Legibility refers to the design of the typeface — the width of the strokes, whether or not it has serifs, the presence of novel type design elements, etc. It is easy to tell one letterform from another in a legible typeface.
- Choose typefaces with conventional letterforms
- Choose typefaces with generous spacing
- Choose typefaces with a tall x-height
How your typeface is set, combined with the basic legibility of the typeface, yields a certain level of readability. In most cases, communication comes before style—form follows function—so resolve readability first.
CHOOSE TYPEFACES DESIGNED FOR YOUR PURPOSE
Align text to “right ragged” for comfortable word spacing online to avoid “rivers.” Make sure the leading (the amount of space between lines of text) is greater than the point size of your typeface
Consider the design intent of the typeface. If a typeface was designed for signage, it probably isn’t going to work well set as the body copy of a book. For example, Bodoni Poster may work for certain headlines, but it was not designed to be used in paragraph form.
A FEW TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS
If your design is going to include a lot of numbers or ligatures, be sure to choose a typeface that has those things. It’s best to choose a typeface that is as complete as possible. Free fonts often don’t include these critical “extras.”
AVOID TRITE CORRELATIONS
- Don’t use Papyrus just because your topic is “ancient” in some way (Better yet, don’t use Papyrus at all)
- Don’t use Comic Sans just because your topic is humorous (Better yet, don’t use Comic Sans at all)
- Don’t use Lithos just because your topic is about Greek restaurants
- Don’t use Futura just because your topic deals with “the future”