Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Printing and Journalism


The growing percentage· of type set by the "cold type" process combined with the growth of lithographic printing has increased the use of filmed typefaces. Machines now exist that can greatly reduce or enlarge a filmed typeface from its original size. A prism attachment on a process camera allows type to be altered in one dimension while holding the other constant. The effects on readability of such alterations are of importance to the printer. In a master's degree thesis study, Joseph W. Truex used a prism camera to simultaneously and direct! vary line length and alphabet length. He found no significant retardation in speed of reading when type was reduced to 85.5 per cent of a control form, but a 79.1 per cent reduction did significantly retard speed of reading. In the Truex study, however, differences could be attributed to lack of linelength control. This assumption finds support in a study by. Paterson and Tinker which found reading to be less efficient in very long and very short lines compared to an optimum 19-pica line. It is the purpose of this study to investigate the eye movements of subjects who have read printed matter that has been altered prismatically, holding line length and x-height constant and varying only the alphabet length. Paterson and Tinker's optimum line length will be used with a 9-point type, leaded 2 points. The x-height of a typeface, expressed in points, is the verticle measurement from top of ascenders to bottom of descenders. Alphabet length is the measure of all the letters of the alphabet set side by side.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Type and type-founding

Reading, Psychology of

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University