One Writer’s Journey

October 8, 2018

Font Choice and Readability

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 6:31 am
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A couple of weeks ago, I spent some time on Canva design tutorials.  One of the topics was font as in matching font to message and making things interesting but readable.

Imagine my surprise when my husband sent me an article he had spotted, “Sans Forgetica: The font scientists created to help you recall what you read.”   What it comes down to is this – there is a reason that people don’t learn as well as they should.  We make it to easy for them.  What you need to employ is desirable difficulty.  If they have to put a bit of effort into acquiring the knowledge, they are more likely to retain it.

Whether or not you accept this theory, it is an interesting idea.  I’m a big believer in the idea that you tend to appreciate things if you put some effort into getting them.  But how does that apply to font?

A team of designers and behavioral scientists from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia worked to create a series of fonts that are more difficult to read.  They then tested these fonts on approximately 400 Australian university students.  The results showed that one font, which the developers named Sans Forgetica was legible enough that people could read it but difficult enough to encourage deeper mental processing and, through this, better retention.

Here is a list I was given to commit to memory this week.

Sans Forgetica

What do you think?  Will reviewing it typed out in Sans Forgetica help?



January 9, 2014


ReadabilityAt various points in my writing career, I’ve had editors ask me for material written at various reading levels.  To find the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:

  1. Click the File tab on your ribbon.
  2. Scroll down to Options.
  3. Click on Proofing.
  4. Under the category “When Correcting Spelling and Grammar in Word,” make certain that “Show Readability  Statistics” is chosen.

Once you do this, you can find the values for these two common tests when you run Spellcheck.

If your reading level needs to be adjusted, keep these things in mind:

  • You can adjust reading level by opting for simpler vocabulary words.  If your piece tests high but there are a variety of difficult must-have words, such as names, you can do a search and replace and temporarily swap these terms out for simpler ones.
  • Another way to adjust the reading level is by using short, simple sentences.  Subject verb object will yield a lower reading level than compound sentences or sentences with phrases.
  • Shorter paragraphs also make for a  lower reading level.

Any time you tinker with the reading level of a passage, you need to make certain that it still sounds smooth. There is one and only one test that works accurately for this.  Read the piece out loud.

It may take several attempts to write an article or story that is at the right reading level and sounds smooth but it is well worth the effort when you impress your editor.





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