Font size – is there a right size?

Someone asked me recently if there is a right font size to use for text. The right font size depends on the purpose and audience for a document. Arial or Times New Roman in 11 point is a good starting point for a clear, easy to read report. But 11 point won’t be right for everything.

A business card can use a small font size such as 8 or 9 point for some details, but a name badge the same size needs a larger font size to stand out. A letter or report may use a larger font size such as 11 or 12 point, while an eye-catching brochure or leaflet may use an even larger font size for text such as 14 or 18 point.

The choice of font size depends on the overall spacing and layout of the document such as

  • the page margins
  • the length of lines
  • the space between lines
  • the space between paragraphs
  • the size of headings
  • the choice of font.

All these elements affect the look and readability of your page. There are some guides about the preferred number of words or characters per line, but experiment to find what works best for your document and audience. You can adjust the font size for formatting purposes – to fit all the text on one page or to stretch it out to fill a page.

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