Milo Ivir wrote:
> 1. readability applies for *text* in conjunction with
> a certain typeface, its size, leading and all the other
> typographic elements
> 2. legibility applies to a *typeface*
Sean Cavanaugh wrote:
> As for 'readability', I would say the term applies to
> typography while 'legibility' applies to type design.
The above is good terminology: it makes sense and it's
robust. It's much better than what most people manage,
which is just to mix the two terms up almost randomly.
HOWEVER, where I see room for improvement is at a
lower level: how typefaces work.
I agree that "readability" (as defined above) is a useful
*typographic* term. But I think there's a necessity for a
different cast on things at the typeface level. The reason
is that different typefaces are easier to read in different
ways, in different conditions/uses. For example, a typeface
with a large x-height is easier to read at really small sizes.
But a typeface with a huge x-height is harder to read over the
length of a book. Why is that? How can we use a single term to
cover both phenomena? We can't.
So, I think we need to recognize the different
attributes of typefaces that make them useful
in different contexts. We can do that by using
the two terms, but splitting them, at the
Without such a scheme, if you wanted to say:
"since there isn't much text in this coffee-table
book, what if we used a typeface that was more legible
than Bembo?", you couldn't get your thought across
without spending the morning explaining yourself.