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

Christian metan0r at gmx.de
Wed Mar 16 17:51:15 CET 2011


Hi,
I recently started to dabble in typography. There's a lot to learn 
there. The proposed book sure is a good start, but there are also lots 
of online resources (e.g. www.typophile.com - their forum is filled with 
interesting discussions about your question).
What I've learned in the last months is that there are no hard rules - 
only guidelines. When it comes to choosing a font for a book, it depends 
(like already mentioned) on the kind of book. A dragon-fantasy book may 
take a different font than a childrens book or a futuristic novel. 
Compare for example Monotype Centaur to ITC Stone Serif. Then again, the 
font should not distract from the contents of the book, but it can help 
adding a little "soul" to it.
You also have to consider the features you need. Do you need greek or 
russian characters? Do you need small caps? How is the ligature support? 
Maybe oldstyle numbers would be nice? Do the italics please you or are 
they too fancy and somehow don't fit in? How many cuts (italic, 
semibold, bold) do you need?
Another tip would be: go to the library or check the books you own for a 
pleasing design and adopt it (I think in this case, copying/ "stealing" 
is a good thing ;). Sometimes the typeface used is mentioned on the 
publishing information on the first couple of pages. If not, use 
www.whatthefont.com and a scan/photo to identify or use 
www.identifont.com with the Q&A system.
And theres always the list of more or less safe fonts (no claim to be 
complete):
Arnhem
Bembo
Caslon
Dante
Fournier
Garamond
Goudy (Old Style)
Hoefler Text
Janson Text
Minion
Palatino
Sabon
Stone

And finally: Your budget. Are you willing to buy fonts? That would 
probably come in at 30-60 bucks (but that's nothing if you are serious 
aboutt your book). If not, some of the above can be obtained for free 
(still being commercial fonts, e.g. Minion with Adobe Reader, Hoefler 
Text is on Mac OSX...) but only a few are really free. Apart from the 
TeX-fonts I can thing of Linux Libertine (not resticted to Linux, 
despite the name), Vollkorn or some from "The League of moveable type".

As a final inspiration, this beauty:
http://fontsinuse.com/moby-dick-the-arion-press-edition/

Take care,
Christian


Am 20:59, schrieb Curiouslearn:
> Cecil, thanks for asking this question. Even though the answers
> may/will be subjective, it is quite likely that there are people here
> who have given some thought to font choice. I agree with previous
> responses that reading a book on typography would certainly be
> helpful. Nevertheless, I am interested in hearing what fonts people
> like (if they do not mind sharing). I, and perhaps some others, may
> learn about a few fonts.
>
> Bharat
>
>
> On Mon, Mar 14, 2011 at 8:31 PM, David Rogers
> <davidandrewrogers at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> * Cecil Westerhof<cldwesterhof at gmail.com>  [2011-03-14 12:44]:
>>
>>> 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.
>>>
>>> Do you use other fonts when using a printed book?
>>
>>
>> I don't think this question can have one answer. There are many good
>> answers, depending on the kind of book (or other printed material).
>>
>> 1. I think the layout of the page itself can have a great deal to do
>> with whether a certain font looks good (e.g. amount of white space,
>> length of lines, etc). Paying proper attention to the "gross" aspects of
>> your layout, such as margins and line heights, goes a long way to
>> improving the appearance of the whole work, and brings out the best in
>> whichever font you choose.
>>
>> 2. To some extent, different fonts can suit different material (e.g. a
>> book of poems vs a financial report, or a textbook vs a novel). For
>> extended reading, the conventional wisdom is to choose a
>> "normal-looking" font that doesn't call attention to itself too much,
>> but obviously you also want one that is at least somewhat attractive to
>> look at.
>>
>> 3. Frankly, giving people what they are already used to is often the
>> best plan - probably more often than typographers would care to admit.
>> In my opinion, variation for its own sake is over-rated and over-used.
>>
>> --
>> David
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