It would be a mistake for the designer or typographer to rely on what is on the screen when designing for print, especially when minute adjustments and attention to detail are so important. Proofs should be printed to ensure the final outcome is as intended as the screen cannot promise to display the correct colour resolution, character shape and spacing that is intended by the designer Gordon 2001. Upon mentioning colour it is also important to discuss how it affects legibility and readability when combined with type. It is a common belief that the most legible color combination for typography is black type on a white background. Although, this theory may stand to be true evolving printing and digital screen technologies can now offer alternative combinations that can match, if not exceed legibility. The legibility of type can be drastically affected for the better or the worst when color is incorporated. Depending on the nature of the content the appropriate contrast between the type itself and the background it sits on is paramount Maxa 2015. Hue is another name for color as is tone Value represents how dark or light colour may be and saturation refers to how bright a color is.
Hue value and saturation are three properties all colors hold and should be carefully considered by designers when combining type with a color Albers 2009. An example of this would be orange and blue. They are complementary colors that are both very saturated and have a high hue contrast. Because both colors fight to grab the eye’s attention when combined with type vibrations between the two can happen to cause the eye to strain. If legibility is to be improved when using this color combination either the background or the type itself should be lightened or darkened in hue Maxa 2015. Analogous colors are those that appear close together on the color wheel. Although these colors can be fully saturated they can still work together as their values can contrast each other. Take blue and green, blue has a much lower in value than green meaning little to no adjustment is needed Albers 2009. The typeface itself should be taken into consideration when selecting a color as each typeface can have a number of peculiarities and quirks.
Characteristics such a fine stroke width or ultra-thin serifs can greatly hinder legibility when paired with an unconsidered color. In this circumstance, legibility can be improved by creating a higher value contrast Maxa 2015. The same principle applies to the types point size. A drastically different value and hue contrast is required for type at much smaller sizes. Albers 2009 Typographical color is an optical effect that is relevant in both digital and in print. It refers to how light or dark text can appear from certain attributes such as learning leading line length and typeface choice. When type is set in a block of text it can often appear darker and denser. Extra line spacing should be considered to help create some breathing room and reduce the value effect Maxa 2015. Even the worst designed typefaces can be drastically improved in the hands of someone with a strong knowledge of line length, type point size, and interline spacing. Harmonizing the bond between these variables can dramatically improve its legibility. In order for a reader to relax into a pleasing reading rhythm it vital that line lengths are of an acceptable span.
When reading longer lines it can be increasingly difficult to locate the next line and shorter lines can result in the reader having to adjust their eye to often. Both outcomes can help strain the reader’s eyes at an accelerated rate of Maxa 2015. Since people commonly read from twelve to fourteen inches away research suggests that the optimal size type should be is between nine to twelve points Maxa 2015. When type is set too large or too small reading can become exceedingly demanding. A large typeset over twelve points tend to be broken down and read in sections instead of as a whole. Fixation pause can also occur with larger type which is when the readers eye stalls on a line of text. Visibility is greatly reduced when the type is set smaller than nine-point affecting word recognition by abolishing internal patterns created by counterforms Maxa 2015. The alphabet has been slowly evolving for centuries to become what we know today. The need for communication has developed and molded each individual shape of the twenty-six letters. As the alphabet has evolved it has become a flexible system of signs in which all letters are distinct yet all work together harmoniously as visible language Maxa 215. We do not read letters by letter but by words and groups, this is because we follow two rules with the reading process. The first is the patterns we find inside of words created by counterforms and the second is the characteristic shape of the word itself. Both of these create visual cues for word recognition.