by anthony on 09/30/10 at 11:45 pm
When designers talk about leading, chances are they aren’t talking about mechanical pencils. What they’re really talking about is the spacing between text lines, measured from baseline to baseline.
The baseline of a line of text is where the center of the letters sit. The leading is the amount of vertical space from the baseline of one line of text to the baseline of the next line of text. In CSS terms, another name for leading is line-height.
The average leading for single spaced text is around 15 points. Unfortunately, this default leading size is not legible enough. When you use a small leading size, it makes your text difficult for users to read. If your website publishes articles, it’s important to pay attention to the leading of your text, otherwise users could struggle to read your articles.
A good guideline to follow is to set the leading to your type size plus 6-8 points. For example, if your type size is 12 points, the ideal leading for your text would be 18-20 points. Larger leading sizes create more whitespace around each text line, giving the text more visual clarity and making it easier for users to read.
After spending all that time writing the text for your article or website, why make it difficult for users to read? A simple adjustment in leading will make a world of difference on your text, and your users’ reading experience.