Choosing a Font

Fonts are an important to a books success. Not just for esthetics, but more importantly, also for readability. I have many clients ask me, “What font should I use?” Unfortunately, this is not a decision that I can make for you. I am always a fan of the easily readable Times New Roman in an 11pt, but that may not be your cup of tea. So now, how do you decide? Here are some things to consider:

What the heck is a serif, and why does it matter?

As defined by Dictionary.com
ser•if
noun Printing

A smaller line used to finish off a main stroke of a letter, as at the top and bottom of M.

The little lines at the bottoms and tops of letters are serifs. Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? Wrong. Serifs make smaller text much easier to read. Often, fonts that are sans serif will appear to print out more lightly, and will make your text body much more legible. The general rule of thumb is that serif fonts should be used for body text, and that it is ok to use sans serif fonts for titles.

What size of a font should I go with?

I really recommend a 10 or 11pt for most fonts, but a good idea is always to print out a page of text in that size, in the format that your final book will be, and ask yourself, is this legible? Some fonts are super tiny, so a 10 or 11pt is really more like a 7 or 8pt in any other font.

For headers, do the same thing. Create your page full of text, and then test out your header sizes at the top. This will probably be easier to do on screen, with your view set at 100%, than if you were to print it, because your perspective will be skewed if you print the page, and have all of the additional white space from the 8.5 x 11 paper surrounding it.

There are so many fonts out there. Where do I find one, and how?

Do you have an idea at least of what you want? For instance, do you want a classic looking text, or a clean one? A cursive? I always recommend checking out DaFont. It is my absolute go to for fonts, every time, hands down. With an incredible collection, all that you need to do is search for the type of font that you want (great ones for titles can be found under typewriter or passport!) and maybe a detail like serif, or sans serif, if necessary. Make sure, though, that you check out what the usage rights are. The creators of the font may have stipulations for using their font. If not, make an effort to at least make a donation to them. That keeps these guys going, and where would we be without them?


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