Kurt Edelbrock: How to Actually Make Text Look Interesting

How to Actually Make Text Look Interesting: Minimalist Web Design (Kurt Edelbrock) (via @rands on Twitter)

The transition from writing for an article for print to writing for a blog (or for the web in general) can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the medium you’re using. Where paragraphs in an essay, a book, or a journal article can take up half a page without being inconvenient, a paragraph that takes up half the window of your web browser is more daunting—a huge chunk of text in which you can easily get lost or distracted.

Strunk and White urges writers to “write in paragraphs,” and I always try to keep that rule in mind whenever I write or edit essays and blog posts. Shorter paragraphs are easier to read, especially online. The use of headers and easily-readable font also enhances blog posts and websites, and those are some of the topics that Kurt Edelbrock covers in his article on typography and minimalist web design. Check it out to learn how elements like font size, typeface, and font color can make your website or blog more pleasing to the eye and easier to read.


12 thoughts on “Kurt Edelbrock: How to Actually Make Text Look Interesting

  1. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » HOW TO ACTUALLY MAKE TEXT look interesting….

    • Thanks for the feedback! I agree that this is something that seems obvious—I learned it in high school—but some people need help making the transition from print to electronic media. There wouldn’t be an industry revolved around website design aesthetics (not to mention sites like Clients From Hell) if people knew all of this already.

    • Well, these days the main writing classes are taught in college, and consist of discussing how to write on race an gender issues to a class of mostly white late-teen aged males. This also turns out to be the best way to get white teen aged males to sit very still, and very silently.

  2. no – you’re thinking about it wrong. Of course, the actual size of the type needs to be considered – with computers as opposed to paper that is a tricky question. But you really need to limit your line length to 8 to 12 words. The fact is that the eye needs to be able to skip back from the right side end of a line to the left side beginning of the next line as smoothly as possible. Old time newspaper columns used even less words per line – but they were designed for less than optimum viewing. And they got it right. This comment box for example is way too wide. It’s not making my comment look the least bit interesting…If the whole internet understood line length then people would read more and not zone out on linger articles so much. And yes – paragraph breaks are vital. Shame this comment box is so minimal in terms of formatting…

    • Words per line is entirely a function of the browser and the display medium, and shame on any so-called “web designer” who tries to force the issue by overriding the reader’s font preferences. So what if the default is 22 point Univers? The reader probably has a perfectly valid reason for that, perhaps for having poor vision.

      Let the different browsers render the text on the different screens, the ways Grandma and little Billy want to read it.

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