[pdftex] Re: General Command to Change FONTS

Ulrich Dirr ud at art-satz.de
Sat Jul 24 10:22:28 CEST 2004

Rolf Marvin Bøe Lindgren wrote:
> 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
> letters at once, guiding the reader and making reading faster and
> more accurate. 
> sans serif fonts are more readable.  the eye has to stop at each
> this is the reason why serif fonts are sometimes preferred in books
> children, the mentally challenged and in general poor readers who
> to read each letter separately before combining them into words.
> there is a reason why you hardly ever find journals or books typeset
> 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
> had one point - a page typeset in sans serif can look very pretty -
> sans serif reduces reading speed and general ease of reading, as
> the research has shown.  Tshcihold eventually changed his opinion
> used serif when he designed the layout for the Penguin series of
> 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.

This is really off-topic here. And your opinion is not apodictically

In a short postwar WWII period there were investigations -- where
there was a discussion about the useage of Antiqua vs Fraktur in
newspapers -- which showed the better readability of fraktur fonts.
Test readers could read fraktur faster and their subjective
impressions were that fraktur was much more readable.

And there're new studies which showed an equally good readability of
sans serif fonts. Other reasons like baselineskip or textwidth etc.
had much more influence on readability (and sans serif is not sans

Typography didn't finish with the appearance of Tschichold. I'm
wondering how his disciple often have this Wittgenstein-Tractatus

Best regards,
Ulrich Dirr

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