Good science perhaps, but bad typography

Screenshot 2014-03-30 01.45.32

This has been circulating around in social media today, and I find it necessary to put things into perspective.

This may be good science, but it’s poor application of science to a typographic problem. This 14-year-old completely ignored type size, type anatomy, information hierarchy, layout, legibility, readability, aesthetics and a whole plethora of typographic considerations. He assumes that cost-saving and environmental sustainability as the only and most important criteria, without balancing them with other (perhaps less tangible or measurable) criteria related to usability or the readers’ subjective judgements concerning document design. Ecofont ( was an attempt to do the same. If saving ink is our only concern when creating and printing documents, then why not just use the most condensed and light weight typeface there is, and set it in as small a point size as possible, and eliminate any ‘unnecessary adornments’ such as reversed panels, shading, line rules, borders and most of all, images? Using a tight leading and eliminating white space would further save on paper cost. Oh yes, and bold type should be banned.

And, that version of Garamond (by Monotype and included as part of Microsoft Office) – is a typographic abomination in and of itself. Yes, it’s light weight, but it means that it needs to be set in a larger type size in order to be read as easily as, say, Times New Roman.

Having said that, the 14-year-old’s methodology and findings should be lauded, but please, leave the rest to the professionals. (I really hope that the US federal government does not take up on his preposterous recommendation.)

Categories information design, research, type design, typefaces, typography
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