Monday, April 20, 2009
In the trade 6- and 7-point type is known as mouse type. Its primary use is for legal copy not really intended to be read—such as disclaimers or copyright notices.
What brings this to mind is that recently I was setting by hand some 8-point Libra. I hadn't set a small point size in a long time, but it went well enough. Problems began in earnest, however, when I started setting some 6-point (A) Microgramma Extended (the A 6-point size being 2.5-point cap height on a 6-point body). I finally resorted to using a magnifying glass and a tweezers.
Pictured is a figure font of 48-point Microgramma Extended. Look closely at the gap in the second line. See that tiny something between the figure one and the figure nine? That’s a figure one from 6-point (A) Microgramma Extended.
When you are working onscreen in a graphics program the deception of these ratios is not so obvious. 800 percent may not seem like much onscreen, but I am offering up this photo as proof that a six-point body can be very hard to see.
Now imagine trying to read the 2.5-pt cap height printed letter on a business card, and then in an “ambiance-lighted” restaurant or bar. (The 2.5-point cap height against the 40-point cap height on the 48-point body having doubled the magnification to 1600 percent.)
Hopefully no one would ever set type that small for a business card.
So the question remains: Why was I setting type so small?