[NTG-context] What are the best fonts to use

Pontus Lurcock pont at talvi.net
Mon Mar 14 23:19:40 CET 2011

On Mon 14 Mar 2011, Cecil Westerhof wrote:

> At the moment I use for my ebook:
> \usetypescript[palatino][texnansi]
> \setupbodyfont[palatino,rm,12pt]
> Does not look to bad, but layout is not my forte. So if people have
> tips about the fonts to use, I like to hear them.

A discussion about ‘best fonts’ might be long and entertaining, but
highly subjective and probably off-topic for this list. MkIV lets you
easily use any OTF font, so the selection is huge. One way to approach
it is to draw up a list of requirements (matched Greek/Cyrillic,
companion math fonts, small caps, etc., and of course price if you are
considering non-free fonts) and narrow the range. For the
‘traditional’ TeX fonts, I find that http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/
is a good resource.

Once you've narrowed your list according to objective measures, it's a
matter of taste. I'd recommend reading Robert Bringhurst's /The
Elements of Typographic Style/ as a good way to start thinking more
deeply about these things. And there are (I am sure) other mailing
lists where discussion of the best fonts would be entirely

> Do you use other fonts when using a printed book?

Some fonts (e.g. a lot of Microsoft ones) are specifically designed to
look acceptable on a computer screen (very low-resolution compared to
print), though that doesn't necessarily mean that they look bad on
paper. So if you're designing for both screen and paper, screen is
probably the tighter constraint.

(I am still very much an amateur when it comes to typography, so
please do not take this as anything like expert advice.)

Hope this helps,


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