David Březina

Online book “Legibility: how and why typography affects ease of reading” by Mary Dyson

Design Regression is pleased to announce the publication of Mary Dyson’s book Legibility: how and why typography affects ease of reading in a new, digital edition, in English and Spanish.

A screenshot of the English version of the book

The invention of typography, print, and more recently digitization and the internet brought about an abundance of documents and made the need for legible communication unquestionable. Or vice versa: illegibility creates barriers and makes documents unapproachable. The stakes are as high as the numbers of documents and readers. Professional or not, we all in one way or another design documents thus affecting their ease of reading. But what exactly is legibility and how can we design documents that are easier to read?

Traditional typographic knowledge based on conventions, technology, and personal or shared experience claims reliable answers proven by generations. Next to this, there has been a growing body of scientific research aiming to provide testable theories to critically assess such answers. Often scattered across journals and scholarly monographs, contemporary research may have been hard to access and digest by non-researchers.

Mary Dyson spent most of her academic life at the renowned Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading (UK) and dedicated her career to research into reading and typography, writing numerous papers on the subject. Her book is a comprehensive attempt to make descriptions of research more accessible to those who can benefit: practitioners, students, enthusiasts.

One cannot overstate the importance of its publication online. It is now a prime resource on typographic legibility available on the web, licenced permissively (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) like all other texts on Design Regression. I believe it will have a profound impact on web typography and typographic discourse online, but it would be just as fine if you find it useful for your thinking, practice, or research.

The project would not be possible without the generosity of the original publisher and editor María González de Cossío from Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Diseño (Puebla, México) and financial support of Google Fonts. The production work for the digital edition was done under the auspices of Rosetta Type with most of the heavy lifting executed by Johannes Neumeier. With further thanks to Sofie Beier, Jeanne-Louise Moys, Carlos Pérez Cerón, Kevin Larson, and Tania Chacana (see acknowledgements in the book itself).

The book is now available from:

p.s. We do have improvements planned and would sincerely appreciate your feedback.

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