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Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4417] Wed, 01 February 2006 22:37 Go to next message
Erin Halfelven  is currently offline Erin Halfelven
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Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print[ 5 vote(s) ]
1.12 pt. Times, used in many Trade Paperbacks 0 / 0%
2.11 pt Times, used in some Trade Paperbacks, Kelly Girl 2 / 40%
3.10 pt Times, used in a few Trade Paperbacks 0 / 0%
4.Something else, leave a comment 3 / 60%

The forum software won't let me control font sizes well enough to demonstrate them. They don't look the same on screen as on paper anyway. -- Erin

Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4418] Wed, 01 February 2006 23:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
maltor  is currently offline maltor
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I prefer 10 pt Arial. It takes up the same space as 11 pt Times on the printed page, but to me, it's a cleaner, more readable font.
Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4419] Thu, 02 February 2006 01:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Erin Halfelven  is currently offline Erin Halfelven
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Sans serif fonts are generally considered less readable on the printed page. Onscreen they sometimes out perform unoptimized serif fonts. YMMV. Smile
Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4420] Thu, 02 February 2006 07:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
T.  is currently offline T.
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OCR-A :) Actually I agree with Maltor. Our company has two standard report formats, one uses serif fonts, the other uses non-serif. IMO, the non-serif is cleaner and _least_ as readable as the one with serifs. (Both are TrueType fonts, chosen by professional typographers.) T.

[Updated on: Thu, 02 February 2006 07:54]

Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4421] Thu, 02 February 2006 10:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sir Lee  is currently offline Sir Lee
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Sans-serif is fine for short pieces. It's used a lot in advertising, for instance. However, for long works (and Tuck certainly qualifies), it tends to be more tiring, because it's harder to keep your eyes in the same line without the serifs. To keep the same level of legibility with a sans-serif font, you have to compensate, for instance, by increasing the whitespace between lines. Since Ellen's preference is to cram as much text as possible into each book, well... (By the way, Ellen, I know Times is kinda overused, coming as default in both Windows and Macs and all, but it does have a good point: it was *designed* to allow cramming more text in each printed page. Aesthetically, I would prefer a rounder font, like Garamond... but given the constraints, Times might be a good choice). Sir Lee


Don't call me Shirley. You will surely make me surly.
Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4422] Thu, 02 February 2006 15:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Erin Halfelven  is currently offline Erin Halfelven
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If I were designing the book for traditional markets, I'd certainly go for a more pleasing book font--Times was designed for newspapers. But for long dense blocks of type, page after page, Times is hard to beat. I just tried re-setting up Kelly Girl in 10 pt Times, 1 pt between paragraphs, 1/2 inch margins, 1/4 inch gutter, page number, title and author in 12 pt Helvetica Italic at the top with 1/4 inch separation. It looks pretty good, though the lines are a bit long at 78+ characters. Kelly Girl is ~350 pages in 11 pt Times on a 12 pt line, 2 pts between paragraphs, 6/10 inch margins, 1/4 inch gutter, header and footer in 12 pt Italic Helvetica with 1/4 inch separation. Reformatted as above, it comes to ~220 pages. Amazing. I'd say the loss of readability is significant but not crippling. If I actually reissue Kelly Girl in this format, it would drop the cost by as much as $2.50.
Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4423] Thu, 02 February 2006 16:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Renee Mc  is currently offline Renee Mc
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I find pretty much anything down to 8pt readable. Ellen's early comment about the 1st ed. AD&D DMG works for me too. I would prefer no greater than a 10pt font. Anything more is wasted space to me. Of course, I have perfect uncorrected vision. I realize not all of Ellen's reader's may be so lucky. I also prefer Arial to Times NR but the point about screen to print transition is well taken. I just did a couple screen prints from random text altered in wordpad to compare and I don't find the difference too unbearable but that's just IMNSHO. -Renee


