[pdftex] Re: General Command to Change FONTS

Rolf Marvin Bøe Lindgren roffe at aqualene.uio.no
Sat Jul 24 09:34:38 CEST 2004

Herman Bruyninckx <Herman.Bruyninckx at mech.kuleuven.ac.be> writes:

> On Fri, 23 Jul 2004, Rolf Marvin Bøe Lindgren wrote:
> [...]
> > don't use sans serif for the main matter, it's bad typographic
> > practice.
> >
> Are their any rational arguments for this statement?

oh, much better - there are empirical arguments. 

serif fonts are more legible.  they make it easier to pick up several
letters at once, guiding the reader and making reading faster and more

sans serif fonts are more readable.  the eye has to stop at each letter.
this is the reason why serif fonts are sometimes preferred in books for
children, the mentally challenged and in general poor readers who need
to read each letter separately before combining them into words.

there is a reason why you hardly ever find journals or books typeset in
sans serif.  when sans serif is used, it is invariably either due to
lack of knowledge or in order to achieve some «effect.»

Jan Tschichold advocated the use of sans serif in the thirties, and he
had one point - a page typeset in sans serif can look very pretty - but
sans serif reduces reading speed and general ease of reading, as
the research has shown.  Tshcihold eventually changed his opinion and
used serif when he designed the layout for the Penguin series of books,
and the only typeface he cut was a serif. 

any textbook on typography will argue in favor of serif for main
matter in all but exceptional circumstances. 

Rolf Lindgren                                            http://www.roffe.com/
roffe at tag.uio.no

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