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Text, as the principal vehicle for communicating ideas, is designed to be very legible while being unobtrusive to the reader. Print quality limitations can cause distractions that subtract from the effectiveness of the communication; in the worst case, they can render text illegible.

Because of the limited number of addressable dots with which to render a font character, small text poses the greatest challenge to legibility. Font details such as fine serifs, thin strokes, and uniform kerning can easily be lost due to poor reproduction. Two and four-point text are often used in situations where legibility is crucial but precise artistic accuracy is not necessary; the sophistication of font design increases at six points and larger as the visibility of fine details improves with point size to even the most casual reader.

  • Black Text

    Black Text represents the most common use of an office printer, and is primarily comprised of thin, filled solid regions. Uniform character stroke weights and spacing provide uniform “typographic color”, the perceived overall darkness of the text. This enhances effective communication when successful, but may detract significantly when distorted and uneven.

    Color Text

    Color can be used to highlight or emphasize particular words or phrases—improper rendering of such color can shift the emphasis from the key idea to the lack of adequate print quality. Because most colors (all but pure primaries and secondaries) require some halftoning even at full saturation, text quality is often decreased further due to the halftone cell structure.

    Reverse Text

    Although less significant than other print attributes for many applications, reverse text represents a specific use that some printers tend to reproduce poorly due to enlarged spot size, toner splatter, and other causes of poor modulation transfer function. Typically, thin lines and fine font fills are dimmed or dropped out completely.

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