The 10-15 Word Rule for Paragraphs

When designing paragraphs, my aim is to have 10-15 words per line. This is a universal rule I've found helpful across all types of projects.

If a paragraph is fewer than 10 words per line, the reader spends too much time traveling from one line to the next. It’s like going downhill skiing but spending half your time on the chair lift.

Fewer words are fine for small sections, but not for body copy (paragraphs).

If a paragraph uses more than 15 words per line, the reader may lose track of where they are. Click the image below to see for yourself (works best on desktop). When your eye is on the word “of” on the first line, the hard edge on the left becomes a little blurry. You lose it in your peripheral vision and become slightly disoriented.

Although the impact is minor, it can become tiring with repetition, similar to reading through an extensive terms & conditions page. 10-15 words per line is the sweet spot.

It’s not so short that you lose focus on the content, and not so long that you lose your place on the page.