How to Make Text Readable

Lets face it, people arent going to happily read a large amount of text. Ever since twitter normalized writing in 140 characters or less, its hard to ask your audiences to read long texts. Think back to the days when you had to read a textbook for a class. Remember how dreadful the pages looked when there were no photos, just merely the text laid out on the page? Or remember how much easier pages with pictures were to read? Try to incorporate those feelings when laying out your text. There are a couple of tricks you can do in order to make your audience read a lot of text, without feeling like they did. Let’s see how to make text readable!

Break It Up

The worst thing to do is have lines of text that run all the way across the page, especially if the page is larger than a standard page. The key is to make the readers eye move as little as possible, or at least as little as it needs. Start by grouping your large amount of texts into different subjects or sections that can be broken up. Typically the text is already grouped into different paragraphs. Break up these chunks of texts with something interesting. That could be a picture, pull quote, or simply just another subhead. A good rule of thumb to follow is after 150 words, break up the text.

Establish Hierarchy

When deciding the layout of the text, keep in mind the visual hierarchy that you are trying to convey to the reader. Meaning, make the most important part of the text look the most important. For example, the header should be the biggest words on the page. The subhead should be the second largest, but not too big that it distracts from the header. Then the actual text should be the smallest. Body text should typically stay in between the sizes of 8 and 12. If the body text is too small, the reader wont be able to read it. If the text is too large, you could risk the text looking too childish.

Use Grids

Before formatting your text, try sketching out a couple of ways you could format the text. This will save potentially hours of headaches, trust me. Incorporate the use of grids into the mock up. A singular grid has just one column surrounded by margins around the page. How To Make Text Readable: Basic GridA multi column grid implements columns into the layouts. Newspapers commonly utilize a multi column grid to break up large news stories. Think about how much more difficult newspapers would be to read without the use of columns. If the texts just ran from across the entire page, our eye would get tired faster and we would struggle to finish a large article. A modular grid creates sections that are made from columns and flow lines. It creates a pattern of uniform squares on the page that can be used to chunk texts and pictures. Magazines commonly use a modular grid because these grids set up the most flexibility that allows for a large variety of formatting options. Once youve come up with a layout that works for you, set up your grid on the page and place the text in the desired areas.

Avoid Awkward Spaces

Lastly, think about how your words look on the page. Be sure your columns align with the grid. Check to see if there are any words causing awkward lines. In columns, orphans and widows can create awkward white space. An orphan when the last word of a paragraph is on its own line. A widow is when the last line of a paragraph is in the next column alone. Play around with the spacing in between the words or columns in order to get rid of any orphans and columns. If that doesnt work, change up the wording in a couple lines. When using justified text, watch out for rivers of white in the paragraphs. Rivers are white spaces that appear as if there were a white line running through the text, like a river.  

Need More Help?

Thats ok, creating a successful layout can be a difficult task. Take a look at how this article is setup, for example. The header is the largest font size on the page while the subheads stand out amongst the copy body. Each paragraph is roughly the same size and the reader can easily jump to which section they feel is most important based on the subheads. Establishing flow and unity will automatically make your text readable. Check out our website to see the flow and readability that will please your eyes!