polo, covers Latin, Mongolian, Greek, and Cyrillic, and has sans and serif versions. It is a true superfamily, with wide utility and superb legibility. His chancery hand typeface Tangerine (2010) is part of the Google font directory (for free web fonts).

Typefaces from 2013: Metro Nova (Linotype: a sans family with a strangely circumcised lower case f).

At ATypI 2011 in Reykjavik, he spoke about Mongolian scripts.

Fontsquirrel link. Dafont link. [Google] [MyFonts] [More]  ⦿

TYPO
[Linda Kudrnovská]

Bi-monthly Czech type and graphic design magazine set up in 2003 by Pavel Zelenka, Filip Blazek, Pavel Kocicka and Jakub Krc. Some issues are free. Linda Kudrnovská is its present editor-in-chief. Issue 13 (2005) deals with readability and legibility, for example. Some of the articles: The Science of World Recognition (Kevin Larson), The Bouma Supremacy (Hrant Papazian), Lateral Interference, Response Bias, Computation Cost and Cue Value (Peter Enneson), and Producting legible text on screen: Where do we look for guidance? (Mary C. Dyson). Issue 14 (2005) has an article by Iva Knobloch on Vojtech Preissig and by Adam Twardoch on FontLab 5. Table of contents. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Typologia
[Frederic Goudy]

The full title of this book is "Typologia, Studies in Type Design \& Type Making" (1940, University of California Press, Berkeley). At the TypeArt Reference Library, you can find 5 chapters of it. This is Frederic Goudy's magnum opus, his life's work, giving his vision on many typographic things. It contains the story of the proprietary face Univsity (of California) Old Style. It even has a big section on the history of legibility. [Google] [More]  ⦿

Unifon (or: Unifon Press)
[Margaret S. Ratz]

Unifon is a free font that serves as a proposal for a phonetic alphabet to help people read better and faster. It was proposed by Margaret S. Ratz in 1966. Unifon D 2005 (2005) is OCR-like and Uniforn Ra (2005) is roman. T [Google] [More]  ⦿

Vladimir Levantovsky

Vladimir Levantovsky is a senior technology strategist at Monotype Imaging Inc. and currently serves as a chair of the W3C WebFonts Working Group and a chair of the ISO SC29/WG11 ad-hoc group on font format representation. Born in Ukraine, Vlad moved to the USA in 1995. He has been involved in the work of various industry consortiums and standards organizations since 2002, and is passionate about advancing typographic capabilities on CE and mobile devices and on the Web. He has been an active contributor to the development of various technology platforms, including hardware-accelerated vector graphics (OpenVG), Java ME profiles for mobile devices (JSR-271 and JSR-287), DVB Multimedia Home Platform, OMA Rich Media Environment and core font technology standardization at ISO/IEC.

Speaker at ATypI 2012 in Hong Kong: Evaluating fonts legibility in automotive environment. Excerpts of the abstract: Can typeface design make a difference in minimizing glance times [in vehicles] while maximizing the time that drivers' eyes stay on the road? Monotype Imaging has partnered with the MIT AgeLab to study the impact of typeface design on driver demand. He goes on: Data from two separate experiments, each involving over 40 participants ranging from 36 to 74 years of age was collected in a real-time driving simulation in which participants were asked to respond to a series of address, restaurant identification and content search menus that were implemented using two different typeface designs. The results were collected and analyzed using eye tracking equipment and video recordings. Among participants, a Square Grotesque typeface resulted in a noticeable increase in visual demand as compared to the Humanist typeface. Total glance time and number of glances required to complete a response showed consistent results. [Google] [More]  ⦿