by Erik Loehfelm,

When designing for mobile, keep in mind that you are typically not designing on mobile. We’re currently working on an initiative for SoDA – The Society of Digital Agencies ( – to create the quarterly SoDA Report on iPad and Kindle Fire. Part of our standard process is to frequently test our work on device to understand the impact our font selections have on clarity, readability, and balance.

On the SoDA Report project, we are designing both platforms at the same time. Typographic solutions across the iOS and Kindle platform must be thoughtfully considered independently from one another. These differences in type choice in our design tools would be subtle, but on device, they are dramatic. For instance, in our project the body copy is set as:

  • iOS Body Copy Style: Helvetica Light 16/20
  • Kindle Fire Body Copy Style: Helvetica Light 19/23

If I were to guess on a font setting without the product on device, I would not have guessed these settings for an optimal, readable experience. Be sure to frequently test your font selections on your device even if you simply capture a screen grab of it and send it to your mobile. View it in the sun. View it in a dimly lit room. View it in the environment your users will consume it in. Be critical and adjust as necessary.