Is using a bigger font better than the regular?

Is using a bigger font better than the regular?

Is using a bigger font better than the regular or default one?

I sat down relaxing, drinking my cup of hot coffee while appreciating the beautiful looking codes on my screen. My colleague hovering from out of nowhere, asked: "Why your fonts are so big?"

Photo by Merlene Goulet / Unsplash

Almost a couple of years later, until recently, I started asking myself the same question. Is it because of my eyes strains more?

I usually sit down half a metre from screens at work that are 24 inches. I use big fonts so that my eyes are not strained. I have been following this routine in most of my professional years, maybe even starting when I started programming at University.

Since last week, however, I start noticing that the best looking programming fonts such as IBM Plex Mono, Fira Code and Hack looked ugly on my computer. The issue is not with font rendering, as Ubuntu 18.04 comes with improved open Font patches such as integrating Infinality.

Other applications like the minimal markdown editor, Typora, displays the fonts brilliantly depending on the respective themes.

So I instead choose to reduce the font to see if there is any difference. Indeed, most of the fonts have a noticeable difference. Fira Code appears attractive right of the bat and marvelous to code with. Hack, a highly prized font looks stunning, both on bright and dark themes.

My biggest concern: are my eyes going to strain more if the font is too small? To a degree, it's definitely the case for almost everyone I know, but I've also worked with colleagues who used tiny fonts - and they had no issue whatever.

The regular or default font size of 14px (depending on OS) is good enough for me. I enjoy working better than I usually have with fonts being 15px or 16px. Some of them are deformed and are quite an eyesore to read and program for a whole day.

So in life, not everything that is bigger is better - often times, like happiness comes in smaller packages, they do as well.