Point Size and Leading Comparison

Bauer Bodoni, Helvetica Bold, and Adobe Garamond Pro

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Bauer Bodoni Regular

This text is set in 10/12 point and the headline in 24 point Bauer Bodoni Regular. Because the typeface has a small x–height (the height of lowercase letters in relation to capital letters) and beacause the thick and thins in the stroke of the letters, its visual impression is one of delicate text surrounded by generous white space. Therefore, it requires less additional space between lines of type for comfortable reading than ther Helvetica Bold setting to the pragraph to the right.

Helvetica Bold

This text is set in 10/12 point and the headline is set in 24 point Helvetica Bold. Because the typeface has a large x–height and because of its bold strokes in relation to the enclosed white space, its visual impression is one of sturdy text surrounded by little white space. Helvetica, therefore, requires more additional space between lines of type for comfortable reading than the Buaer Bodoni Regular setting in the paragraph to the left.

When the linespacing is increased and the point size is reduced, as in this 9/13 point paragraph, the legibility of the typeface for reading large amounts of text improves. And because Helvetica has a large x–height, it can be set at sizes smaller than Bodoni and be equally readable. For these reasons, it is difficult to use a single set of rules for the legibility of type.

Adobe Garamond Pro

This text is set in 10/12 point and the headline in 24 point Adobe Garamond Pro. Because the typeface has a smaller x–height than both Bauer Bodoni Regular and Helvetica Bold. Because the thick and thin angled strokes of the letters, its visual impression is one of delicate text surrounded by generous white space. Therefore, it too requires less additional space between lines of type for comfortable reading than the Buaer Bodoni and Helvetica Bold paragraphs to the left.

When the linespacing is increased and the point size is reduced, as in this 9/13 point paragraph, the legibility of the typeface for reading large amounts of text becomes strained. Additional designs, unique to the Garamond type letterforms, allow for its familar and even color when set in a paragraph.

When the linespacing is further increased and the point size is reduced again, as in this 8/14 point paragraph, the legibility of the typeface for reading large amounts of text visually feels light and airy. The diminished point size and open line spacing is fragile and delicate, therfore, setting large amounts of text would strain the readers eyes, ultimately comprimising legibility and reducing its readability. For this reason it is unwise to use such a delicate serif typeface for online usage.

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Type Samples—
Each Headline isset at 24 point and first paragraph body copy at 12 point. Because the serif Bodoni has a much smaller x-height (the height of the lowercase letters) in comparison to the general proportions of the sans-serif Helvetica, it requires less additional vertical space between lines of text to make it legible. It is wise to compare several typefaces, noticing the visual effects both size and leading have on the look and feel of set text. 
Helvetica Regular 7/9

Type sample and visual study have been taken from Graphic Design Theory by Meridith Davis

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