Re[2]: Left justify and italics?

Subject: Re[2]: Left justify and italics?
From: Joyce Flaherty <flahertj -at- SMTPGW -dot- LIEBERT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 03:33:07 EST

Text item: Text_1

Geoff Hart (geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA) writes in his response to Marilyn
Barrett RE left just, columns, bold and italic font:

GH: 1. Left justification <snip>
Studies of typography tend to reveal that neither form of
justification has any significant advantage over the other when the
design is carried out competently (rather than left to the software's
defaults to execute).

JF: I recall that studies (scientific approach, controlled
environment) show left-justified enhances readability. This has to do
with giving the eye an anchor.

GH: 2. The number of columns is, by itself, a meaningless statistic.
What's important is line length. Typically, a line should be
approximately 2-3 "alphabets" wide... about 50-70 characters. Based on
the font size you've chosen, this may result in one, two or even three

JF: I recall that studies (scientific approach, controlled
environment) show maximum line length is 5 1/2" and is not related to
number of characters. This has to do with eye movement and scanning a
page from top to bottom, grasping a line at a time, with little or no
left-to-right movement.

GH: 3. I'd agree that "script" (and other ornamental) fonts are less
legible than boldface, but most italic cuttings of body text differ so
little from the roman version that I expect there is no significant
difference between the two in legibility. <snip>

JF: Ornamental fonts always retard reading. Therefore, if you choose
to use an ornamental font, have a reason. For example, Geoff writes:
italics "indicate a change in the role of the word."

JF: If we begin to think in terms of content rather than format
(SGML/HTML), the font decisions become less cumbersome. A string
tagged "variable" or "foreign" or "emphasis" lends itself to
translation and conversion more readily than a string tagged "bold" or
"italic" or "font-specific."

joyce flaherty
flaherty -at- liebert -dot- com

"All generalizations are false, including this one." source unknown

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