Suggestions for designing text
To make the text readable, the ideal column width is 55-65 characters including spaces. The tricks that can be used to improve readability, apart from having two or more columns, are:
• Increasing the font size
• Using wider margins to reduce column width
• Using a ragged right edge
Besides readability, margins affect the aesthetic value of the page/spread. A rule of thumb is that the footer, that is, the bottom margin, should be largest, about twice as large as the header, the top margin. For a thick book with perfect binding, the bundle margin (inside margin) has to be increased in order to make the text near the spine readable.
Character size and varieties
An appropriate font size in the body is 10-12 points. Opt for too large rather than too small fonts in order to make reading easier for persons with poor eyesight. We recommend 11 points for G5 and 12 points for A4. Footnotes are set in fonts 1-2 points smaller than the body and these also have closer line spacing. Text in tables and diagrams may be set in a smaller font size than the body, but this is often a matter of taste.
Italics fonts (italics versions of a font), rather than semi-bold/bold or underline, are often used where something is to be emphasized or highlighted. Italics are also common in diagram texts.
Bold fonts (semi-bold or bold versions of a font) are very noticeable, and the eye is easily drawn to them at the expense of the rest of the content. These are to be used sparingly, but are good, for example, in smaller-sized titles.
In Swedish, in order to make room for the Å, Ä and Ö, the line spacing in the body should be at least 20% larger than the height of the font. For font of 11 points, the line spacing should therefore be 14 points (abbreviated 11/14 pt), for 12 points, 15 points (12/15 pt). In English, an additional 10% for line spacing may be sufficient, for example, 10/11 pt. Footnotes and captions are usually set more tightly with closer line spacing than the body, such as 9/10, 10/11 or 10/12 pt for footnotes and 11/13 or 12/14 pt for captions.
Message and readability
If you are working with double-sided documents, you should look at a full spread at a time to obtain a nice result. Readers glance first over the whole spread and want somewhere at the top left to fix their eyes. Place a title or an illustration in that position. Try to remember to bring your story forward throughout the document. One means of doing this is by allowing the eye to always find the body on the spread, for example, by having at least one part of the body towards the bottom right to lead on to the next page.