4 Replies
David Anderson

Great question, Rachel.

You're totally right about fonts being different sizes. The most important thing to consider is readability. Your goal is to communicate and that means your text should be readable.

I like to layout 2-5 type styles per project. At the very least, you need:

Heading font style

Body font style

You could include some additional variations:

Heading 1

Heading 2

Body text

Caption text, callout text, label text (for images, diagrams, tooltips)

Note or tip font (usually a handwritten font for casual sidebars)

So the next thing I care about is contrast. I want Heading 1 to be larger and stronger than Heading 2 and so on.

Chris Pearson has a typography tool for calculating the ideal font size based on width of your text lines and the font used. This tool is designed for web design and large blocks of text, but I think the suggestions are a great starting point for e-learning.

The tool is also designed for body text, not heading text. But that's okay because heading text has more wiggle room since it's shorter and often used to break up body text and help with visual breaks.