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Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts

GUEST,Sharyn 09 Sep 08 - 01:15 PM
DMcG 09 Sep 08 - 01:24 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Sep 08 - 01:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Sep 08 - 01:51 PM
Den 09 Sep 08 - 02:03 PM
peregrina 09 Sep 08 - 02:03 PM
sharyn 09 Sep 08 - 02:06 PM
Bill D 09 Sep 08 - 02:07 PM
sharyn 09 Sep 08 - 02:10 PM
Bill D 09 Sep 08 - 02:14 PM
sharyn 09 Sep 08 - 02:20 PM
Alice 09 Sep 08 - 02:22 PM
Bill D 09 Sep 08 - 02:26 PM
Bill D 09 Sep 08 - 02:34 PM
Bill D 09 Sep 08 - 02:43 PM
Jack Campin 09 Sep 08 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Sep 08 - 03:15 PM
Newport Boy 09 Sep 08 - 04:18 PM
treewind 09 Sep 08 - 04:54 PM
sharyn 09 Sep 08 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Rich 09 Sep 08 - 05:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 09 Sep 08 - 05:51 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Sep 08 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,Knowhow 13 Aug 11 - 11:04 AM
Jack Campin 13 Aug 11 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,999 13 Aug 11 - 12:17 PM
dick greenhaus 13 Aug 11 - 12:35 PM
Jack Campin 13 Aug 11 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Another designer 13 Aug 11 - 12:48 PM
michaelr 13 Aug 11 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Another designer 13 Aug 11 - 01:11 PM
Charley Noble 13 Aug 11 - 01:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Aug 11 - 02:12 PM
Susan of DT 13 Aug 11 - 02:38 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Aug 11 - 04:34 PM
Genie 13 Aug 11 - 04:59 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Aug 11 - 07:32 PM
DrugCrazed 29 Aug 11 - 06:06 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Aug 11 - 06:18 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Aug 11 - 10:07 PM
GUEST,999 29 Aug 11 - 11:56 PM
Richard Mellish 30 Aug 11 - 04:27 AM
JohnInKansas 30 Aug 11 - 02:23 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Aug 11 - 02:31 PM
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Subject: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,Sharyn
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 01:15 PM

Hi all -- As I work on designing my CD cover and booklet I'm wanting (text)fonts known for their legibility: I have a lot of lyrics that I want everyone to be able to read, especially those of us of a certain age. The text will be printed in white on a dark blue background. Anyone have a favorite clear font? Helvetica? Geneva? Courier? Thanks! Sharyn You can PM me as well if you want.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: DMcG
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 01:24 PM

Here
is a link guidelines for font selection for the partially sighted: http://static.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/files/making-it-clear-monotone-691.pdf
I don't think their advice on font size is practical for lyrics in a CD, but choosing a font which is legible using a magnifying glass can't hurt.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 01:36 PM

As someone who spends a fair amount of time reading CD booklets, I can only say that nothing on a dark blue background is particularly legible. Arial is perhaps the most easily readable of the common fonts.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 01:51 PM

Your basic choices are serif and sans serif. The serif being the little ornaments you see in fonts like Times New Roman versus the spare letters (sans serif) that you see in Arial. Fonts with serifs are considered easier to read because they make each letter more recognizable.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Den
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:03 PM

Good advice from SRS. My only concern would be in regard to the way the cd booklets will be printed. If they will be printed at high resolution at a commercial printer then legibillity will be less of an issue. If you will be desktopping these yourself then I might nix the dark background. The rule of thumb is newsprint is generally 10 point in size. You won't have the luxury of 10 point font size on your cd booklet though, probably more like 8 point. I would go for an attractive serif font (Times, Palatino) for the body copy and a complimentary sans serif (Futura, Univers) for your headings (song titles etc). Leave enough space between titles for eye rest. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: peregrina
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:03 PM

avoid sans serif!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: sharyn
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:06 PM

Good. Dick, I've looked at Arial -- the dark blue is necessary to set off    a number of original paintings that are an integral part of the CD booklet design. They are beautiful, if I do say so myself. The blue is reminiscent of the blue on Joni Mitchell's famous "Blue" album.

