one more response

Jan Ivarsson TransEdit jan.ivarsson at TRANSEDIT.ST
Tue Sep 10 11:59:41 UTC 2002

John Baker writes:
>Most people seem to find it easier to read lower case text, which may account for its popularity over >the past 12 centuries or so.  I don't have any formal research backing that up...

Having written two books on subtitling (captioning), I have had to look into the problems of legibility of typography, and have found that there is a practical unanimity for the opinion that "all capital" text is harder to read than normal text. On top of that, it takes up more space, especially if the text is proportionally spaced. But of course an individual word or short phrase can be made to stand out by capitalizing.

 For those interested in this question, I can give a few references:

Gill, Eric, An Essay on Typography, Sheed & Ward, London, 1931

Ingvar, David H. & Hallberg, Åke. (1989), Hjärnan Bokstaven Ordet  (Brain Letter Word), Spektra, Halmstad, 180 p. (For those who read Swedish)

O'Regan, J. Kevin (1986), La lisibilité de textes à l'écran en fonction des espaces inter-mots, inter-lettres, inter-lignes, et de la matrice typographique. Rapport du Groupe Regard, Laboratoire de Psychologie Expérimentale, Paris V, Univ. René Descartes, 35 + 28 p.

Pedersen, Kim & Kidmose, Anders (1993), [in black & white]. an r&d report on typography and legibility, Graphic College of Denmark, Copenhagen, 112 p.

Shaw, Alison, Print for Partial Sight, A report to the Library Association  Subcommittee on Books for Readers with Defective Sight, The Library Association, London, 1969, 92 p.

Spencer, Herbert, The Visible Word. Problems of Legibility, Lund Humphries, London, 1969, 107 p.

Tinker, Miles A., Legibility of Print, Iowa State University Press, Ames,  Iowa, 1963, 329 p.

Zachrisson, Bror, Studies in the Legibility of Printed Text, Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, Stockholm studies in Educational Psychology 11, Almqvist & Wiksell, Uppsala, 1965, 225 p.

Jan Ivarsson
Translator, Subtitler
jan.ivarsson at

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