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How To Match Type Size to Readership

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Choose the right type size for body text

Know your audience when choosing a type size.

The appropriate type size for a publication depends on many factors but there are some general type size guidelines to follow to insure readability for the main audience of your publication. These are not hard-and-fast rules. The more you know about your readership, the better type size choices you will make.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: As long as it takes to find the right type size for your publication

Here's How:

  1. Choose a font size that is easy to read.
    The younger and the older your target audience, the larger the type size should be for comfortable reading. Getting older doesn't necessarily mean poor eyesight for everyone; however, declining vision is a common side effect of aging.
  2. Use larger font sizes for most older audiences.
    For a predominantly older readership of 65 and over or for audiences with known visual handicaps, set body text in sizes from 14 to 18 points. Avoid tiny print.
  3. Use an 11 to 12 point type size for readers in the 40-65 age range.
  4. 10 to 11 points is a safe choice for most audiences.
    For most general audiences, body copy type size at 10 or 11 points is good. Start with this size when your target audience is unknown or covers a large range of adult readers.
  5. Use larger fonts for children.
    For young children or beginning readers of any age, a larger type size around 14 points is good.
  6. Use larger font sizes for headlines.
    Keep headlines between 14 and 30 points in most cases, keeping in mind that the closer in size to the body text, the harder it is to distinguish headlines from other text.

Tips:

  1. Know your audience.
    First and foremost, know your audience. Some groups might resent the automatic assumption that they can't see well enough to read "normal" type sizes of body text.
  2. Use incremental point sizes.
    Some software allows you to use incremental point type sizes such as 11.5. If 10 point type size seems too small and 11 point is too large, try a point type size in between.
  3. Actual and apparent size of fonts can vary greatly.
    Some fonts at 11 points appear visually larger than other fonts at the same type size. While 11 point type is generally a good text size, it may be too small or too large for your selected font. Experiment with other type sizes.
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