Keep 'em coming, folks.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:07 PM

There is 'clear'...then there is 'interesting' or 'attractive'. If you have a recent copy of Windows, you probably have quite a selection to choose from. Then you need to decide on Serif or Sans-Serif. Arial is one 'standard' sans-serif font. Tahoma is another...and there are hundreds more.

In Serif, I like Georgia, Palatino Linotype, Perpetua....and dozens more. It is possible to mix fonts in such a project...one for titles, another for lyrics...but that is up to you.

You should (if you DO have Windows) have a font management control under Start-> Control panel. Take a look...and typing in 'fonts' in Google will take you to many places with wide assortments....most of them free.

(I have...ummmm...7000-8000 or so fonts squirreled away...how would *I* know what I like? *grin*)


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: sharyn
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:10 PM

My friend and fellow musician, Carol Denney, is doing the design work with me. Oasis will manufacture the wallets and booklets.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:14 PM

note..some fonts get more into the space, (narrower) so YOU have to balance legibility against clarity and attractiveness.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: sharyn
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:20 PM

I don't have Word (I know, I know): my techie brother said it was a waste of money. I do have a list of fonts and have typed a few verses in various samples, but I wanted to take advantage of the accumulated wisdom of others rather than studying fonts for a month. I am over fifty now and I put down (and don't buy) CDs that I can't read with my naked eye: clarity is very important to me.

Since I have a lot of words, they have to be small: I hace a twelve-page booklet with at least five full pages of illustrations.

For style, probably my favorite typeface is Bodoni: I used to use it on business cards when I had them. But I am willing to sacrifice style for readability here -- the rest of the design is stellar.

Maybe you over-fifties could weigh in on fonts you find readable.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Alice
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:22 PM

For your lyrics -
The type should be dark color against a light background.
Don't go smaller than 10pt.
Use a serif font (Arial is sans serif).
Use a condensed font if you are short of space.
Don't use script or italic.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:26 PM

I am 69...I use Palatino Linotype for reading Mudcat. It is one of the best compromises I can find easily.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:34 PM

Like this http://home.comcast.net/~somethingextree/Palatino.jpg


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 02:43 PM

Mudcat in Palatino


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 03:01 PM

I once did some experiments on how far away I could read a page of typical academic research paper text in various fonts with the same number of words per page. Palatino won easily. Gill Sans was the best of the sans-serif title fonts.

For doing songbooks I've found Microsoft's Comic Sans to be the best.

Neither obviously transfers to the more tabular layout of a typical CD, and if you really insist on white-on-blue it's anybody's guess what woulk work. But do some real experiments, don't just guess or believe what you're told. Almost nothing in graphic design is based on real data about usability, it's pompous self-promoting fluff from wannabe taste-makers (the absolute pits being the font designs used in TeX).


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 03:15 PM

Make up some trial pages and see if you can read them. Then have some friends try.

I agree that type with serifs is more legible. I really don't th ink that white print on dark blue paper is going to work, paintings or no paintings.

Italics are bad. (If anybody posts a post in italics, I refuse to read it.) Block capitals are bad, too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Newport Boy
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 04:18 PM

Sharyn: I am over fifty now and I put down (and don't buy) CDs that I can't read with my naked eye:

If you're going to stick to that philosophy, I should buy any CDs you want fairly soon. I first needed reading glasses at 50, although I could still read small print using a straight arm and a squint. By 60, I'd had to admit defeat, and at 70 I couldn't read anything smaller than a headline.

I don't read anything light print on a dark background if it's more than one line long. I don't read anything on a patterned background. It's too much like hard work.

I'd go with Palatino, but line spacing is as important as point size. Most programs make it easy to adjust the leading between lines, although some limit it to half-line increments.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: treewind
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 04:54 PM

Alice pretty well nailed it.

Plus consider that Georgia was specifically designed to work in very small sizes - mainly on screens where it renders sensibly even when there aren't many dots per character.

Good contrast between foreground and background is essential, dark on light is better than light on dark (and easier to print) and if you must have a graphic in the background, make it light, low contrast and defocused, even if you just alter the area around the text to be like that.

