Research Point – Legibility and Readability

I collected a selection of newspapers, magazines and brochures and divided them into those that looked easy to read and those that didn’t. I then looked at the layout and typography of each example and made notes of what seemed to work well for enhancing legibility and readability.

A selection of examples I thought were easily readable

Features of these articles that make them immediately easy to read:

  • Good pairing of serif and san-serif fonts for body text and headings.
  • Very few widows and orphans in the body paragraphs.
  • Columns and headings are aligned with one another.
  • Larger font for headings and smaller font for body text.
  • There is good spacing between the paragraphs…. not too wide.
  • Good choice of font colour – black on white and white on block colour.
  • No use of hyphenation in the paragraphs.
  • There are no rivers in the lines of the body text.
  • The headings are in a bolder font.
  • The paragraphs are right aligned and the rag runs in and out from line to line in small increments.

A selection of examples I thought were less easy to read 



Features of these articles that make them more difficult to read:

  • The headings of the domestic violence leaflet are a light blue colour which is very difficult to read against the grey background.
  • The paragraphs in the local streetwise magazine are not aligned and the spacing between them is very large. There are also several widows.
  • The text on the Dorking Museum flyer is difficult to make our due to the colour of the title being similar to the background and the lines of the circles cutting through the text.
  • The typeface on the Oliver poster works better for the headings but is less legible at a smaller point in the main paragraph. The yellow colour for the text makes it less readable against the photo background.
  • The Dance Shack Poster isn’t too bad but I think that putting text over a faded background of text makes it less readable than if it was a background of solid colour.

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