I started by having a look through some magazines and looking at the legibility of the text thinking about what typefaces were used, the column width, colour and the overall alignment. I selected some different examples and decided to try recreate a few which I thought were quite successful.
I started with a feature in I-on magazine which was very easy to read. The text was in a sans serif font called Verona with a two column layout and text justified to the left. The header was PF Din in bold. Each new paragraph is indented.
I didn’t have the exact fonts on my computer so substituted them for other sans serif fonts.
I experimented with different justifications of the text and font sizes and tried a serif font to see what effect that would have.
Example 1 trying to replicate original – I used substitute font Calibri in size 7. For the header I used Franklin Gothic Demi. I had to adjust some kerning and the letter height to try replicate the original but I think its not a bad match. I then justified the text and set the last paragraph in italics.
Example 2 – I kept all features the same as No1 but unjustified the text. I think it still looks pretty okay and fairly readable.
Example 3 – I changed to a serif font called Book Antiqua and set it a bit larger in size 8. I think it still seems fairly readable although perhaps a bit messier that the sans serif example for the relatively small amount of text.
Example 4 – Kept with the serif font but justified the text. Think this tidies up the serif example a bit and works better.
Example 5 – I changed the header to AC Big Serif which I think is pretty effective its clean and easy to read and is different enough from the sans serif font I use in the main body.
Example 6 – tried adjusting the tracking to which creates lots more space in the article and more white gaps which I think are a bit harder to read.
Example 7 – Selecting a totally inappropriate serif font called Birmingham which is very decorative but would make this article very difficult to read.
I changed the font again to Candara a smaller sans serif font which I think looks not too bad.
I then moved onto mocking up a page from Elle magazine. I found an interesting article on the redesign of Elle magazine to be more print/ digital minded http://magculture.com/blog/?p=16613. The page below has a variety of different fonts in varying colours to add interest, the page structure is quite loose etc . Personally, although the article describes the changes as being positive for Elle, in the small format which I bought the magazine (also available full size), I found certain pages too busy to read and it seemed a bit disjointed. Moving through the mag I did come across more articles which were a lot clearer such as the second example below which contains an article written by one of the magazine columnists .
The page is split into three columns in a serif font roughly size 7 I would say. I’m not entirely sure of the font but I think it might be something like a Baskerville or Footlight MT. The three column layout is fully justified and the opening header appears to be in the same font but a larger size with some words emphasised in bold.
Example 1 trying to replicate original left aligned , font used Minion Pro size 7. Kept header 1 in sans serif font, other lead in header is Minion Pro larger size.
Example 2 – Same font unjustified the text because theres only about six words per line this creates quite a lot of white space and gaps and doesn’t look as neat.
Example 3 – changed to a baskerville – size 7.5pt adjusted the leading. This is a bit small to read and doesn’t sit that easy on the eye.
Example 4 – I kept the same settings as Example 3 but increased the leading which I think makes it read a bit like a story or dissertation/journal article where someone would have to annotate the work!
Example 5 – Changed to a sans serif font – Arial size 7.5 , leading size 9 . Doesn’t sit as easy on the eye and isn’t as attractive to read which might be especially important in a fashion magazine.
Example 6 – Changed to Footlight MT in size 7 another serif font which I think is pretty readable – justified the text.
Example 7 – Bigger Footlight MT – size 10 . Creates a lot of gaps/ rivers for this small magazine format.
Example 8 – Footlight size 10 again but this time leading size 14 – again too many white spaces between words and between the lines.
Overall I enjoyed this exercise. It really made me aware of the difference some simple changes in font, leading, size and alignment can make to an article and that there are a lot of important decisions and variations which can be appropriate depending on the purpose. I found that in some instances a number of examples were appropriate but in reality it would be a case of setting the text perhaps according to other articles in the same magazine and carefully considering the overall feel of the magazine/ article. I also think that the selection of typeface depends on what else is going on visually on the page and how typefaces work together with other type, pictures and visual elements on the page. I particularly liked the Ion magazine pages as they were really easy to read despite the body text being in a sans serif font. This probably is successful due to the small format of the magazine. It appeared clean and modern and the letters appeared quite tall and elegant.
I’ve included some other clippings from articles in my scrap book which I’m using to collect examples of things I like and supplements my online learning log.