Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fun with Fonts

There are so many fonts available so you can really have some fun with the design of your book. There are decorative fonts, plain fonts, and everything in between. So, how do you choose? Do you go for the “look” or “readability” or both? These are great questions that don’t have simple answers.

Don Campbell has done a great job of explaining (in easy to understand terms) the intricacies of fonts. I would suggest that you read it. Here is a link to his page:


Don’s suggestion is a great one and I would agree with him to do the following test of the font that you want to use in your book. “Print a full page of text in the format of your book and at the page size of your book. Cut those pages in their final book size and place them into a book that is about the right size to see how they look and “feel” in a book. Scan your eyes back and forth and see how readable the text is. Test how easy it is to rapidly scan from the end of one line to the beginning of the next line. If you carry out this kind of text, varying the font, the font size, the leading and the book formatting you will start to realize that fonts which look fine in a small sample may be tiring or unpleasant to read in a book. In the end, the choice is yours and may actually affect whether your book gets read all the way through.”

The most common font that we see in the books we publish is Times New Roman. It is a very readable font. When you have chosen the fonts that you want in your book, you will need to make sure that the publisher can print those fonts or you can make a PDF of the file so it will print correctly. (See my post on File Formats for more information about this.) Happy font hunting!

Chris Stevenson cs@sgenealogy.com www.sgenealogy.com

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