Do fonts matter?

Saw this article on the BBC news web site:

It reminded me that I didn’t much like Optima until Scrivener’s default converted me (so that now I use it in all sorts of contexts). I have a sneaking fondness for Georgia, too. But at the back of my mind is a constant niggle that maybe I have shockingly bad taste, and that everyone else thinks my font choices are plebby or otherwise ill-advised.

So, what do you think? Do fonts matter?

I always send my completed manuscript to my agent and editor in Georgia. It’s easy on the eyes (as opposed to a sans serif font which is tiring on a full-length MS). It’s much more pleasing than Times New Roman and it produces the right number of words per line.

And I’ve checked: agent and editor both like it.

I do use something less formal for the slugline, though (that’s the header) since it won’t be printed on the actual book.

IMHO the thing about fonts is that you need to use the best one for the job in hand, and when it comes to submitting a novel to a publisher, you should choose a font that’s easy to read and doesn’t distract their attention from the content.


If you like Georgia, maybe you could like Didot more. Georgia is strongly inspired to Didot, that to my eyes look better on print (even if it might not be more readable than Georgia onscreen).

I don’t know if Didot is standard on Windows machines (as it is on the Mac). If not, Georgia has the advantage of making file exchange a bit easier.


My favourite font is Transylvania. My East European blood relatives use it all the time. :smiling_imp:

reads article Sheesh. I like Papyrus.

Now, I can look at some text and guess the font and font size, though not as accurately as when I practiced more. And I will never write in Arial, myself, but as long as a font’s easily legible and fits the context, I don’t have a problem with someone else using it. I’m far more likely to nitpick over a sign’s tpyos and poor color choices than I am the font.

Though I admittedly can’t read cursive very well…

I admit that the only horror feeling I could report from my only day spent in Transylvania, was the parade of politicians’ cars going to the Peles castle for a meeting. Otherwise, I found Carpatians among the most beautiful and sweetest mountains in Europe. But I ate garlic, before my trip…


Palo my friend,
Did you taste the local peasants? hmmm hmm! Some of the most succulent on the whole of the European land mass. Arrgh! dodgy word there!! :imp:
Eat…well my friend.

I will admit to avoiding a complete read of Dracula until it arrived in my “over -priced-book-of-the-month-club”. Now that I owned a copy, and I had aid for it, I read it. Unlike the plodding through of Livey’s The history of Rome (yes, every last word; never had I wished for blindness until then) and unlike the interesting interpretation of Plato’'s The Republic nor the highly thought provoking [i}The Prince[/i], Machiavelli, I found Bram’s approach both entertaining and refreshing. I was able to put it down when I needed to (not a captive of the read) but I was always ready to pick it up again. Generally I am not a fan of gothic/horror type stuff (would a real gothic/horror writer care to tell me where Dracula falls on the scale) but I may need to re-think my preferences.

Any way. Sorry for off topicking the of topic thread.

Dont worry about it. Just dont let snort get her hands on ‘The Prince’ :open_mouth:

Yes, fonts do matter!

I recently purchased Calluna. A classical looking font, but with a modern touch. Suitable for both screen and paper.


Here is a simple test


Or is it a strain on your eye?

Typography is an “art” with a lot of science behind it. Is it legible at small sizes or certain colors. Does it match the “theme” of the over all presentation? Does it “clash”? Does it look like vomit on the page?

Fonts make all the difference in the world.

Some simple “rules” of thumb are

8-12 point roman text for a “paragraph” style. Sans serif is harder to read in large blocks of text (like books or newspapers) but are excellent for short blocks of text that need to “stand out” (like foot notes or side bar comments) ON PAPER. On Computer screens San Serif are actually easier to read at smaller sizes due to screen resolutions and how text is displayed on screen.

The “3 font” rule. This rule can of course be broken but is a loose guideline to follow simply because when you start using more than 3 fonts things become very “busy” and leads to design vomit.

Use BOLD and Italics sparingly. Don’t bold or Italicize a whole wall of text. Instead try a font change. (Three font rule works great here) 1 Font for Headline. 1 For paragraph, 1 for “standing out”. Use Bold /Italics for Emphasis (like headlines, quotes, or emphasis in a phrase) and use them sparingly.

Decide if the final design is for Digital Display (Monitor/Web/TV) or if it is for Paper or “flat display” (banner, sign, book, poster, billboard, etc) and design accordingly.

And decide if it is for a certain “niche” or purpose. (Example is using COURIER for code).

For certain works certain “fonts” are the “norm”. (Example screenwriting, or manuscript submission) versus a final “layout” comp (Indesign layout of a brochure). Each “area” has people who are used to seeing things a certain way. So if you are submitting “code” to a “coder” you would pick COURIER as that is the “norm”. If you don’t know just look at some examples.

Good font usuage not only makes it easy and comfortable for the reader but it also helps grab attention or direct the reader easily (navigation). Look at text books and you will find some that are easy to navigate and easy to find information and some will confuse you, make it appear as if things are poorly written or are hard to follow.

PS: If you ever use “Brush Script” go ahead and shoot yourself now. It is an atrocious font that is hard to read and looks about as appeasing as Boy George shagging with Richard Simmons while both are wearing sequenced satin tye-dyed leotards grinding while “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” is playing on a high volume 8 track.

Most “cool” fonts are “decorative” are mainly used for HEADLINES or LOGO design.
(The best “quality” fonts IMHO are Adobe Fonts )

And in all honesty, unless you are a Designer (Web/Graphic) in all reality you will probably never use more than 30 different fonts and you will never use all 30 on one “project” unless you are building a “font Book”.

Some “variations” that are nice (here is a good generic list of common ones

Serif Font

Nice Alternatives

San Serif
GENERIC = Helvetica Arial

Nice Alternatives

Avant Garde

Monospace Fonts (Code or “Typewriter” fonts)
GENERIC = Courier

Nice Alternatives

Lucida Console (Many Lucida variations)
Andale Mono

Script Fonts or “Hand Written” Fonts (Decorative)
GENERIC = Brush Script - “The Vomit Font” Old English - Chancery - Comic Sans

Nice Alternatives
Dom Casual
Kuenstler Script
Monotype Corsiva

Note: One really cool thing is to find a place that will design your OWN custom font. Then fill out a card using your own HANDWRITING. (You have to make every letter).

This is one “cool” way to customize your own “look” with your very own handwriting and its “chump change” for cost (I think around $10.00?) where as a professionally designed can cost much more (Example: Adobe® Font Folio® 11 software includes more than 2,300 fonts from the Adobe Type Library and costs $2,599)
So you want your own custom font of your own handwriting for chump change?

So yes. Fonts matter. Just read a book on “Typography” and you may realize how much of an impact fonts make in every aspect of our lives.

And shoot for $10 bucks you can “hand write” your novel using a keyboard. How cool is that?

I’ve become a fan of the Latin Modern fonts:

Latin Modern Roman 10 is elegant and very clean on the screen. And free.