For Latin fonts you typically see anywhere from 12-16px for the main body of text. Medium.com has 21px for article body text which is larger than most. GitHub has 12px for code. Twitter has 14px for tweet text. Quora and StackOverflow have 15px. Depends on the font as well, but not to a large degree.

However, when I view scripts like Devanagari as क ख ग घ ङ ..., or Chinese 诶 比 西 ..., I don't know if it is because I am not used to the script or what exactly, but it is difficult for me to see the curves in the characters precisely at the given font size (like listed in the first paragraph). So I'm wondering if there are standard ranges for font sizes for non-Latin scripts like Devangari, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Greek, etc. So it is a bit easier to read. At about 18px I can start to see better, and about 24px is good for Devanagari and Chinese. Wondering at what size native readers read the script, given standard eyesight / glasses.

  • 1
    This is an interesting question but I'm not sure how valid our answers would be. I would suggest you find some native readers and test them for perceived comfort, speed of reading, and comprehension at different sizes. I would also be wary of using px in a modern multi-resolution world: 12px is close to 12pt on a 72ppi screen but a retina screen may (depending on the implementation) render 12px as around 6pt. Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:53
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    I would recommend investigating how W3 suggest the handling of international languages. w3.org/TR/klreq w3c.github.io/clreq w3.org/International/docs/indic-layout While none of these documents specifically call out a minimum font size. They present specific information about text layout, spacing, and font face selections that contribute to overall readability. My personal opinion (which is irrelevant). I find Korean readable starting at 15pt @ 72ppi. 동아일보 (Dong-A Ilbo newspaper) uses a custom 12pt font. Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 15:19
  • The likely reason that Medium are recommending 21px is because they're using Macs. :) No really, have you ever seen how terrible 16px body, let alone 13px! text in comments and sidebars is on a Mac? If you're on a Windows box you have to zoom out to 67% to see what Mac users are seeing. And it’s really ugly.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 0:53
  • WCAG 2.1's success criterion 1.4.3 references a definition of large text that reads, "with at least 18 point or 14 point bold or font size that would yield equivalent size for Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) fonts". The fifth note to that definition also mentions CJK but unfortunately doesn't mention a specific font size.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 16:23

3 Answers 3


Among the most widely used writing systems in the world, Chinese characters (Hanzi) - in their simplified variant as used in mainland China - have the highest graphical density.

So to ensure that a UI is CJK enabled, the Chinese character set is the 'golden constraint' you want to design to, as a font size and line spacing capable of displaying Hanzi will accommodate most other writing systems, including Devanagari and certainly Hebrew and Arabic.

Japanese uses some Chinese characters (Kanji = Hanzi), whereas Korean - though also Chinese inspired - is broadly an alphabetical script with grapheme-phoneme correlation... unlike Chinese, which correlates graphemes (i.e. distinct characters) to morphemes (simplistically speaking, minimal grammatical building blocks). The last bit is not trivial - it leads to lower overall character count in each sentence (most Chinese words are spelled with just two characters ).

Typically, and I've had native speakers / readers confirm this, the most common Hanzi characters require a 16 x 16 pixel minimum bounding box to display at a discernible resolution.

A good if perhaps inexact test is to pick a Wikipedia article that has a Chinese version - the language tag is 'zh' - toggle that to Chinese and isolate a few lines of text with Photoshop or a similar tool. Draw bounding boxes around numerous characters; you will find they do not always sit 'square' in the bounding box but will leave 1 or 2 pixel rows on top, left, right, or bottom unused.

Native Chinese speakers have also pointed out an interesting cultural typography tidbit to me: Most people who have grown up with the Hanzi writing system are used to discerning much subtler differences among characters displayed or printed with much higher graphical densities than are commonly found in Western (alphabet type) body text. One look at Chinese print media or even genuinely Chinese websites will give you a sense that there is a lower perceived need for whitespace than on a Western equivalent. Another good example are Apple user manuals, which tend to use fairly small Hanzi, often in hairline weight (!) with the end result that the Chinese text consumes about the same amount of space as Western text.

Another good resource is Google's Noto font project, one of the objectives of which is to create a global, universal font that addresses some of the uncertainties you mention in your question. The name comes from 'No Tofu', which refers to the portrait-oriented white-fill rectangles - like tofu, only inedible - that some browsers display when body text comprises multiple scripts, but whichever 'foreign' character set does not load. Interestingly, the Chinese Noto has five or six (if memory serves) stroke weight variants, covering a range from bold to hairline.

For accessibility reasons I would go bigger than the 16 x 16 pixel bounding box for Chinese. The 24 x 24 px size you mention should be a good base; with that, and appropriately adjusted line spacing you'll be able to display most other character sets of the world without any particular one looking excessively huge.


I've asked a few of my Chinese friends, the answer for standard Chinese character font size in main body is: 12; Title is: 14; The paragraph spacing is 18 "pound".

This standard font size is particularly used with the font type: Song. Or typeface: Kai.


The standard font size varies from language to language. Besides the Roman script, I'm most familiar with Indic scripts e.g. Bangla, Devnagari, Tamil etc. The standard body text is 15/16. The comfortably legible smallest size (for small-print for example) is often 11/12.

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