Jack's experiment is interesting. Palatino is a nice font.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: sharyn
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 04:59 PM

Thanks all.I'll take a look at Palatino. But I am not making the text dark on light -- that would work if text readability were the only issue -- it's not. I can read white print on the dark blue ground. I can also read yellow, orange or pale blue-green print easily enough. I'm jsut trying to do the best I can with a font, given the other design elements. Thanks for all of your suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,Rich
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 05:44 PM

There is nothing wrong with the negative polarity (light text on dark background) that you want to use. The main thing is the contrast between the text and background, (and the quality of the printing obviously) and white and dark blue should not be a problem. People have moved away from negative polarity on things like computers because it is more problematic from a glare and reflections point of view, but with a CD sleeve, I think you will be fine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 05:51 PM

You can get away with white on a dark blue text--I design various print documents and have used it, but you do need to be careful that the background is solid and dark enough that the white pops out.

For a text that renders smaller but is clear, I like Garamond. I used to have one called Californian FB that also worked that way. If you line either of these up next to, for example, Times New Roman, all at 12 point, the other two are smaller, but still quite clear.

The top hit on Google for fonts is http://www.fonts.com/. Probably way more information than you need, but you can type in these names and get a look.

Be careful about downloading "free" font files. You can get a lot more than you bargained for. Check out some of the reviews or opinion sites before you go that route, if you have it in mind.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 06:27 PM

"some fonts get more into the space"

I used to use Arial Narrow on my Win98 Desktop.

I also liked the MS Comic font.

"if you must have a graphic in the background, make it light, low contrast and defocused, even if you just alter the area around the text"

I'll repeat that - not everybody seems to be built the same, so that while many seem to be able to handle light on dark easily, some can't.

I don't have the links, but remember that there used to be guides for those with sight issues (age, etc) about readability issues, and also extra guides for web pages.

Another point - restrict the number of fonts, any more than 3 in a document, and it looks like a pig's breakfast...


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,Knowhow
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 11:04 AM

Just a short commment after 3 years. You all seriously suck at designing. Comic Sans? Every professional pukes at the sight of this font. Arial is a castrated Helvetica and no professional would ever consider using it. And of course you use white text on dark background. Ever seen a booklet? You don't design books like this, but a booklet is nearly always light text on dark background. Can't believe you guys. Tztztz


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 11:45 AM

So much for "professionals". No empirical evidence cited to back up any of that bluster. We DON'T CARE about your preposterous fashion-victim taboos.

Chalkboard is possibly a bit better than Comic Sans for readability, I didn't have it to try when I wrote that. That said I have just had a resounding failure with it when preparing a songsheet for somebody with impaired vision. Maybe his eyesight was just so bad I should have gone up to a much larger size.

This is an interesting recent book on fonts:

Just My Type

Usability hardly gets a mention, but it does explain how designers think and why certain fonts have the roles they do in our visual environment.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,999
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 12:17 PM

"Just a short commment after 3 years. You all seriously suck at designing."

Have you tried sage or chamomile tea? Supposed to work wonders for the nerves.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 12:35 PM

CD packages don't leave much room for print. An alternative to lots of hard-to-read stuff in print is to put all the lyrics and notes in a printable PDF file on the disc itself.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 12:45 PM

Which means the disc may or may not play. It USUALLY works, but I have a whole stack of disks that work with some of my CD players but not others, and there seems to be no way to predict in advance which will and won't work.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,Another designer
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 12:48 PM

'You don't design books like this, but a booklet is nearly always light text on dark background.'

Says who?

Considering the size of fonts in a CD booklet the best choice is almost always a dark font on a light background and said font should always be serifed. I've never understood the point of designing material which cannot be read!


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: michaelr
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 01:09 PM

Why Arial is Steve Jobs' fault

Having spent the last three months designing the artwork for the new Mudcat CD set This Is Us, I can tell you that even 10-point type is way big - you won't be able to fit much information on a CD booklet page (which is smaller than 5x5").

