Readability—being clear and understandable—is an important aspect in Swiss design. This was seen in book covers and poster designs of that time.

Readability deals more with text as a whole. Helvetica is not the most readable text, but can still be readable and function well if leaded appropriately (especially for on-screen). Thus, Helvetica is better suited and more often used in smaller amounts of text, such as advertisements, branding and headings.

principle #4:

READABILITY

Readability Image 1

A paragraph in Helvetica. With appropriate leading (right), the paragraph becomes more readable.

Readability Image 2

Compare the reading experiences of each of these three paragraphs. Try to scan and pick out the highlighted words in each of them.

Readability Image 3

Tracking is the amount of spacing between a group of letters. Too much or too little tracking can make text less readable, especially for body text.