What’s font got to do, got to do with it? It can help your proofreading

Open doors, don’t close them

Do you remember when the physicist Fabiola Gianotti made a presentation in Comic Sans announcing the possible discovery of the Higgs boson? No? Well, where on earth have you been?

Gianotti got a hell of a lot of stick for it. All the scientists I knew had a good giggle at Gianotti’s expense. It seemed a bit hypocritical to me, as many of these scientists always preached that “the science speaks for itself”, as if that were some self righteous explanation to NOT present your work in a friendly, eye catching way. Heaven forbid you should ever use colour! But here they were – NOT looking at the science, but mocking the way in which it was communicated.

You might feel the same. You might say “but it’s only my story that matters, right?”

Wrong. Design is subjective and some fonts are a bit like Marmite (love it or hate it), and some are a bit like potatoes (a staple that can be amazing, depending on what you do to it). You should read this article over at Writing.ie, which in the second half explains a bit more about it. It also shows you a link to industry standards if you plan on self-publishing.


The other part of this amazing article (the first half) suggests how a change in font can open our eyes when it comes to proofreading. It’s a well known scientific fact that our brain corrects our writing for us subconsciously when we read it back. If I were to cut the tops off all my letters – you’d still be able to read it. Our brains are amazing.

But that ‘amazing ability’ can cause writers problems. Even the best proofreaders and editors can struggle with their own words. Changing fonts for proofreading, seems to make a lot of sense – to put the words we recognise into something we don’t. This is definitely a trick I’ll be trying RIGHT. NOW. Thank you MJ Hyland for that tip.

What about you? Is font important to you? Have you heard of this proof reading technique?


6 thoughts on “What’s font got to do, got to do with it? It can help your proofreading

  1. That's SUCH a good idea! I've recently chagned which font I write in because I was bored of Georgia. It never occurred to me to change font for proofreading.

  2. My publisher actually suggested I change my font during my revision process to catch things more easily, and it does help!! 3 rounds later, I'm hoping we caught 'em all. I guess we'll see on Thursday when I get to pet, I mean, hold, my actual book *does happy dance*

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