Easily readable, small font?

Posted by: trey

Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 01:53 PM

So, I'm in the last class I have to take before I graduate , and the final's tomorrow. The professor is letting us take a "cheat sheet" into the exam because there are a million SCOTUS cases to know (it's media law), but, of course, we've got a limit on the size of the thing. So I'm wondering if any of you guys can point me to a font which might be more easily readable at a really small size. And which might lend itself to something like this (i.e. really tight kerning and leading).<br><br>I've got all the cases in, and it rather fills up a letter size sheet, and I still need a good bit more stuff. This whole post is really just me taking a little internet study break. I've had so much coffee that I feel like I could run to the moon and back. <br><br>
Posted by: Lea

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 02:26 PM

Arial, but I wouldn't try it any smaller than 8 pt. Even 8 is a scary thought since you've got all your info jammed on one page. <br><br>Good luck tomorrow.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>[color:white]xx</font color=white>[color:blue]I always deserve it. Really.</font color=blue><br><br>
Posted by: keymaker

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 02:38 PM

Verdana.<br><br>km<br><br>
Posted by: MacBozo

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 02:55 PM

I was thinking Courier or Monaco, but Arial is a good choice too. I wonder which WP he's using. The only one that I have that lets me go to less than 6 points is NisusWriter Pro. Neo Office bottoms out at 6 points and TextEdit and Pages stop at 9. I don't have Office or Word.<br><br>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 02:58 PM

Break a leg, Trey!<br><br>[color:red]&#63743;</font color=red> [color:orange]&#63743;</font color=orange> [color:yellow]&#63743;</font color=yellow> [color:green]&#63743;</font color=green> [color:blue]&#63743;</font color=blue> [color:purple]&#63743;</font color=purple>
Posted by: trey

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 03:08 PM

I'm actually going to use InDesign to lay the thing out, and it looks like I'd actually be fine with TNR at 6pt, but I'll try some others out, 'cause I'm going to be delirious come 9:00 am. <br><br>
Posted by: trey

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 03:11 PM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>Break a leg, Trey!<p><hr></blockquote><p>After reading enough of these, I'd rather stab out my eyes. There are about thirty more to know for the final*.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>*Granted, we don't actually have to read each one in its entirety, but still... <br><br>
Posted by: Lea

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 03:13 PM

NeoOffice ~ We don't need no steekin' Office or Word. <br><br>(I do donate from time to time.)<br><br><br><br><br><br>[color:white]xx</font color=white>[color:blue]I always deserve it. Really.</font color=blue><br><br>
Posted by: MrB

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 04:11 PM

There was a font I had once called Techton or something like that. Was very nice and small. Not sure of the spielling<br><br>dave<br><br><br><br>
Posted by: Phosphor

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 04:13 PM

Try out some of the fonts at the following link. Never printed any, but they sure can cram a lot on screen at one time.<br><br>http://websitetips.com/fonts/pixel/#pixelfonts<br>http://www.dafont.com/bitmap.php<br><br>Understand that pixelfonts are meant to be used ONLY at the size they are designed for (or at whole integer multiples), and with NO antialiasing applied.<br><br>"This is not here."
Posted by: garyW

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 04:25 PM

Dense but legible page setting, small point size:<br><br>Here's (pdf) Franklin Gothic Condensed 7.8/9 and 7.4/9 set in 4 columns. That'll pack a lot of info on a page.<br><br>Even better, Bell Centennial (Subcaption) shown here set 6.7/7 (pdf), this is the font commonly used in the newspapers' stock listings because it works well at 5pt.<br><br>
Posted by: newkojak

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 04:27 PM

Helvetica is pretty much the most readable font ever. I'd give a small bold version a try. Using a condensed font is probably going to make it too hard to read. Remember that the white space between the letters and parts of the letters is part of what makes them readable.<br><br>-- Cee Bee Double-U
Posted by: iBookmaster

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 04:52 PM

I vote with you Kojak. Helvetica is the old all time favorite for me. <br><br>Too many lives they've spent across the ocean. Too much money been spent upon the moon. Well, until they make it right, I hope they never sleep at night. They better make some changes and do it soon. -Things Goin' On/Lynyrd Skynyrd
Posted by: Clark

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 07:26 PM

<br><br>
Posted by: John_Lasruk

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 08:34 PM

Times Roman, as pedestrian as it is, was designed as a newspaper font, the idea being to pack a lot of information in as little space possible (saving money on paper) while maintaining legibility. To that end, Times Roman (NOT anything with "new" in the name!) has a fairly large x-height, is somewhat compressed and, being a Roman (serif) face, is more legible than sans serif faces like Helvetica, especially at small sizes. As a matter of fact, it is at its best being used at 7-8 points.<br><br>Even though you might be tempted to set your text solid to jam as much info into as little space as is possible, a couple of extra points of space will be appreciated by weary readers 8/10 or even 7/9 is a good choice. When type gets small, lines get long, I would consider using two or three columns of type to keep long lines from messing up legibility.<br><br>Laz, OFI[/i][color:green]<br>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho </font color=green>
Posted by: trey

