Optimzing line height for redability
• Mark Eschbach
I’ve been running this site for a long time and have gone over more than a few design changes over the years. As with any new project hopefully you’ve learned something. For this site, this Stream of Conciousness setion has taught I need to do something with the line height. Something about the rhythm of the lines makes the text harder to read than my normal writing, which I’m fairly surprised someone reads.
First up on the Google hit list is Secret Symphony: The Ultimate Guide to Readable Web Typography. I’m not so sure if I can buy into their holy-grail style tonality of the article. They recommend having a line hieght of twice the size of the font, distributing half on either side. Their core arguments are: line height is a function of font size, line lenght is a funciton of font size, and longer lines make it difficult to read text. Totally not going to fight those arguments, totally sound to me. This author really loves the gold ratio and advocates it’s use in typography with the following application: line height is font size times the golden ratio; and line width should be the line height squared.
I thought the golden ratio the author was referring to was apprximately 1.5. Accrdoing to Google I’m wrong, it’s 1.618. Accrdoing to Wikipedia the actual number is closer to 1.618033988.
Where I’m starting
I should probably figure out what I’ve done to change the lineheight in the past. It looks like I chose the simple route: 2em. Which means teh line height should be equal to twice the length of the ‘m’ character if I recall correctly. According to CSS Font-Size I’m way off the mark here; an
em is actually the size of the font. Well that makes the problem worse since I’ve already set the font size to 2em. Ride over, I’ll have to finish this up some other time