Do you have a favorite font?

A recent unsigned article in Slate invites authors to describe their favorite fonts. “Courier was the clear favorite among our unscientific sample, but Times New Roman, Palatino, and something called Hoefler Text had their champions as well. (It seems to come down to whether a writer’s formative experience came on an Olivetti or an Apple.)”

In my early Mac years, I was partial to New York and later Palatino. But now it’s 12-point Times New Roman (at 125%) all the way. To me, it looks fine in Scrivener and also in laser prints. Readable on both Mac and PC systems, too.

Since we’ve discussed keyboards to the Nth degree, here’s yet another opportunity for procrastination. Do you like to compose and print in specific fonts? If so, why?

The Slate article is at

My favorite font to write and print with is definitely Times New Roman. I’ve never like sans-serif fonts.

The Scrivener default, Optima, has always been my favourite for on-screen editing. The subtly fluted ends give it a serif feel, without the serif clutter. For print outs, Times New Roman is fine, but I like the way Didot looks better; it is a nice magazine print feel. As for monospaced fonts, I don’t mind them. I like the ones from Vintage Type (modeled after specific typewriters), better than stock Courier though.


Like Times Roman, but more “flavourful”. I bought a disk of the fount years ago in Germany for my PC, but haven’t yet sought it for the Mac.

While I adore calligraphic fonts, I’m more practical than I used to be and it’s Times New Roman for most of my work with Arial for headings, etc.

It took a while, but I’m finally over needing to see Courier on a manuscript page.

I agree, Optima is a lovely font.

For labels and such (non-Scrivener use) I go back and forth between Zapfino and GoodDog Cool. :laughing: Go figure.

I still print out everything to a double-spaced, Courier-like font whenever I need to do a paper proofing run. I just cannot proof with any other font. :slight_smile: It is totally psychological, I am sure.

websites: Verdana, Optima
documents (onscreen and print): Garamond, Georgia
runners up: Courier, Times New Roman, Palatino

I like Georgia for most printed stuff, but am flirting with Didot for some things. I don’t like Arial, but I use it for headings anyway. Used to use Palatino a lot. I hate Courier with a passion, and always have.

And Scrivener has won me over to Optima. At first, it felt a bit odd to me, but I thought I’d stick with it for a few days and see how it went. I now use Optima for anything Scrivener, and have got so used to it that I have started applying it to all sorts of other things as well.

I hadn’t really looked at Optima before embarking on this torrid affair with Scrivener, but now I’m rather taken with it. Baskerville gets my vote too, and Bell MT lays out well.

If it has to be Sans Serif, Verdana for web pages, and I’ve yet to decide where print is concerned.

ITC Berkeley Old Style Book

OCR-A as it is very definitive in its information conveyed.

My favorite font changes over the years.

When I write journal entries in Word, for example, I still use Joanna, a very nice, simple, serif. At one time I used Joanna for all my writing in Word.

For fiction writing in Word I like Legacy Sans, which in some ways resembles Gill Sans. I even print out drafts using Legacy Sans.

For all my writing in Journler and Scrivener I use Lucida Sans.

When I print out fiction or reports for others to read, I lean toward Legacy Sans. However, sometimes a serif seems to be better, and I have recently favored Berkeley Old Style.

My favorite font, period, used to be Christiana, elegant like Opitma only larger x-height. However the lack of weights limited its use. My favorite font now is Formata, which offers various regular and condensed weights. Whereas I used to select Helvetica or Univers for standard sans serif work, and Futura for the modern look, now I use Formata almost exclusively.

I really like Ellington, a narrow serif, but it doesn’t work for text very well—nice for headlines though. For shorter reports and studies, I often try Veljovic or Esprit when I want a more active serif font. I also really like the Rotis family, but it doesn’t always work. And the variety is limited.

Fonts I avoid using: I really dislike Bookman, and dislike Century Schoolbook almost as much. I avoid Courier, Palatino and Times Roman whenever possible.


Hmm … interesting.

For web sites, Verdana and Georgia. It’s interesting that a number of others here like Georgia for print, 'cos my understanding is that, like Verdana, it was designed specifically — by they-who-should-not-be-named! — as a screen font.