fnord*no sig here*fnord
Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4424] Thu, 02 February 2006 17:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Erin Halfelven  is currently offline Erin Halfelven
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Times (Roman) and Times New Roman are not precisely the same thing, close though. The difference goes back to the old rivalry between Linotype and Monotype and has continued with the rivalry between Apple/Adobe and Microsoft. The Linotype-Apple-Adobe version, Times Roman is usually just called Times. The reference is to the London Times, btw. Smile While there is little to choose between them on screen, I think Times looks better in print. It's not a good idea to get them confused though. Some software will substitute one for the other and they are not identical so something designed in Times and produced in TNR might not look right. I did just that by accident when I sent a mockup of the first chapter of Tuck in two-column, 8.5x11 format to Ellen. It resulted in ragged right margins in what was supposed to be justified type. - Erin
Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4425] Thu, 02 February 2006 19:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Amy!  is currently offline Amy!
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Hmm.

There are professional studies of the legibility of text out there. A good recent one is David Ogilvy's Type & Layout, 2005.

There's at least a century of study on this stuff, which provides me a nice leadin: Century Schoolbook (available from various vendors with varying names; there are some interesting rules in the US on the protection offered to fonts, so there are lots of knockoffs) was actually designed about a century ago in order to provide a pleasing, easy-to-read typeface for primary school students who would be reading relatively large blocks of text.

Note that what is pleasing to read in short bits (such as forum posts, for instance) is somewhat different from what is pleasing to read for narrative text. Likewise, some fonts have an intended effect which you may want to avoid (Times, which started this discussion, is one of my favorite fonts to [i]loathe[/i], because it's supposed to look stuffy--it's about the last font that I would recommend for Tuck (that said, it's close to the last font I'd recommend for any purpose), it feels cramped).

Likewise, the DMG, which Ellen has mentioned, isn't necessarily an ideal model for narrative. It's a reference work; you don't read it straight through. Typographers, caught at cocktail parties and encouraged to unburden themselves, are likely to start talking about "transparency" with regard to typefaces used for narrative.

You can find some of this stuff on the net, but your better bet is to pick up something like Ogilvy, copy the bibliography, and track it down at your local research library. A good deal of what you'll find on the net (searching for "readability" or "legibility" and "typography" or "layout" and the like) is focussed on problems peculiar to computer presentation of text (low resolution, luminescent rather than reflective displays, limited size, color, aspect ratio, line length), many of which are irrelevant (or even opposed) to problems of printed presentation.

In fact, despite having made reference to the studies of legibility (which favor serif fonts for long narrative text in print), it's worth noting that a different choice of fonts can produce a different sort of ambience, and sans-serif fonts might be particularly interesting, for Tuck, for several reasons:

  1. it subtly reinforces the 'geek factor' in Tuck (which is set by the timestamped entries as well), by recalling fonts that readers will subconsciously associate with computers;
  2. it has a "clean" "modern" look (not sure i believe that; a lot depends on the choice of face);
  3. Tuck doesn't typically contain long paragraphs, so the absence of serifs is not as much an issue as it might be with some of your more babble-likely authors. Smile

That said, and despite the unusual characteristics of Helvetica/Arial, I'd suggest instead something like Gill Sans or (one of my favorites) Zapf Humanist (the latter is actually quite well-suited for narrative, interestingly enough, because of subtleties in how the characters are drawn). It's generally recommended, when using sans-serif fonts, that the leading be opened up a bit, as well, but given the frequency of short (conversational) paragraphs in Tuck, it might not be necessary.

Amy!
(running at the mouth (or at least at the keyboard) again)

Edited for readability, which is rather ironic ... this thread seems to be in a mode which wants the HTML tags typed in manually ....

[Updated on: Thu, 02 February 2006 19:37]

Re: Font Size Preference for Tuck in Print [message #4426] Fri, 03 February 2006 02:25 Go to previous message
Erin Halfelven  is currently offline Erin Halfelven
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I changed the mode of this thread while trying to get HTML to work for putting in different type sizes. Didn't work. You're right about Tuck having lots of short paragraphs, a bit of leading between paras would probably make up for any drawback of sans-serif fonts. - Erin
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