I had to go down to 7 and 6 points. At that small size, I don't agree that serif fonts are more readable that sans-serif fonts. Particularly with light type on dark backgrounds, the serifs are so small that most printers can't handle them, and they become cut off or obscured.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,Another designer
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 01:11 PM

I did write 'a dark font on a light background'.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 01:57 PM

Well, that was a breath of ...

I was enjoying the discussion of the older posts until I hit Tztztz.

I should know better than to be provoked by someone so rude.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 02:12 PM

I remember some of the old records from the 1920s and 1930s with labels with dark blue backgrounds which after use became almost unreadable. I hate that blue! Of course some of the reds were as bad. Something with a blue background label (or other deep color) is unreadable in low light.
A nice cream label with black Arial - excellent! (Dick Greenhaus is right).


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Susan of DT
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 02:38 PM

After cataract surgery I find san serif fonts easier to read. The serifs just clutter it up.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 04:34 PM

The thread is a bit old, and may not be as inteesting as when started, but the inteest might perk up if it looks active again(?)

Typography (the design of fonts) has been around at least since wooden type and there are thousands of fonts to choose from. There are almost as many books about how to choose the "best" font, but probably only a few hundred worth looking at except as a historian.

A point to be noted is that the characters (glyphs is the better term) cannot be patented or copyrighted, only the font name can have some protection. Decades ago, the "font conversion" utility in Corel Draw was popular, because it deliberately allowed you to convert a proprietary typeface to the same "pictures" with a different name, with the slight additional step of rendering your "new" character set in Corel's "vector graphic" format rather than the more common "bit mapped graphic" style.

Hardly anything that anyone can say about font selection can possibly be more than "an opinion;" although there can be some slight difference between educated, superstitious, traditional, and inanely stupid opinions. The one who has the opinon doesn't get to choose what adjectives others will apply.

The original question in the thread was how to make text overlaid on art most legible. Most attempts to do this fail. (I call that an experience-based opinion.) Both the art and the text suffer. In most cases, my recommendation would be to inset a "box" with a solid, uniform background, where the text will be. Your opinion may vary, but caution should be used.

The "modern classic serif font," Times Roman, was created to be legible in dense text and in particular in columnar layouts where they eye must "snatch the next line" easily. It also facilitated (compared to others then current) "column justification" to make left and right margins nice and straight. The same "adjustable" spacing also helped when there's a need to eliminate the ugly "rivers" that often appear in dense text.

It is less successful for small text where the serifs that help legibility in larger sizes become "mud."

For the smallest legible text, the majority opinion tends to favor a sans-serif face with maximum (color and brightness) contrast. EOR (Eye of the Reader) is the only available authority for the type size at which the transition should be made. Everyone knows an EOR, so there must be a vast number of them, but there's no "standard eye" to be cited. The "leading" (space between lines) is absolutely critical for optimal legibility in small print, perhaps even more important than the point size of the characters, but "it's an art, not a science."

Classic/Traditional bookmakers consider a book that uses more than about three different typefaces in the same book "the mark of an amateur," usually with additional (impolite) adjectives adjacent to "amateur." An exception is considered appropriate in (usually) technical/academic works where contrasting fonts may be necessary to set off specific objects like quotations, citations, footnotes, and the like.

It's a lot easier to be an "amateur book publisher" now, so traditional guidelines are less frequently observed, but restraint is still beneficial (in my opinion, if that matters). Consistency within a single product is still a very good thing to strive for.

Microsoft deliberately produced "new fonts," a serif and a sans serif, to be more legible at "screen resolutions" in recent OS versions. The designs are possibly successful to some degree, and those might be worth considering where there's a need for "unusual type sizes," although the degree of success I've seen is so marginal that I decline to recall the names of the two. It's difficult to grant much credibility to the people who claim to have used "the same methods" to "improve Word," rendering "the best product they had" now a toy usable only for the tweets, twits, and twats that "the new generation of users" (i.e. the ones willing to buy any junk that's popular) mistake for "communicating."

