Smaller fonts save paper, toner, staples and much more. They also can cost you thousands of dollars in failure to comply with the ADA. Lately, I have noticed that public agencies are reducing the font size of their meeting and public notices to save space in their outdoor message boards. While I applaud their diligence in being eco-friendly, we also need to keep in mind that individuals with low-vision may not be able to read the postings. I know I couldn’t and I have 20/15 vision.
While there is no specific font and size that the ADA states you must use, we can take some pointers from their Consent Decree with the Milwaukee Montessori School. Too small a font makes for difficult reading. The ADA recommends a minimum font size of 12pt and the Times New Roman font in this Consent Decree. But there is more to font and size that makes it beautiful, here’s a few tips to making your public postings readable:
- use a paper color that contrasts with the text nicely – white is always the best choice
- use a minimum size of 12pt, but 14pt is always preferrable
- use a sans serif font to reduce blurring and run-on’s
- use a minimum of 1.25 line spacing to reduce blurring between lines
- use a solid color font that contrasts with the paper color
- don’t print in draft format
Remember, if you are having trouble posting five full pages of text, then you should get a bigger posting display case, not reduce the font to size 6pt.