Friday, July 18, 2008

Schiess's basic document design for lawyers

Schiess's basic document design for lawyers

Main text
Use a serifed font for the main text of your document. Serifed fonts look more professional and are easier to read when printed on paper. I like Constantia, Georgia, and Century Schoolbook. This blog is in Georgia.

Use a boldface sans serif font for headings; the contrast with the serifed main text makes the headings stand out and makes the document easier to skim. I like the boldface versions of Corbel, Arial, and Verdana. These headings are in Verdana.

If you like the look of full justification--neat vertical lines on each margin--then turn on the hyphenation function to reduce odd gaps and spaces between words. But it is fine to left justify any legal document.

Unless required by rule or your boss, avoid double-spaced text. It takes up space, wastes paper, and is hard to skim.

Type size
Using Times New Roman 12-point type is less than ideal. It is too dense, and with 1-inch margins, it makes the text look crowded. Either increase the size to 13 points or use one of the serifed fonts I recommended; they are all more readable in 12-point than Times New Roman.

No matter what font or point size you use, push your margins to 1.25 inches. The document will be less crowded.

Left alignment
Try to avoid centered headings. Left-aligned headings look neater and are easier to skim.

Do not use ALL CAPS or underlining. They are vestiges of the typewriter. In their places, use boldface and italics.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home