Distribution of type sizes and colors in research reports

To get my arms around patterns or conventions that might appear when survey reports choose type sizes and colors, I looked at 10 reports from different law firms. In this unscientific sample, I chose the first two pages of substantive discussion, meaning I skipped the cover, table of contents, introductory letter, and other material to focus on the initial commentary.

This foray counted how many different sizes of type appeared on the two pages as well as the number of type colors. It is difficult to be sure when type fonts differ, but size is more evident, so the findings here should be directionally correct. Neither count includes any type sizes or colors in plots or tables. Whether the font was bold or italics was irrelevant.

In the plot below, the names of the reports appear on the left. The bar to its right shows for the firm’s report the number of font sizes that were counted (in the blue, darker, near segment) and the number of colors (in the red, farthest segment). For example in Seyfarth Shaw RE 2017, its pages use seven sizes and three colors. By contrast, the report at the bottom, Berger Singerman SthFlaRE 2017, uses one size and one color.


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