2010 Conference: Round Table Clear Print Guidelines Workshop
This workshop was presented at the 2010 conference of the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities. The workshop was not recorded, but you can read the slides below.
The Clear Print guidelines outline a general approach to print design that produces a legible, uncluttered format which all readers will find easier to read. The guidelines also cover large print production, and replace the Round Table’s Guidelines for the Production of Large Print, published in 1996.
Producing Clear Large Print
Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities
What is Large Print?
- Large Print starts at 14 point
- Large Print is not necessarily Clear Print
- Clear Print is what we get when we choose the right elements
- Clear Large Print is what low vision readers need
Formatting for Clear Print
Choosing a Font
There are 2 basic types of fonts:
- Sans Serif
- Font size is measured using the height of the upstrokes and the length of the downstrokes
- This means that not all fonts of the same point size are actually the same size
- Arial in 24 point
- Papyrus in 24 point (letters are thinner and more faint than Arial of the equivalent point size)
Examples of Clear sans serif typefaces
- Gill sans
- Century Gothic
Examples of Clear serif typefaces
Style of Fonts to avoid
- Brush Script
- Curlz MT
- Edwardian Script
Note: all the above fonts are highly stylised
- Using Italics
The following text is shown in a plain font, then in italics: Round Table’s strength is the diversity of knowledge and experience in the production and use of alternate format materials embodied by its members.
- Underlining interferes with the outline of the word and makes reading more difficult
The following text is shown in a plain font, then with all the words underlined: Round Table’s strength is the diversity of knowledge and experience in the production and use of alternate format materials embodied by its members.
- Capitals reading blocks of capital letters is more difficult because the outline of the words are lost
The following text is shown in a plain font, then in all capital letters: Round Table’s strength is the diversity of knowledge and experience in the production and use of alternate format materials embodied by its members.
- Choose an appropriate font – clear and easy to read
- Don’t underline text
- Don’t use full capitals
- Use italics sparingly
- Place all text horizontally
- Use space, bolding and size to indicate differences in text
- Spacing between Lines by increasing the space between lines the text will be easier to read
The following text is shown closely spaced then with additional spacing between lines: Copyright Changes. The proposed changes incorporate the addition of the Bern convention 3- step test. This in effect means it is not an infringement of copyright to make a copy of a publication as long as it is a special case, does not interfere with the rights of the author to benefit from their work or that the copying does not unduly prejudice the intellectual property of the owner.
- Spacing between Words aligning text to the left results in even spaces between words
The following text is shown left justified then fully justified: Copyright Changes. The proposed changes incorporate the addition of the Bern convention 3- step test. This in effect means it is not an infringement of copyright to make a copy of a publication as long as it is a special case, does not interfere with the rights of the author to benefit from their work or that the copying does not unduly prejudice the intellectual property of the owner.
- Increase the vertical space between lines – 1.2 is a usually a good spacing
- Never fully justify text – left justify for most text
- Use centring sparingly – usually for headings
- Only right justify if there is a very good reason – text can be difficult to locate
- Ensure that there is enough space between the text and the box
Example shows the following sentence repeated twice, inside a box: “Each year the Round Table runs a conference to facilitate and influence the production and use of quality alternative formats for people with print disabilities.” The first box fits very closely around the edges of the words. In the second box, there is more space between the words and the box outline.
- If coloured text boxes are required, try replacing the coloured box with a box with a coloured border
Example shows the sentence from the previous slide in a box with black text and a blue background, then the same sentence in a box with black text and a white background, with a blue border around the box.
Boxes and Dividers
- Some times it may be more appropriate to use a divider rather than a box – especially if the box goes over several pages
Example shows the sentence from slide 16 with thick horizontal lines above and below.
Text and Backgrounds
- Avoid placing text over an inappropriately patterned or coloured background
Example shows the sentence “Text can be very difficult to read on a patterned or coloured background” printed over four patterned or coloured backgrounds.
Text and Graphics
- Avoid placing text over graphics
Example shows the following sentence printed twice, placed over the top of a photograph: “Placing text over a photograph can mean that the information is almost impossible to read unless it has a clear background. ” In the first photograph, the text is overlaid directly onto the photograph. In the second photograph, the black text is printed in a box with a white background, which is printed over the photo.
- Avoid overlaying graphics
Example shows two photos printed over the top of a larger photo.
Dealing with Overlaid Graphics
- If Collages are necessary if possible also provide copy of the overlaid graphics in a split format
Example shows the three photos from the previous slide next to one another, with a clear gap between them.
Boxes and Graphics Summary
- Normally the background in text boxes should not be coloured – if colour is important try colouring the box instead
- Don’t place text over graphics – it is hard to read
- Don’t overlay one graphic over another – it is difficult to interpret
- Try and reformat to avoid columns
- If columns are necessary ensure that there is sufficient space between columns or a divider
Example shows two columns of text with very little gap between the columns, then the same text with a generous gap between columns.
- A dividing line can be added if needed
Example shows two columns of text with a vertical line between the two columns..
Graphics and Columns
- Don’t place graphics in the middle of columns as they disrupt the flow of text
- If graphics are necessary place the graphic on the right margin to minimize disruption to the text flow
Example shows two columns of text. In the first, there is a photo aligned to the right, with text wrapped around it. All text is left aligned. In the second column, there is a photo aligned to the left. Text wraps around it so that the beginnings of lines do not line up vertically.
- Try not to use columns
- If using columns ensure that there is sufficient space between
- If it enhances readability, insert a vertical line between the columns
- Don’t place graphics in the middle of columns – they interrupt the flow of text
- Ensure that tables have sufficient cell margins and that the font is appropriate
Example shows a table with insufficient cell margins and an inappropriate font
Example shows the same table with a clear font and adequate space between text inside the table and the table borders.
Boxes and Tables Summary
- Ensure that any lines are heavy enough to be easily located
- Ensure that there is sufficient space around the information to clearly separate it from the borders
- Ensure that the font is suitable and does not encroach into the cell borders
- Place check boxes before the relevant question if possible
Example shows three options, with tick boxes placed before each: I have special dietary needs, I will need assistance and I will be attending the AGM
- If an answer space if required after the question provide leader dots to make location easier
Example shows a series of questions and options. The options are on the right side of the screen, and there is a line of dots between each question and the related answers.
Indicating the print page number
- When reformatting text the original print page number needs to be indicated so that students can find their place in the reformatted text
- Print page numbers need to indicate the commencement of the print page
Examples of Print Page Indication
Two examples show print page indicators. One is a horizontal line of green dots, followed by the label pp 12. The second is the label p12, appearing on its own line in the left margin.
- Where ever possible assessment questions should not be split across pages
- If this is necessary, split mid-sentence and provide indication
- Stimulus material should be located as close as possible to or opposite the relevant section
- If the question is over a number of pages it may be appropriate to have the graphics in a separate booklet or removable
- If it is necessary to increase the answer space allowed indicate the amount of space in the original
- [original print has 6 lines]
- Avoid splitting words across lines
- Be careful using colour for text
- Paper should be of sufficient weight to prevent the print from the previous page showing through
- Some people may benefit from special coloured papers
Clear Print Checklist
- A simple, clear font has been used
- Font is of an appropriate size
- Text is left aligned
- All text is set horizontally
- Space between lines is appropriate
- Space between paragraphs
- No blocks of capital letters
- No blocks of italics
- No underlined text
- Space between columns
- Paper is thick enough not to allow show through
- Layout is consistent and logical
- No text is laid over graphics
- No information relies solely on graphics
- The original print page numbers have been inserted
[end of slides]