correct size for body copy

offonoff's picture

I have been putting together annual reports, magazines and multi-page docs for a long time. I have always been mindful of my audience, length of text, etc. and now have a client that simply insists that the text be at least 12 point. No matter what font. Typically, I have chosen serif fonts with large x-heights (for this particular project, Usherwood) to reduce the size to at least 11 pt and sometimes 10, just to get the enormous amount of text to fit in a reasonable number of pages. Long story just slightly shorter, what are your thoughts? And, are there recent articles about this topic readily available? I have a feeling that if I can present hard evidence to the fact that smaller than 12 pt is acceptable, I might be able to sway her. Audience is alumni and donors of a business college. Age is recent grads to 30-year-out grads. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

Termopolium's picture

Well, chose a font with a small x-height, obviously.

Or set the publication in various font sizes and show it to the client (make a test page). Chances are she'll appreciate just how big 12 pt is when she sees it in print. Tell her about how you can use more white space for readability, how lines will break better and how there'll be more space for good articles if the point size is reduced. Show her other publications and tell her the point size they're using.

offonoff's picture

Thank you. I have actually already done most of that. I am in process of gathering publications similar to hers with effective use of 11 and 10 point type. Plus, I'm digging out all my old type books with entries about body text. Sometimes it's just a little frustrating when professional experience and knowledge of said subject matter isn't enough for people.

pattyfab's picture

I generally don't discuss point size with clients - just show them what I think works and revise it to suit their problems with it. My advice is to design it in a way that you think is proportionate and readable, regardless of actual point size, and if she's ok with it great. If she says the type is too small you might have to enlarge it.

I have a client who won't tolerate justified type, another one who hates green. I feel your pain. But it can be a waste of time to try to 'educate' them. They just get prickly.

Kristina Drake's picture

Me too, I feel your pain. I keep getting told that our publications will be read by the prospective students' parents more than by the young'ns themselves...

My co-worker wants increased type size, but won't yield on the page length, and we can't cut content.... So we have too little leading with a larger type size. Bah.


oldnick's picture

I know I have said this a zillion times in various threads hereabouts, BUT Poppl Laudatio is VERY readable, even at small sizes.

hrant's picture

Choose the font you want, bring it into FontLab, and increase the talus. :->

> Poppl Laudatio is VERY readable, even at small sizes.

Laudatio can be very readable only at small sizes; it is highly legible at any size.

I've relied on it heavily for screen work, where its hybrid qualities
of lo-fi brilliance and large-size visual interest seem to really click.


rs_donsata's picture

Show your client some magazines, books and reports with the usual type size, and them show him 13 pt type. Also explain him that point sizes have no direct relation with type sizes, bring two printed examples of same point size but different body size.


offonoff's picture

Thanks to all for your kind input. This is the fourth year I've worked on this particular piece with this office and I'm sure we'll have a couple of go-arounds. Ultimately, she is the client and (agreeing with Pattyfab) educating her has not been entirely successful. The whole project usually just ends up with me hating the darn piece because of that rediculously large text - imagining how I might sway her next time.

And, just because everyone has been so kind and helpful, I'll update you on the final decision for this year. Will it be 11 or 12 pt? Tune in next month to find out!

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