Guidelines for Publications

All publication and printed materials produced for the general public should be available in a variety of formats that facilitate easy access to information.

All printed materials should be produced using larger print, contrasting colours and easy to read English, that not only assists people who are vision impaired, but also improves readability for people with learning or literacy difficulties, people for whom English is a second language and for the population at large.


Text should be printed with the highest possible contrast. Light (white or yellow) letters on a dark (black) background are more readable than dark letters on a light background. However, dark on light is acceptable provided there is a high color contrast between type and background (70% is recommended).

There should also be high tonal contrast between drawings/ illustrations/ pictures and background. Always use a plain background.


Very high contrasts are difficult to achieve with colour combinations other than black and white. Different colours may be important for aesthetic or other reasons, but it is better to use such combinations only for larger or highlighted text, such as headlines and titles. Maintain as high a contrast of light and dark as possible. A good combination might be dark text on a light pastel background.


This should be large, at least 12 point, though the relationship between readability and point size varies somewhat with typefaces. For large-print documents, 16 to 18 point should be used.


Leading, or spacing between lines of text enhance the clarity of the text and make it easier to read. Many partially sighted people have difficulty finding the start of the next line while reading, and will therefore benefit from indented paragraphs.


The main body of text should be set with standard use of capitals and lower case. Where possible, avoid styles such as italics, slanted, small caps or all caps.

Bold versions of any typeface are often more legible because the letters are thicker.


Avoid complicated, decorative fonts and instead use fonts with easily recognised characters – San serif fonts such as helvetica, swiss and arial.

Letter spacing

Text with close letter spacing (such as ‘narrow’ fonts) can be particularly difficult for people with low vision, especially those with central visual-field defects. Where possible, spacing should be wide. Underlining should not connect with the letters being underscored.


Avoid using glossy surfaces as they reduce legibility, matt or dull-coated paper is preferable. Paper should have sufficient weight to avoid ‘show through’


  • Margins should be flush at the left and ragged right. Do not ‘justify’ the right margin.
  • A wide binding margin is especially helpful in books and other bound material, because it makes it easier to hold the volume flat. Many visual aids, such as stand and video magnifiers, are easiest to use on a flat surface


People with vision impairment often find it difficult to distinguish one document from others that are similar in appearance. Use of distinctive colours, sizes and formats can be especially helpful.


  • Use clear, straight forward English
  • Ensure that graphic material relates to the text
  • Ensure that appropriate language is used when including information regarding people with a disability.
  • When listing contact details, always ensure that the TTY (telephone typewriter) number is included.


Publications must be available in alternate formats upon request.

  • Large Print
  • Audio cassette /CD
  • Braille
  • Easy English
  • Audio file or as a Word doc. on web site

The availability of alternate formats should be prominently advertised within the text.

These guidelines have been developed in association with Vision Australia.

Contact details

Information available in Braille and on audio tape.

454 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong VIC 3144
Tel 03 9864 9222
Fax 03 9864 9210

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