WEB112 » Legibility vs. Readability

When most people look at a printed or online page, they don’t see the typeface(s) on the page. Instead,  they see words and are trying to read them.

Reading is all about the rhythm of the typeface(s) and how they work(s) with the page. The choice of typeface(s) and/or how they are used can either assist or hinder legibility and/or readability of those words on the page.

Readability: refers to the facility and comfort with which text can be comprehended. We don’t read by recognizing one letter at a time, we read by recognizing the whole word at a time.

Legibility: refers to a reader’s ability to easily recognize letter forms and the word forms built from them.

See Also: Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy | MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Pushing the line between legibility and readability can be used in effective logo design:

  • Big Red Designs by Mike Sinkula
  • Lemley Design by David Lemley
  • Neet Net by Jana Sheehan
  • Question
  • Radius

This portion of the Premium Design Works website is written by Mike Sinkula for the Web Design & Development students at Seattle Central College and the Human Centered Design & Engineering students at the University of Washington.


  1. Yoshan says:

    Thanks, good advice for designers!. Keep it up.

  2. James Holloway says:

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  3. ryan says:

    This article looks at a very nice collection of logos that have negative/positive shapes


  4. ryan says:

    A really great resource for logos


    Everything comes in vector format. We used to use it at the sign shop I worked at all the time. You can also find international symbols, signage symbols (like handicap signs or recycling logos), cartoon characters and a lot of other various symbols you might need or want.

    The search function can be a bit tricky. Sometimes I’ve had to do multiple searches to find what I need, still it’s got a ton of logos.

    Caution: Some logos are copyright. Careful how you use them.


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