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Script Typefaces & legibitity, a research about the viability of script fonts for body text


Hello Everybody.
My name is Javier Rosa, I am from Barcelona. I am both a graphic design professional and student. Currently I am working on my final degree project.
A week ago I've sent emails asking some information for that project to relevant people in the script typography field. One of this relevant persons, Bas Jacobs, suggested me to post a message in this board, and I thought it was a good idea, so here am I asking for your help.
This project is a theoretical one, developed in basis of a hypothesis. I personally have decided to focus the paper on script typography. The starting point of the work is the hypothesis below:

The letters i and l in sans serif fonts, and readability.

I'm hoping someone can shed some light.

I notice that for a lot of (most?) sans-serif fonts, the letter i is as minimal as could be. Simply a stick and a dot. The L is similarly minimal, just a stick, or in the luckier cases, perhaps a kink at the top or a curve at the bottom.

I find that this hinders readability – or at least it does for me. Just now I was reading a page set in Verdana, and could not figure out if the word "ability" was spelled correctly. The i's and l's simply fused, and I could not tell whether there were 3 or 4 "sticks". I had to get closer to the screen.

Do others have similar trouble with these letters?
Some sans-serifs that make the i's and l's more recognizable: ITC Officina Sans, Monitor Pro, Fira Sans, Ubuntu, Trebuchet.

Williams Caslon Small and The New Yorker

Williams Caslon Small is my new text font for small sizes that I did for the partial redesign (as of Sept 23) of The New Yorker. Its proportions are based on Caslon's original Long Primer size, and the shapes are based on my Williams Caslon Text (for 10-12 point), already published by Font Bureau.

Attached is a comparison of the old and new. The old was Sabon I believe at 8/8, negatively tracked, which was pretty taxing to read. Mine is set at 8/9, also negatively tracked, by 20 units. I think mine ideally shouldn't be negatively tracked more than 10 even in such a narrow column, but it still works, and is much more comfortable a read. You have to actually see this in print for a real comparison, but I'm gratified that so far it's had a very positive reception.

Using difficult typefaces--to increase comprehension


Has anyone at Typophile ever designed something to be harder to read on purpose--to make sure the reader slows down, and thus better understands the text? In particular, has anyone ever done this with a textbook or other educational materials? Or has anyone made another design decision with a similar effect, such as printing the text in light gray?

Note: there is some empirical research suggesting that using more difficult typefaces can increase comprehension. Dan Kahneman discusses some of it in Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, and a very recent example is the new study described here, which finds increased gains for dyslexic readers:


Contextual variants to facilitate readability

I want to know what people think about contextual variants, as seen in arabic, in latin scripts. I am trying to design a typeface that consists of different letterforms according to their context. In otherwords, an a would look different depending if it was interacting with an a straight edge letterform, a curved letterform etc... My hypothesis is that if we can eliminate some of the unnecessary positive and negative space between letters, we can facilitate a more comfortable reading experience. I was wondering if people had any insight? resources that I might consider looking into? Or any examples where this has already been done.


A flipper font as body text to simulate handwriting.


EDIT: because there is not a lot of information about how to create a flipper font, below is a step-to-step guide for FontLab. I hope people with no background knowledge, and with the same questions as me can find some answers. My original message and questions about a flipper font are shown below.

A flipper font is a font that has multiple variations of every character. These variations are alternately called upon to bring more variations inside the font. Example:

this is the default behaviour, on the keyboard the ‘n’ is ticked, and the same 'n' is used again and again.

Body text as a flipper font to simulate handwriting.


The context of this question is one of my experiments
to create a good legible font (NOT such a comic font) that is very readable on little formats.
To simulate a sense of handwriting, it has to be a flipper font.
I want to look if it is possible to combine, and how far it is possible to go with.

I thought I was smart enough to figure out how it had to be done in FontLab
but thanks to my limited knowledge of the English language, I'm not.
Also I have only a limited knowledge of FontLab, my previous fonts were without programming Python.
(I actually know FontLab only one year now, and on school the specialization Typography is in its childhood,
not a lot of people know FontLab in detail)

Most readable font for PDF e-book?

I am setting an e-book using InDesign that will be distributed online. The target audience is people who are about to undergo eye surgery (retinal surgery, cataracts, etc.).

I'm trying to decide which fonts might be have the best readability for this audience. I would appreciate any suggestions.

I am considering Leitura News and Leitura Sans. Both come in four weights, and the the no. 2 weight of each is somewhere between a regular roman and a semibold, which strikes me as ideal, bigger than the usual body text, but not screamingly big.

I also am considering Warnock Pro, but it is a bit delicate looking for my purposes.

Any suggestions from you experts?

Type readability and empirical testing


Hello everyone,
I am an amateur typographist, enthusiastical but not very experienced. I'm pleased to find this forum, in hope I may learn a little.

I have an hypothesis about word readability I have been developing, and putting into practice creating a variant of a standard typeface. I am almost done with that. But before I go into details and publish either the modified type or my assumptions, I'd like to empirically test them!

Font advice for iPhone (instead of Helvetica/Helvetica Neue)


The iPhone OS uses Helvetica/Helvetica Neue (depending on the phone model and its screen resolution).

While most tech blogs praise the decision, I can only remember negative comments from type setters regarding Helvetica's readability in print, compared to Akzidenz Grotesk or other relatives, because the letters look so much alike. This feature was usually regarded as suitable for logos, not for continuous text. Does it work better for longer texts on screen than in print?

Is there a font that would be more suitable for either one of the two iPhone screens than Helvetica/Helvetica Neue? Maybe just for smaller text (10-12 pixel height on an older iPhone screen)? Has anyone experimented with readability on the devices?

Thanks for your opinion and avice!

Looking for a serif with reading a's and g's

I'm brand new here and something of an ingenue at this whole typography game, but it's something I'm interested in and looking to learn about. To that end, I'd like some help from you.

I need to get my hands on a nice serif – a fairly traditional one preferably – with 'reading' a's and g's. This is intended for body text in a novel-style text, so shouldn't really be so markedly different in any other way from what you might normally find. A lot of nice serif fonts have suitable italics, but the Roman or book styles have the arc overhead (although I don't know what that's called).

Thanks for your time.

Please recommend typefaces/fonts for branding and communication

I'd like some of your expert guidance on selecting fonts to use in branding. The company is an eLearning producer and has been using Verdana for 100% of everything. Visually, I'm more relaxed when reading Calibri - as it's not as wide as Verdana. But I'm not sure that a switch to Calibri will mean anything to anyone else.

How do you recommend we go about selecting (and justifying) a new standard set of fonts for our marketing and corporate communication?

Thanks in advance for your insights.