Text size - when is 9pt appropriate?

Lightbulb Head

New Member
Hi there folks,

Having recently completed a degree in graphic design I've decided to take a step of faith and start my own business. However, I'm still feeling very new to the area and I'm suddenly aware that there are a lot of practical 'rules' that they don't teach you at uni... if anyone's got any opinions on the following, I'd be glad to hear them.

I'm working on a brochure at the moment (it's trifold, paper size A4) and my instinct is to make the main text size 9pt as there's quite a lot of it to fit on and I think it'll be more aesthetically pleasing. Are there any unwritten laws about this kind of thing? As I understand it, most books and magazines use 9pt but I'm not sure about smaller leaflets etc

Any thoughts?
If it looks good, do it! So long as the text is still legible then why not? Play around, print it out in and get some feedback on it. Just consider the target audience for the leaflet, are they going to have trouble reading the small type?
Thanks Paul, that's helpful. The target audience are quite a mixed bunch but towards the older end of the scale on the whole, so I might have to make the important text bigger at least. Glad to hear it's ok to trust my instincts though, I sometimes feel like there are rules about these things that I've overlooked... guess it's all pretty subjective at the end of the day.
What Paul said but while there are no hard & fast rules as such, the RNIB do give guidelines on what they consider best practice in terms of print material better suited for visually impaired people. Here's some of it:
Clear print - RNIB
I think 9pt is too small to comfortably read for body text throughout a brochure.

While there are no hard and fast rules, if you compared 5 brochures designed by other design companies, I doubt if any would ever use 9pt for the body text (I would have thought most of them use 11-12pt).

I think if you have too much text, then it's up to the client to edit accordingly instead of fitting everything on and hoping it can still be read.
I don't think 9pt is too small, but like everyone says, see how it looks. Some fonts have larger x heights and so look larger. It really depends on the nature of the job.

We have a client that insists everything is at least 14pt due to the elderly readership. It just isn't practical with most things and I have to constantly get them to edit their text.

G :icon_rolleyes:
Hi there we sudied type rule quiet carefully at uni and I now specailse in print so know what I'm blabbing on about lol!
For normal viewing 8-12 point is fine but anything over 10 for body copy will end up making your text look over sized unlless there is a specific reason.
I also designed a magazine for the regisatred blind (yes weird I know!) but these people would be able to see up close so the type was size 16 and the colours white black and yellow were used.
(The RNIB i think reccommend size 14 but this is a recommendation)

I also made a range of type rules posters you can check them out at

Hope that helps :)
I probably depends on the font... some will work in 9pt, some will seem very small. I generally go with 10 or 11 pt if I want people to read it. But try it, test it amongst family and friends for readability and if necessary edit the text. There's probably too many words anyway!!