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 08:57 PM

Well, this is what I wound up with. It wasn't quite as much information as I had thought, so it won't be a really big deal to read. Times wound up being the font of choice (good point, John).<br><br>Now I just have to wait 'till the caffiene wears off so I can go to sleep. <br><br>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 09:32 PM

That's what I call a packed court. FDR would be proud of you!<br><br>[color:red]&#63743;</font color=red> [color:orange]&#63743;</font color=orange> [color:yellow]&#63743;</font color=yellow> [color:green]&#63743;</font color=green> [color:blue]&#63743;</font color=blue> [color:purple]&#63743;</font color=purple>
Posted by: trey

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 10:45 PM

That was actually one of the first topics we studied in this class. <br><br>
Posted by: MrB

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 11:05 PM

When I taught high school math, I would ocasionally let my students bring in a sheet of notes. Most of the time I would tell them that then spring on them that the sheet would be one inch by one inch, one or both sides. This would make my kids scream but there was mindness in my madness. If I made it restricted in size then the students would have to be particular in what they wrote down. In choosing those notes they would study harder. <br><br>I do remember one time when I let them bring in one sheet of notes and told them it could be any size but only on one side. One student xeroxed the whole chapter and taped the pages together to make sheet something like 3 feet by 4 feet. Like our old mosaics. He had so much fun making it. He was one of my best students and didn't use the sheet much but had fun.<br><br>I also recall way back in the early days of calculaters, when they were just simple scientific types, maybe in the mid early 80's. One of my students asked his history teacher if he could bring in a calculator for the test. The history teacher didn't know what he was letting himself in for when he said yeas. He just laughed. Well, my student had one of the rare, at that time, TI calcs that had a plug in memory module. He put a lot of his notes on it. <br><br>He told me after the fact. <br><br><br><br>dave<br><br><br><br>
Posted by: trey

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 11:34 PM

Yeah, that was my professor's point... making the sheet really drills the stuff in (and this is a tough class to swallow in summer school). I do feel really well prepared now to take the test just from what I know, but I think I'll take the sheet along with me anyway. <br><br>
Posted by: soulotomy

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/01/08 11:48 PM

Yeah, what John said. If it's for print, use a newspaper font. They used to pay typographic designers gazillions for fonts with great legibility at extremely small sizes, to pack in more text per page with decent legibility.<br><br>If it's for monitor resolution, go with Verdana or Arial.<br><br>Ed<br><br>[color:purple]Information isn't a connection - It doesn't stir people</font color=purple><br>
Posted by: soulotomy

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 12:01 AM

Oh yeah, that's right (from the old Swiss Movement and Bauhasian studies): Ragged right for quick next line pickup visual cues, and optimal line lenth = (oops, I forget, I think it was something like 39 character length, including spaces, which does sound quite short, but consider newspaper columnar character lenths?).<br><br>Of course, brilliance neuters rules, such as Lincoln's quaint and verbose Gettyburg Address, which any sane writer would boil down to a few sentences .<br><br>Ed<br><br>[color:purple]Information isn't a connection - It doesn't stir people</font color=purple><br>
Posted by: keymaker

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 12:29 AM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>They used to pay typographic designers gazillions for fonts with great legibility at extremely small sizes...<p><hr></blockquote><p>I wouldn't recommend Times in the specified conditions... when space is limited and smaller sizes are required a condensed sans serif font would have been a better option because the letter shapes are simpler and in general they are known to be more legible than serifed fonts especially at anything less than 8 points.<br><br>km<br><br>
Posted by: John_Lasruk

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 04:52 AM

Not that I want to start anything here, but in general, Roman faces are more legible than sans serif. It might seem anti-intuitive, but all that extra detail provides the reader with extra clues to identify words by their shapes, since we don't actually read words letter-by-letter. I stand by my earlier comments.<br><br>Specifically, most condensed sans serif fonts are actually harder than average to read. Try to read a line of Futura Condensed at 7 points. Whoa!<br><br>Laz, OFI[/i][color:green]<br>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho </font color=green>
Posted by: Jim_

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 05:07 AM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>Not that I want to start anything here, but in general, Roman faces are more legible than sans serif....all that extra detail provides the reader with extra clues to identify words by their shapes<p><hr></blockquote><p>I agree. One thing I've learned after 25 years in the printing industry is it's common knowledge that serif fonts are easier to read.<br><br>------>#1 - JD's Trivia game<br><br>------>#2 - MM-MCF Trivia game
Posted by: Mississauga

