Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Favored (and loathed) faces

Just as Lady Gaga never looks the same in two appearances, no two words have to look the same. Not even two letters.
There are many thousands of different typefaces (“faces”), and infinite variations including size, boldness, slant, color, shadow, embossing, distorting, outlining, filling, etc. If you wait until next week, there will probably be even more faces and modifications to choose from.

Choosing the right face requires a mixture of knowledge, experience and artistic ability. Don’t make your book look like a ransom note made from letters cut out of magazines, or like a ten-year-old’s website, with a dozen different typefaces. You can probably get by with just two — or maybe three — faces and their variations on your pages and on your cover. If you think your book needs a third typeface, choose something that’s obviously different from the other two. 
[above] says these are the “Top 7 Most Used Fonts Used By Professionals In Graphic Design.” I have no idea how the research was carried out. The face on the top is more appropriate for invitations than book covers, but the others are certainly common.
[above] InspirationBit published a list of the most overused typefaces, and there is some overlap with the other list. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of these faces come with Windows.
[above] Type maven Simon Garfield declares that these are “the worst fonts in the world.”
[above] Most people who work with type develop personal favorites. When I was in advertising in the early 1970s, I fell in love with Korinna Bold. I used ‘her’ for headlines, posters and even personal notepads. In around 2008 I started using Rockwell Bold as my personal bold, and ‘Rocky’ has appeared on most of my title pages and some covers, too. For inside my books, I had a brief fling with Trebuchet, and then replaced ‘Trebbi’ with Tahoma and Calibri for sans serif text (but I use ‘Trebbi’ in this blog). For serif text I started with Times New Roman (oops) and then moved on to Calisto and Garamond, and then started using Constantia for most of my books.

(This blog post is adapted from my upcoming e-book, Typography for Independent Publishers.)

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