Legibility vs. Readability

Legibility: “related to the characteristics inherent in its design, including its x-height, character shapes, stroke contrast, the size of its counters, serifs or lack thereof, and weight- all of which relate to the ability to distinguish one letter from another.” In other words, it’s how the typographer designed the font.

Readability: “related to how you arrange the type. Factors affecting type’s readability include size, line spacing, line length, alignment, letter spacing, and word spacing.” In other words, it’s how the designer used the font.

Here is an example of poor legibility, but good readability because the typeface itself is hard to read. The designer gave plenty of space and negative space for the font. The typographer added flourishes and decoration that inherently makes this font hard to read. The first word is supposed to be Nicht, but you can’t distinguish the N or the h. Here is an example of poor readability and good legibility because the typeface itself is quite readable, but the way the designer put the poster together makes the type not readable.

Here is an example where the type is effectively both legible and readable because the typographer was successful and the design successfully used the font.

Here is an example of fonts that work well together- display and copy.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I love this blog. Actually I have been trying to make one like this as well, however I am not sure how to do it. What is this so-called web2.0 portal? Is it easy to learn? Do I have to be savvy in computers to set up a blog? I plan to create a blog for my learn english writing language website. Can it be meshed into a present website?


    • Posted by shelbysee on 22 February, 2011 at 11:51 am

      You can simple post different aspects of english that are important to learn. You could do something like a daily lesson for people to interact with. Good luck!


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