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 08:26 AM

"... Roman faces are more legible..."<br><br>... but Greeks girls are prettier! <br><br>- alec -
Posted by: padmavyuha

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 08:36 AM

Ay - the purpose of the serifs on a serif font is to lead the eye along the line, which makes it easier to stay with the meaning of the text when the print is small - I certainly find it harder work reading small-size sans-serif, or anything else involving two s-words with a hyphen, for that matter. My all-time fave is Palatino - I've actually always found Time New/2nd Hand Roman quite hard to read.<br><br>- padmavyuha<br><br>[color:purple]A lopsided man runs best along the little side-hills of success<br>- Frank Moore Colby</font color=purple>
Posted by: John_Lasruk

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 08:55 AM

I agree. Palatino IS a very attractive face. Although it is an old-style font, based on medieval calligraphy, it was designed fairly recently (1950's, I think) by Hermann Zapf, famed typographer. Unfortunately, due to its being included with the basic "free" Postscript fonts, it became overused, or at least used in the wrong places. (The same can be said of Times, Helvetica and Bookman.)<br><br>Laz, OFI[/i][color:green]<br>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho </font color=green>
Posted by: Clark

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 09:04 AM

Here is a list of some of my favorite fonts.<br>Palatino is my favorite for writing letters.<br>Arial is my favorite web site font.<br>John Lasruk and Soulotomy say that you can't go wrong with newspaper fonts.<br>The top ten most used newspaper fonts are Poynter, Franklin Gothic, Helvetica, Utopia, Times, Nimrod, Century Old Style, Interstate, Bureau Grotesque, and Miller.<br>My list includes Helvetica, Century Old Style, and Times Roman.<br><br><br><br>
Posted by: yoyo52

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 09:09 AM

I continue to be astonished that no one has even mentioned Comic Sans in all this. Honestly!<br><br><br><br>[color:red]&#63743;</font color=red> [color:orange]&#63743;</font color=orange> [color:yellow]&#63743;</font color=yellow> [color:green]&#63743;</font color=green> [color:blue]&#63743;</font color=blue> [color:purple]&#63743;</font color=purple>
Posted by: Clark

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 09:12 AM

You are right. That is easily number one. My bad!<br><br><br>
Posted by: keymaker

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 12:48 PM

<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>one thing I've learned after 25 years in the printing industry is it's common knowledge that serif fonts are easier to read<p><hr></blockquote><p>Not according to this bloke they're not... depends on the conditions...<br><br>km<br><br>
Posted by: Lea

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 12:53 PM

So, if you followed all the advice and opinions here, I just have one question. When the hell did you find time to study? <br><br><br><br><br><br><br>[color:white]xx</font color=white>[color:blue]I always deserve it. Really.</font color=blue><br><br>
Posted by: carp

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 01:18 PM

What I find amazing is that I can ask Jaz what font is this like in town on a sign or something and she knows even the crappy PC fonts<br><br>
Posted by: padmavyuha

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 03:58 PM

That's an interesting article - what I get from his comment near the bottom is that sans serif works better than serif in very small point sizes if it's condensed, which has the same effect as the serifs in creating a clearer continuance of line for the eye to follow.<br><br>- padmavyuha<br><br>[color:purple]A lopsided man runs best along the little side-hills of success<br>- Frank Moore Colby</font color=purple>
Posted by: garyW

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/02/08 05:50 PM

Did you look at the sample PDF I posted of 6.7pt Bell Centennial ... that's exactly the reason. It's a sans condensed with a very low x height. I copied all the text from Trey's 2-page sample and it fit onto a single page that was completely useful. Each letter is designed with an ink trap to keep the letters crisp at small sizes.<br><br><br><br>I've used this on many layouts where "fine print" -- such as disclaimers on a real estate ad -- need to be legible but unobtrusive in the page design.Here's a good article on the design of the typeface: http://www.nicksherman.com/articles/bellCentennial.html<br><br><br>One important fact to consider is the capabilities of your inkjet or laser output. Laser is going to be much better at small sizes.<br><br>
Posted by: soulotomy

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/03/08 10:05 AM

Yeah, that's a good point. Most of the newspaper fonts were hotprint.<br><br>Ed<br><br>[color:purple]Information isn't a connection - It doesn't stir people</font color=purple><br>
Posted by: John_Lasruk

Re: Easily readable, small font? - 08/03/08 05:49 PM

Most properly designed fonts are hinted for better legibility at small sizes. I am currently working on a book for a friend which has 7 point Garamond captions perfectly legible on an inkjet print, and I could slide down another point if I wanted to (but who wants to play that kind of game for its own sake?)<br><br>Laz, OFI[/i][color:green]<br>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho </font color=green>