Of course, you all are entitled to your own @$!#% opinions, no matter how much better I know mine are. When you create something of your own, it's your reputation that's at stake, not mine. Your opinion gets the last word.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Genie
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 04:59 PM

I agree that sans serif fonts are generally harder to read than serif fonts, and Arial is one of the common sans serif fonts that makes some words look like others (e.g. "mom" and "morn" are hard to tell apart in Arial, as are "Ill" and the Roman Numeral "III").   

Georgia is a common serif font that I think is both quite legible and attractive.      


But I agree that light letters on a dark background are anathema if legibility is an issue.


Genie


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Aug 11 - 07:32 PM

When you are working to an unusual requirement, "generally" is a dangerous word.

Serif characters are easier to read in most normal book or newspaper point sizes, but the serifs are just clutter if you really need a small size, and for the "fine print" a sans serif is likely to be the more easily readable. If you push the limits on fine print sizes, it becomes even more important that the leading is adjusted (usually increased?) enough to make a clear channel between lines, but the space shouldn't be big in proportion to the size of the individual characters you have to recognize, so that readers don't lose their place when the go from line to line.

"Dressing things up" when you layout the type is more art than technology, but it is sometimes important to know that the "point size" only specifies the size of "a box" that the printed character image fits inside. Some faces include characters that nearly fill the box, but most don't. A fairly rare few have an upper or lower "extender" that runs outside the box, making them unsuitable for anything other than headlines or "banner lines."

The "M" character is often considered the "measure" of a typeface size. An m-dash is a little shorter than the width of the "standard character box" for the face, and usually closely matches the width of the u.c. M character; but it's a fairly good indicator of relative sizes for similar fonts. An n-dash is a little shorter. In many faces, a hyphen is pretty much the same length as an n-dash, but a few fonts make an additional distinction (a "nit" of difference since only dedicated "nit pickers" can even see it, for most cases). If you're doing a layout for a "real" print shop, it is important to use the "correct" dash according to the applicable style manual - even if they do look alike in the font you expect, since a last minute change in the font (or substitution of a "well it looks just like-" font) can turn your work into something ugly that takes a lot of hasty corrections. (And with a busy* book printing shop, missing the submittal deadline by ten minutes may delay the book release by a year.)

* Busy means good enough to have lots of customers. You want one of these, dispite the difficulties, usually.

The height of the M character is nominally the height of the "tallest" character in the box but usually isn't the full height of the box, since some blank "extender space" is usually included so that type set with "zero leading" still will have a gap between lines.

The "unfilled box" means that you can't put a ruler up against a printed page and directly "read the type size." The character height (from the M) of 20 point Times New Roman on my computer prints at about 14 points "tall." The printed character height of the "8 pt type" sometimes specified as the minimum legible for some kinds of legal stuff may be more like 6 pt or a little smaller in actual measure.

The distance between the bottom of the M in one line to the bottom of an M directly below it in the next line could be the "font size" but an alternate amount of leading is nearly always present, so you have no real way of telling the actual size used by any "simple" measurement of a printed page.

The I - l (l.c. L) - 1 (#1) confusion is a sort of difficult situation, and until variable spacing was fairly common, few older typewriters even had a "1" (#1) key. The l.c. l (L) was used, and many current fonts actually do still use the same glyph for l.c. L and #1. Serif or non, they'll look the same in the same "font family" if you're using one of these, although the serif does usually, but not always make the I (u.c. i) distinctive.

In most text, it's not necessary to have a distinctive difference between these characters since the context tells you which is intended. In technical work where there's a possibility of ambiguity, a "technical" or "symbol" font should be used to distinguish equations or program code and the like, where the distinction must be clear, from the "body text" used elsewhere, and these kinds of font families do usually have clearly distinguishable glyphs that aren't easily misread even without a context.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 06:06 PM

On the subject of Comic Sans


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 06:18 PM

Whatever you choose, don't overprint on a patterned background. And if you're not doing point-of -sale business, legibility is much more important than pretty.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 10:07 PM

After experimenting with several fonts, I selected Georgia as the default font in both my browser (I use Chrome) and my word-processor (I use Word on one computer and Open Office on another).

