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Devout readers will recall my numerous bug reports about Typophile. Quite a few of them argued that Typophile should do what is known to work and not do what is known not to work. A great deal of knowledge about what works comes from MetaFilter, the community Weblog that is the model for such things. It’s more of a success than any remotely comparable site – 11 years old, 70,000 active users, a million pageviews a day; profitable; employs four people in tech development and moderation; moderated 24/7; includes the most important feature of all, MetaTalk, a forum to discuss MetaFilter itself.
In his book The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst sets forth what he considers to the be the ideal for setting text. He states:
- 45 to 75 characters line length (measure); specifically 66 including spaces; Single Column
- 40 to 50 characters; multi-column
- 85 to 90 characters; discontinuous text; generous leading
- 40 characters (minimum); justified
- 12 to 15 characters; marginal notes; English
He also discusses the ideal page to great detail on pp. 171–176.
I'm hoping to find other authors who've written down their ideals. What have you found as you've read? Would you share your findings? Even just the books and page numbers would be helpful.