One of the most common questions asked by potential self-publishers who want to design and compose their own book is: "What font should I use?"
I'm always relieved when someone ask the question . At least, that means they're not just going to blindly use the ubiquitous default fonts that are found in most word processing programs.
However, there is almost no way to answer the question. It's like asking, "What is the best car model to get to work each day?"
You will get a different answer from almost everyone you ask. And they could all be correct.
However, I am willing to offer a strict rule: do not use Times New Roman or Times Roman. This will mark your book as the work of an amateur at first glance. And there are other reasons, very practical, not to use it. Times Roman and Times New Roman were designed for narrow newspaper columns, originally for the London Times in the 1930s. Today, almost no newspaper still uses it. How, or why, it has become a standard word processor, I have no idea. The font tends to be very tight, making the block of text on the page dense and dark.
Here are two precautions to take before moving on to a few recommendations:
- The font you choose may depend on how your book is printed. If you look closely at most serif fonts (like Times), you will notice that there are thick and thin portions of each letter. If your book will be digitally printed, you should move away from fonts with very thin segments. They tend to become too weak and impair readability.
- Do not be fooled by the thousands of font choices available. Most are specialized policies adapted to titles, titles, advertising, emotional impact, and so on. Never use more than a few fonts in a single book – we usually choose a serif font for the body of the main text. and the titles in the chapters. According to the book, we can select a third font for captions on photos, charts, tables, etc. (or simply a size, weight or style different from the other two). We can choose a special font to use on the cover for the title and subtitle.
For 90% of the books, the following fonts are excellent choices:
- Linat Palatino
- Antiqua book (tends to tighten, so you may have to release it a little)
- Goudy Old Style
- Adobe Garamond Pro (tends to have a short x
- Bookman (the name gives it rather, is not it?)
- Century Schoolbook (tends to be a little broad, creating additional pages)
You should review several paragraphs of each font to see any adjustments you may find necessary in areas such as character spacing and kerning. You want to avoid small confusions, like:
- "vv" (double v) which looks like the letter "w"
- "cl" (c l) which looks like the letter "d"
Such things can make the reading experience boring.
If you ask other designers, you will probably get other suggestions, but I would not be surprised to see at least some of these suggestions included in their recommendations. .
You may encounter books with more unusual font choices, but there are often good reasons for this. The book is perhaps a humor book for which the designer has chosen a light font, for example. These decisions must be taken carefully and taking into account the effects on readability.
Never decide on the font or font size just based on how it looks on your monitor. Most paperbacks are printed in 10 or 11 points, but some use larger or smaller formats. If 12 points seem too big and 11 too small, you can try 11.5 – no need to stick with whole sizes. You might be surprised how much difference a half point (or even a quarter point) can make on the overall "feel" of the page.
You must also decide on the appropriate direction (pronounced as the metal), which is the distance between the baseline of a line of text and the baseline of the next line, measured in points. The result is usually expressed as a ratio between the font size in points and the selected leading points. So, you could say that you defined the body of the text in Georgia 11/14 or Bookman 10 / 12.5 (size of 11 points with 14 points in advance and size of 10 points with 12.5 points respectively).
Work in decimal inches, causing you to convert points to inches. A standard point is 0.0138 inches. Professional composition / layout programs (such as Adobe InDesign) allow you to use dots and picas to define all measures and type parameters. although you can also specify these settings in various other units (including inches).
As a general rule, book designers develop several models for the interior of each book, using different fonts, sizes, and derivations. They must compose a few pages of the manuscript and print them with the same page settings they plan to use in the final book (for example, 6 x 9 "pages). This allows the customer to compare them side by side and evaluate them to improve readability and overall appearance.
Do not forget your target audience. Very young readers and very old readers do better with a larger type. Highly text-dense books with long paragraphs often require more characters and a larger font.
In the end, you must choose based on your intestinal reaction to the compound samples. It's never bad to ask other people to read it and tell you if one option is easier to read than another.
If you want to know the typography and make the appropriate decisions, I recommend
The complete manual of typography by James Felici
The elements of typographic style de Robert Bringhurst
Design and Making of Books by Pete Masterson
For Those Who Stress the Use of Microsoft Word to Compose Books, You Should Really Buy and Study Perfect Pages by Aaron Shepard. He is the reigning guru of how to do it.
It is far better to buy professional layout software, then learn all you can about typography and how to apply these principles to book design. for you. This last class will give you more time to develop a dynamic marketing plan for your latest book and start writing your next book!