Spartan typography

Subject: Spartan typography
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 08:24:43 -0600

Beth Agnew remarked <<The manual I reviewed yesterday had
11 type styles on one 9 x 6" page! And this HELPS the user?
I think not.>>

On the "face" of it (sorry), I'd tend to agree, but I'd
want to see the specific example before condemning it out
of hand. As I noted earlier, the design can still be
effective despite the use of many fonts. OTOH:

<<I've stopped doing it. The "Conventions Used in this
Manual" section of our user guides is GONE. Instead, I use
more white space (leading and indentation). I still use a
sans serif type face for headings, and a serif type face
for body text. Italics and bold are used *sparingly* for
emphasis. I use rules (that's "lines" for the
typographically-challenged), callouts and boxes where

Bravo! I dub thee "information designer laureate"! No, I'm
not being snide or patronizing... Without having seen the
specific implementation, I think you've got the design
principles exactly right, and you should put together a
"before and after" article for something like _Technical
Communication_ or (more probably) _Intercom_ to show the
design principles and how you applied them. Pat yourself on
the back in the meantime, in the absence of grateful
readers who are present to do it for you.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC., or

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