Legibility of Text on Wall Charts

Designing Information Material 4(1+3)

Lesson 5: Tools in Information Design Text

Legibility of Text on Wall Charts

A wall chart must have good legibility. The information designer should:

  • Set text bold and large enough adjusted to the reading distance.
  • Use lower case letters and avoid all-capital printing for running text.
  • Restrict the number of typefaces/fonts.

Posters and wall charts shall be read from some distance. Therefore text should be large and bold enough. Too small or too large lettering will impair reading. The text on a poster or a wall chart may often have to be ten times larger in size than a text in a book or on a print out. Text should be set in lower case letters, because all-capital printing reduces the speed of reading. Since the texts on posters and wall charts should be short it may be a good idea to use a sans serif typeface like Arial or Helvetica. If so the running text will need some extra space between the lines.

Legibility of Text on Screens

The information designer should:

  • Use typefaces designed for screen display.
  • Use black text on a white or yellow background.
  • Avoid the use of all capital letters.

The quality of visual displays is important for our perception. Colour as well as blank space are essentially free and might be used to increase legibility. The most important consideration when working with typography and colour for computer screens is to achieve an appropriate contrast between text and its background. It has long been considered that black type on a white background is the most legible (combination). For maximum legibility on a computer screen double spaces should be used between lines in a continuous text. Blinking and flashing text can be used as an accenting.

Legibility of Projected Texts

In verbal presentations, many of the overhead transparencies, slides, filmstrips, and projected computer presentations consist mainly, or sometimes only of text. Here lettering must be considered carefully in order to guarantee good legibility for all listeners. In preparing the material the information designer should:

  • Use no more than six rows of six words in each image, set in a linear Typeface, with characters large and bold enough.
  • Maintain a good contrast between foreground and background.
  • Avoid graduated and tonal background fills.
Last modified: Saturday, 28 April 2012, 5:46 AM