Unsurprisingly, we find the familiar formats and fonts of our childhood books the easiest to read as adults. So why, do so many corporate publications opt for unfamiliar formats and fonts?

The answer, of course, is ‘stand out from the crowd’. However, corporate publishers need to balance the advantages of looking different against the disadvantages of making their messages harder to read.

Children learn from books with black type on white background, with few Capital letters, and text set full out across the page, sometimes set left.

Despite the growing popularity of sans typefaces, such as Arial, nearly all paid-for publications show text in serif typefaces, such as Times New Roman. The reason for this is straightforward - the vast majority of us have learned to read from books set in serif.

Our eyes simply haven’t been trained to read sans, white text out of a coloured background or CAPITALS. Of course we can read these fonts and formats, but it’s harder and takes longer.

Sans boasts some stylish typefaces that add real character to a corporate publication. Intelligent use of white text out of a coloured background can also be eye-catching but it’s better deployed for short standouts than running copy, ditto CAPPED copy.

Standing out from the crowd is great, but make sure your publication strikes the right balance between innovation and readability…



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