Typography within Technical Communication

Typography is a very important aspect of Information design and technical communication. Choosing the correct typeface can be difficult, because the designer or the communicator want their pieces to be both visually appealing, as well as easy to read.  Typography is something that I thoroughly enjoy, which is how I stumbled across a blog titled, Putting Your Best Font Forward. The article I found interesting is called, Everywhere You Look: Helvetica. The author is also a “typophile” who decided to focus on the typeface we all know, Helvetica!

Helvetica is a very popular font, due to its readability and neutrality. It was created for Linotype in 1957. It’s neutrality lead to its popularity. It is most famous for its usage within the following companies’ logos.

  • American Airlines

  • Staples

  • Bloomingdale’s

  • Greyhound

  • Sears

  • Fendi

  • Crate & Barrel

  • Energizer

  • Texaco

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Have you checked your Crops Lately?

In reading the blogs of technical communicators, I was very surprised to see one particular series of posts on a topic seemingly very far from technical communication. The topic was Farmville. Being that I am ashamedly a former Farmville addict, I was interested in seeing what a technical communicator would have to say about it.

The blogger, Rafia Shujaat, separates her comments on Farmville into Pros and Cons and explains her own experiences with Farmville. She praises Farmville for their strong “almost addicting” game experience, which I have also experienced firsthand, as well as their pleasing graphics, Zynga’s logging of problems and bugs, and attentiveness to the needs and wants of the players. She appreciates Farmville’s ability to allow users to be creative and she speculates that Facebook usage has gone up solely because of this game.

On the cons side of this, Rafia complains of Farmille’s server restarting and losing her game progress each time it does so. She also complains that saving your game takes too long so often she just starts over each time. She doesn’t give a personal opinion about Farmvilles options to exchange real money for virtual Farmville cash to be used for buying crops, gifts, and decorations, however she appreciates the company’s ability to persuade people into doing this.


If you’d like to read the original blog, you can find it here.

A forbidden typeface: Comic Sans

At the first mention of Comic Sans most of us roll our eyes. There are many websites dedicated solely to the demise of the typeface. The thought of the typeface being used on a professional document often strikes horror into our minds – but is it really that bad? Can we find a good use for the typeface?

Ellis Pratt points out that the typeface is recommended for the Easy Read environment. Easy Read was developed by the United Kingdom’s Office of Disability Issues as a set of guidelines to make sharing information through textual documents easier for those with disabilities. The main goals are to keep sentences short and straightforward, keep the content as accessible as possible, and to make the document visually high contrast and easy to read.

Is the Office of Disability right or is there a better option for these situations? You can read Ellis Pratt’s full piece here.

HTML5 media for technical communication-Techie Tech Writer Blog

While I was research what kind of technical blogs were out there and what information they are giving to the public, there was a large amount of blogs that were more “techie”. In those certain blogs, they spoke about how to use the social media to an individual advantage. Not only did they speak about how to use the social media, but they spoke about programs that would make it easier for those who are not “techie smart”.

Blogger Janet Swisher spoke about a program that will help “non-programmers” create interactive experiences with HTML5.  The program is called “Popcorn Maker”, has only one goal, which is to help individuals make good quality websites with interactive content on the website.

To read more about the article, click on the link.HTML5 media for technical communication

I’d Rather Be Writing – Technical Communication Blog

Prior to reading Mind Touch’s Top 25 Technical Communication Bloggers, I had already come across Tom Johnson’s blog based on his website I’d Rater Be Writing. I later found out that he’s the second highest viewed blog that has content related, even focused on technical communication. Johnson’s website has sections dedicated towards advertising, presentations, how to organize content, and a blog area about technical communication. I can see why he’s ranked second according to Mind Touch.

Other blogs I glanced over to cover various topics, they are not just solely focused on technical communication tips, facts, and what it is but they discuss changes in media channels, perspectives on the “digital revolution” and other communication areas that incorporate forms of professional technical communication.

Johnson discusses how to stay on track, how to prioritize your time to make the most out of our short days, and then has the posts about organizing content, and how to layout different document types. I highly recommend taking a look at his website/blog and take a peek at all his sections!