Best Fonts For ...


So hopefully this is the best forum for this (as opposed to “Scrivener for Windows”) or whatever.

What are your preferred fonts for typing (as in working in) and publishing? And talking of publishing would you use a different font when publishing an ebook as opposed to a book that you were having printed?

I haven’t actually got any preferred fonts, I’m too new to all this but it’s become of interest to me as I approach the end of my first novel (“It’s taken me a long time to read a book but there you go …” sorry Mr. Connolly). I’ve mainly been using Times New Roman to work in but I’m playing with Lucida Bright for publishing.

So anyway, what do you use?


I started writing on a typewriter, so I prefer some variant of Courier. Courier Prime is my current favorite.

I watched a programme on TV here in the UK recently, which included a section on fonts. That section included the presenter going to a type foundry and talking to designers and was actually interesting. But I very nearly switched over at the start of that section when the presenter—well-known and I can see him in my mind’s eye, but can I remember his name …?—said, and this is the gist, but not verbatim reporting, “The font you use for your documents says a lot about you. I like to show my individuality, so my favourite font is … (wait for it!) … Calibri. I never want to be without my beloved Calibri.”

I thought, what an idiot! Every single time I have to open a .docx in Pages or NWP on my Mac, it tells me that the font Calibri is missing and will be replaced … even when the document is in Chinese, or everything on the page is in TNR. How to show your individuality: always use one of Microsoft’s default fonts! :smiley:

My default font is Adobe Garamond Pro—and I know I’m not being terribly individual in that—as it looks great on the screen and absolutely great on paper. Palatino looks clean and crisp on the iPad too. For work I share with my Windows-using collaborator, I use TNR; I find it boring and not very attractive, but it’s safe.


PS I don’t even know what Calibri looks like!

The mantra of people who know far more about fonts than I do, is (I’ve been told) “Serif for paper, sans-serif for the screen”. This, I’ve also been told, is purely to aid readability on the two media. So… I favour San Francisco for the screen (I’m sure Apple have done their research), and one of the Sabon fonts (which I believe is historically related to Garamond, Mark) for the page - the Sabon family were recommended to me by an influential British graphic designer (he designed the original Channel 4 and the more recent BBC logos) a long time ago, and I like its distinctiveness, clean lines and readability.

Hm, I think sans-serif for the screen only applies to old low resolution displays — retina displays handle the details in a serif font wonderfully.

My absolute favorite serif, with tons of character is Dolly by the type foundry Underwear: — I’d also love to use Greta Text Pro (recommended by a typographer friend as a super flexible print font) but it is €560!!!

For anyone who loves to read about typefaces, the annual list by typographica is great: … s-of-2015/

Mark, on that list there is a gorgeous new Garamond release, sadly also super expensive:

So open-source / free fonts are the only way to really be able to work with collaborators without hitting licensing issues (I do force collaborators to install fonts for common working, I refuse to use Times New Roman or Arial!), for that there is a nice Garamond here:

Don’t get me started on monospaced fonts for programming…

Depends on the language, no? If you’re using something like Python that depends on whitespace, monospace is good.

Oh yes, I didn’t mean to malign monospace fonts at all (I was being affirmative of the discussions we could have on new programming fonts), in fact I think designing an elegant readable monospace font is a work of art! I’m a big fan of the recent band of monospace fonts which use ligatures to make syntactic elements like ← or => more readable…

Aha! Okay, well then, I’ll cancel the alert. :slight_smile:

@Hugh, I’m with @nontroppo on the (old) question of sans-serif on screen and serif on paper, as all the screens I use—only my iPad and iPhone have retina screens—have a fine enough dot-pitch to render AGP very clearly. I know about Sabon, but I already have far more fonts on my machines than I will ever use and don’t really need another. I originally got Adobe Garamond when I bought my first Mac around 1991 and bought PageMaker which included a free licence for AG. When InDesign first came out, I bought that, which upgraded me to AGP and also gave me Adobe Caslon Pro and Adobe Jenson Pro. I sometimes think of using one of them, but find myself drifting back to AGP.

@nontroppo, I have the EBGaramond font set installed on my Macs and even have it available to install on my iPad. I’ve tried using it, but think AGP is cleaner and better kerned to my eye. As for getting Shirley to install it … she’s in Fuzhou and I’m in London, she’s not that computer savvy and it’s many years since I did any installation stuff on Windows, so I’d rather put up with the boring TNR than have to do the long-distance trouble-shooting. As it is, I’m worried about getting her updated to Scrivener 1.9.5 in case she has problems getting it to run as others have, so I’m waiting for the guys to come out with a first update before trying.

But back to fonts. Some 50 years ago in Bangkok, I found in the British Council library a wonderful, large, 2 volume history of type and printing by a man whose name escapes me. A little while later, I discovered that the author in fact occupied rooms in the basement of the Oriental Faculty in Cambridge while it was located in Brooklands Avenue—the Faculty moved to the Sidgwick Avenue site at the beginning of my fourth year studying Chinese—where he apparently had what amounted to a museum of type and typography. All that time I spent on the first floor in the Chinese Department and I never knew he was there! But apparently he was very reclusive, and might not have welcomed an intrusion by an inquisitive undergraduate. It was from that book that I first learnt about Plantin, Caslon, Garamond, Baskerville and many of the other great early type designers.


I really like Baskerville for text with a traditional traditional feel. Garamond is a lovely font, but the italics don’t work for me as some of the letters have odd angles to them that jar (I don’t know if that’s also true of the Adobe Garamond Pro version). Garamond does have a truly lovely italic ampersand, though!

When I’m looking for something a bit more modern I use Merriweather, in both serif and sans versions.

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My flavourite font is: just … how you say … saying :smiling_imp: .

[size=150]Le D[/size]

For most of my work I use Linux Libertine Serif and Libertine Biolinum (both do very well with secondary scripts and are free) Libertine Fonts.

For collaborative work I find Minion Pro and Adobe Garamond Pro to be excellent choices. I like the italic of AGP better than MP, but overall Minion Pro seems to stand up well in a variety of settings.


I second all that! John Tranter, Sydney, Australia.

From Butterick’s Practical Typography by Matthew Butterick, quote here.

But of course, there’s a reason it’s “default” in MB’s words. And I’m guessing that’s because it works in a great many situations…

Thanks for the link to Butterick’s site. Very interesting reading.

Has anyone put a shout-out for Book Antiqua/Palatino or Century Schoolbook yet? :slight_smile:

You guys are old school. I use the same font that Kindle books are written in when you read from the e-reader: Bookerly. Makes me feel all professional and the like. I had to install it though.


I have really bad dyslexia so I use fonts called Dyslexie and Open Dyslexic. They probably won’t appeal to people who don’t have dyslexia, but I would hate to be without them now. I use Open Dyslexic on my Kobo Aura e-reader, because it came as a preset option, but I downloaded Dyslexie onto my MacBook and therefore use it when ever I can make a font choice.

I have Dyslexie set to default in Scrivener, but as I was using that font before I got Scrivener I don’t know if it’s an option available to all Scrivener users. If it isn’t in the Scrivener font options and you think that it might help then it can be found by searching for Dyslexie Font, plus, it’s free if you only need it for one computer. I know that I sound a little evangelical, and that isn’t really my intent, but I do love it so much.

I’m quite sure that this was not the sort of reply that the OP was looking for when he asked his question, :blush:, but I hope it helpful, none the less.

:wink: Tumsh.

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Hi Tumsh,
Just DucDuced this lot:

Welcome aboard Scrivener, Tumsh. I’m sure your OP will be of great use to plenty of folk aboard Scriv.
Take care