For print, for years my favourite has been Adobe Garamond/Adobe Garamond Pro. It seems to me to give a more even appearance to the page than Times New Roman; it has a lower x-height and is better kerned to my eye. Recently I have been trying Adobe Caslon Pro … it is very similar and at 10 point it is hard to spot a difference. But it is a little more open, with slightly larger x-height and slightly more width to the characters. I use one or the other of those for all the documents that I am going to print myself. I have also been in the fortunate position for an individualist of being the only kid on the block with Adobe Garamond, so although it is pretty ubiquitous out there in the world, in my environments it has always been a stamp of difference.

For other documents destined for print which I am having to pass over to colleagues I am forced to use TNR, as their systems — Chinese Windows — don’t have Adobe Garamond, or even the Garamond that Micro$oft supply — which is horrible! — and heaven alone knows what would be substituted. But I don’t like TNR and never have. It is too big at 12 point and I find it boring.

For Sans fonts, Helvetica Neue rather than Helvetica, or Gawd’elp’us Arial. But again for reasons of co-operation, I am often forced to use Arial. Why do people send out whole documents in Arial … or sometimes, if they’re Chinese in Arial bold!? … The worst was a colleague in the Arabic section at the University of Westminster who produced all her English handouts in 16 pt Arial, even though she was using a Mac, in the belief that that made them easier for the students to read! For my own printing purposes, Copperplate Gothic Light or now just Copperplate Light as a title font.

On the whole, for editing, as in Scrivener, yes Optima. Only discovered relatively recently, but I really like it … very easy to read on screen, helped by the subtle hinting. Very nice font.

Courier, I loathe and always have done, but unless things change in the publishing world, I guess that if I ever do write that book, I’ll have to export the manuscript in Courier … !


I recently submitted an extract of my would-be Ur-Novel to a writing competition, where the rules stated that all entries must be in Arial 12 point. I could have cried. All that work, and it ends up in Arial… even I, its fond creator, don’t like the look of it now! :slight_smile:

My default setting for Scrivener on screen (Apple Display 20") is: Times Roman, 14 pt, Single Space, 175%.

On paper, I reduce Times Roman to 13 or 12 pt.

But I like Palatino too; and among the sans serif fonts my favorite is Verdana: simple, clear, robust.

Times New Roman 12 pt. for all text views and printing, Lucinda 9 pt. for binder/drawer views. Georgia 9 pt. when I need a small font. I pretty much kept the defaults in Scr. save for the text font.

Im getting sick of this! It seems to me, that everywhere I go in these forums, I drastically lower the tone. My favorite font is one that came with a Cover CD on the front of MAC Format, years ago . Its a vampire font with little drops of blood under each letter. My second favorite is more sensible, that ones Halloween.

Take care

Hi, Mark,

This isn’t so much the case anymore. Most publishing houses accept the various incarnations of Times (I use Times New Roman) with no problem. :slight_smile: As long as it’s not hand-written in green ink on yellow legal pads, I don’t think they are as fussy as they used to be.

In the old days, they relied on using the standard Courier 12pt to estimate book length (and hence production costs). Now they usually also ask for a digital copy of the manuscript (sometimes that’s all they want) and use the computer-generated word count for estimates.

If in doubt, just check with them. (And you always can send them a manuscript in Courier 12pt, if you really want to. :wink: )

Things do change in the publishing world, it just takes them a decade or two longer than everyone else. :laughing:

Well I didn’t start out on a typewriter and I prefer to draft in Courier… :open_mouth:

I like it because it is simple and clean. I find it easier to read than any other font.

For final work it all depends on the media.

Hi Studio717,
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond; exam time here in the university day-job!
That’s good to know :slight_smile: though whether I will ever get round to writing any of the books people keep telling me I ought to write, I have no idea.

As the Romans used to say, de gustibus non est disputandum … By which I simply mean that we all of us rightly have our own preferences. The good Anglo-Saxon, “There’s no accounting for tastes” is so much more rude, which is not intended here!


Chalkboard has distinguished Mac look and reminds me of the my teaching days :smiley: .