Technical Editing & Production



Typgraphy analysis


Perform a detailed compariative analysis of the fonts that are assigned to you. Fonts with a DL will probably require you to download and install the font.

  Font 1 Font 2 Reviewer 1 Reviewer 2 Reviewer 3
old style serif Riven (DL) Garamond Forbes Hodefer Williams
  Palatino Bookman Old Style Cairnes Campbell  

Gentium (DL)

Forbes Haas  
modern serif Stone Serif (DL) Baskerville (DL) Holt Kennedy  
  Sabon (DL) Meridien (DL) Orme Sheldon  
sans serif Arimo (DL) Century Gothic Turner Watkins  
  Berlin Sans FB (DL) Frutiger (DL) Whitfield Wilcox  


Turn in

Email me your analysis of the fonts and post it to the discussion board. (as a Word document)

Kimball and Hawkins wrote, “Match the visual tone of the document you are designing with the rhetorical situation for which it’s intended.” The difficult part can be figuring out the visual tone of any specific typeface. Now you get to practice doing that.  Write up & post your analysis of how the two fonts compare. Assume you are having to select between them for the body text of a technical document.Some of the things to consider as part of your analysis:

As you may imagine, this will require more than a half page of text (probably more like 4-5 single spaced pages). Also, be sure to design your page for ease of reading and finding your points. Putting everything into paragraph format is not a good design.

Yes, each pair is quite similiar. Many of the analysis points must be a comparison (for example, both fonts may have the same visual tone, but you have to explain how one is slightly better/worse than the other for a technical document.) The goal here is for you to learn how to analyze fonts at a detailed level, rather than explain why Times Roman is better than Old English for a body font (duh!).


You probably wouldn’t choose to write your resume or cover letter in Chiller because you would want your potential employer to think of you as professional. Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri would be more fitting for a business-oriented document, such as a resume. However, Chiller would make a great font for a Halloween party invitation. Likewise, you wouldn’t design a wedding invitation in Goudy Stout. You would perhaps use a typeface that is script-like to set a visual tone that is elegant and formal, such as French Script. Interestinly, these are very common comparisons of fonts...something normal and something totally inappropriate.

However, in a business setting, you would not be choosing between Chiller and Arial. You would be debating two different sans serif fonts for the document headings. Or one of four serif fonts for the body text. Any of them would look ok, but the design team will be looking to you as the tech writer to give them guidance on making the actual choice. How do you do that? How do you decide on Times Roman versus Garamond versus Palatino?

You can't just say that you prefer Palatino because then you get into the "I like this one better" debate....and "looks good to me" design is a fast road to bad design. It also leads to the boss saying "I like X" and even when you know he is wrong, you are stuck because you can't logically explain a better choice.

Note that the report is 10% of the overall course grade.


Design by Michael J. Albers Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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