One thing I like about it is that punctuation marks show up clearly. Some fonts, Times Roman for example, has such tiny punctuation, relative to the size of the letters, that it's often hard to see.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: GUEST,999
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 11:56 PM

Such empty words.


Just as well, I thought you said Geneva.


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 04:27 AM

I'm putting my oar in to applaud JohnInKansas's sound advice and to add to his comment about "n-dash" (as he called it, which I would call "en-dash") and hyphens. The en-dash is, in principle, the size of a capital N, and tends to be significantly longer than a hyphen. I use it quite a lot. Some fonts not only make those two different but make the minus sign different again. Even if the glyphs are nearly or exactly the same, they can be at different heights above the base line.

Returning to the original question: the conflict between artistic appearance and legibility can be avoided by making a booklet with more pages and, if necessary, using a thicker CD case.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 02:23 PM

Being (somewhat reluctantly) partially acclimated to the "modern world," I must note that those of us whose eyesight is less than it once was likely have discovered that even the tiniest fonts are readable if they're used on FLAT OBJECTS amenable to scanning, so that the scanned image can be easily displayed at "full screen" size. For CD inserts of interest, I usually scan them "on receipt" just on principle (because the booklets often get lost).

Unfortunately, the dispenser my insurance company demands I use prints the labels on the bottles at about 3.2 points, and scanning round objects (with an exterior rim adjacent to the label) is a real p.i.a., so I have a 10X "microscope" for them. (And I don't generally wear my trifocals at the keyboard, so I don't think my sight is particularly degenerate.)

For reference, at least recently major book publishers insisted that the "master file" (usually PDF) be "composited" at 1200 dpi for direct printing from the file. ANYTHING that you consider a professional or even "advanced amateur" publication should be printed at no less than about 600 dpi, and at that resolution all the details of serif or sans serif typefaces should print legibly at anything larger than about 5 point, and will be readable with "optical aids" or by scanning and enlargement.

A potential difficulty that has not been mentioned is that the font you see on your computer screen may not be what you see in the printed result. This can happen for a number of reasons. Older Windows versions kept separate font files for screen resolution and for printing, and it was sometimes easy to send the wrong one to the printer. This problem probably pretty much went away after Win98 SP2, and hopefully nobody here is still using anything older(?).

With other Windows versions, there is a "Clear Type" setting that allows the computer to apply "anti-aliasing" to smooth out the "jaggies" (lots of technical terms here) on the screen. Fonts used with the Clear Type option may have "different jaggies" when printed, looking better or worse than the on-screen display.

Some fonts, so far as I've heard on all computers, may "switch resolutions" when you change the point size, to accommodate the rather crude dpi capabilities of monitors, and this can (rarely?) result in the wrong information going to the printer.

Most of these problems shouldn't happen (but?) if you use good quality TrueType of Type1 fonts and appropriate quality printers etc.

The ONLY WAY to be sure of what the printed product will look like is to PRINT IT at the intended size, and look critically at the print. I would suggest using at least a 5x magnifier to scan over the individual characters to make sure you're not getting "broken edges" or other artifacts that should be corrected.

There is no perfect font for every use, so agonizing over finding "the one" just right for your job is mostly senseless. Pick one you like, set it up and print it. If it satisfies you, then "go to press."

IF YOU ARE HAVING SOMEONE ELSE PRINT STUFF FOR YOU, be absolutely sure that you do it all the way they want it. Some print shops are more flexible than others, but discuss whether it's going to cost extra to "do it different" if you really need to. And if they give you a deadline for getting stuff to them be sure you meet it.

If you're printing your own, be sure you have a printer that's adequate for the job. Most reasonably recent ones probably are okay for any likely "home brew" printing, but there are exceptions.

Remember too that "ink jet" inks are NOT WATERPROOF or even water resistant. Laser printed things are more resistant, but professional printers should be able to apply an "overglaze" to either kind to protect the articles from casual damage. I would think you'd want this on a CD booklet, but it's your choice.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: CD Design -- Readable Text Fonts
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 02:31 PM

oops - TrueType of Type1 was meant to be "TrueType or Type 1."

Could be confusing to some.

John


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