Typography Question

5 years ago from , front-end design/shopify optimization

Which is more readable? Vertically-typed text, or Horizontally-typed text that has been rotated 90degrees?

text screenshot


  • Bole ★, 5 years ago

    Reading Vertical Text: Rotated vs. Marquee http://chil.rice.edu/research/pdf/byrne2002hfes.pdf

    “This is obviously a fairly simple study, but the results were quite clear-cut: horizontal text is fastest, followed by both rotated conditions, followed by marquee presentation. The results were quite striking in magnitude, as marquee text took almost twice as long to read as the standard horizontal text. Thus, to support rapid word recognition in situations such a labeling, horizontal text should be preferred where possible. However, when space constraints dictate that text be presented vertically, rotated text should be preferred to marquee text. However, there does not appear to be an inherent advantage for right-rotated vs. left-rotated text.”

    Please, avoid marquee.

    I hope this helps.

    5 points
  • Jacob TaylorJacob Taylor, 5 years ago

    Literally the first day of design college, I was taught "Never lay type out like that", referring to the type layout in that pink bar.

    Humans read from left to right. As such, when you look at the pink bar you read five separate letters. On the darker bar, you read a complete word.

    Hard to believe you are a professional designer, yet you don't know this.

    1 point
    • Nicolas ElizagaNicolas Elizaga, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

      Be nice... you assume he had the same design education as you. Nothing wrong with asking the community for advice, whether or not it's what you were taught on your first day of design school.

      2 points
  • Matt D. SmithMatt D. Smith, 5 years ago

    It really depends on the context that your designing for, but in general I would avoid both treatments as neither would scale very well in relation to other bars. The rotated treatment wouldn't work if the bar was lower than a certain point and the vertically typed version would be difficult to scan and read if you used multiple text labels across the entire bar chart.

    Quick suggestion (if your project allows) http://mds.io/Y8Nb

    1 point
  • Bole ★, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    (I’m aware that the question might not be about lettering on book spines, so I apologize in advance if I missed the intent.)

    This is not a matter of readability.

    The following is an excerpt from The Form of the Book – chapter on page 174, Ten Common Mistakes in the Production of Books. To quote Jan Tschichold:

    “8. Gigantic vertical lettering on spines that are wide enough to carry a horizontal inscription. Titles on the spine need not be legible from far away.”

    0 points
  • Oscar von HauskeOscar von Hauske, 5 years ago

    This is completely empirical but reading it rotated makes me want to tilt my head, whereas the other one Is completely readable as is.

    I think if it's all caps I'd go with vertical.

    0 points
  • Charlie McCullochCharlie McCulloch, 5 years ago

    Rotated. Our brains recognise familiar words by their form (the shape of the word), not their contents (the letters).

    Therefore the rotated version is more familiar, it just takes the brain a teeny bit more time to read than if it was horizontal. Conversely the vertical word must be read letter by letter because its form is unfamiliar.

    0 points
  • Fabio SirnaFabio Sirna, 5 years ago (edited 5 years ago )

    Have a look here: http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/14745/is-clockwise-or-counter-clockwise-rotated-text-easier-to-read

    In technical drawing (e.g. mechanical engineering) conventionally the vertical text is rotated counter clockwise.

    0 points
  • Grace ParkGrace Park, 5 years ago

    The way I was taught was IF I HADDDD to, I was to rotate 90 degrees. The though behind that is your brain sees whole words rather than one letter at a time. http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/people/matt-davis/cmabridge/

    0 points
  • Mitch De CastroMitch De Castro, 5 years ago

    Both are actually fairly readable in the way that you've presented them.

    Vertically-typed text usually looks bad when lowercase letters are used or if there are a lot of letters.

    0 points