THE NON-DESIGNER'S TYPE BOOK
Display vs. text
It is easy to see the differences in the two faces below. Both are the type¬
face Minion, but the word on the left is set with Minion Regular; the word
on the right is set with Minion Display Regular. The instant impression,
even if a person is typographically illiterate, is that the display face is finer
and more elegant, less chunky and clunky. That's because the letterforms
and spacing attributes in the display face have been designed specifically
for larger type sizes — they have not been simply enlarged.
Д Minion Regular -A. Minion Display Reg
Minion Display Regular
Minion Regular (small
caps created by computer)
Minion Display Italic
Minion Expert Display
(small caps font)
Take notice of exactly what makes these faces different, which details
create the more elegant look of the display face. Look carefully at the serifs,
the thick/thin contrasts in the strokes, the places where the parts of the
characters join together, the letter spacing, the crispness of the terminals.
Which would you choose to use in a billboard or large poster?
13: DISPLAY TYPE
Display type and body text
If you have a display face, don't use it in body text! If the computer takes a
display face and reduces it, those delicate thins and serifs will be so weak in
the smaller size that they'll fall apart when it prints. Remember, if the face
was designed at 36-point and you print it at 9, the computer will just
reduce everything in the entire face to a quarter of the original. Even if it
prints well because you use a high-quality press, it will be less readable than
the regular font at the smaller size.
Below is Caslon Regular from Adobe Systems set at 65-point.
It's not really meant for large sizes.
But Caslon Reeular is meant for body text. It JL W
holds up quite well at this size you are reading
right now. Even at 9-point, the strokes are even
and full, and the proportions are ideally suited
for readable text.
Below is Big Caslon, a display face designed by Matthew Carter, set at
65-point. Although the features of this typeface are more delicately designed
than the regular Caslon face, the Big Caslon presents a stronger presence on
the page at the larger size.
But Big Caslon, the display face, is not readable or
graeefiil at this small size you are reading right now.
The proportion of the x-height is too large, the thins
are too thin, the letter spacing is too tight, the delicate
features are lost or wimpy.