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how do you guys choose text body font?
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zhangweiwu
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:55 am    Post subject: how do you guys choose text body font? Reply with quote

Hello. My question is very common but I really don't find a satisfying article about it yet.

I don't know the difference between fonts. All serif fonts looks the same to me and all san-serif (gothic) fonts looks the same to me. Some one says "Helvetic looks better then Arial", I simply cannot sense it and cannot admire the beauty of the 'better' font. The same as "Utopia" and "Times New Roman" and "Nimbus Roman". Although I tried to print them down and look at a paper full of text of this and that font, they really do not make a lot of difference. Some may look nicer then the other, but I cannot tell why it looks nicer then the other.

I think choosing body text font is something I only need to do once, after the first time, unless there are better reasons, I'll be keeping using the chosen font forever. Perhaps because I am Chinese, the latin text difference is not so noticable for me. Finally I end up using Gentium font (http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&item_id=Gentium) the very simple reason is this font's author very much like to talk about his font and I get a PDF file very detailed said why his font is better then others. I read his PDF explanation why he is better, then I used it.

Please make some comment on what you chose for text body font, and drop some comment on my current choice (Gentium) and suggestions. Thanks a lot!
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Kaaredyret
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Baramond a lot:

http://www.geocities.com/baramondfont/
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9point9
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beyond readability the only other factor is aesthetics. This is a matter of opinion, not fact. I just use Times New Roman and Arial. You can do more by changing the line spacing and paragraph style than a simple font change can.
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Untel
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Some one says "Helvetic looks better then Arial", I simply cannot sense it and cannot admire the beauty of the 'better' font.


Don't worry about this one: Arial was made to look like Helvetica, in some sense.
Have a read here: http://www.ms-studio.com/articles.html

Quote:
Some may look nicer then the other, but I cannot tell why it looks nicer then the other.


Well, you don't have to tell why you find some thing more beautifull than another. Go according to your taste, as long as those reading you are comfortable.
People can get quite anal when it comes to this subject though. I've seen heated discussion about which of the dozen Garamond style fonts from diverse foundries is the best looking... Rolling Eyes

One general recommendation though: enable pair-kerning (Paragraph Style->Position->Pair kerning) to see some more subtle changes that can make the text look better. Good fonts will have such positioning information.

At first sight the Gentium seems nice; i'll print one or two pages of text to see how it looks off-screen.
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Westland
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zhangweiwu wrote:
Quote:
I don't know the difference between fonts. All serif fonts looks the same to me and all san-serif (gothic) fonts looks the same to me


I think that you are part of the huge majority of people that fell that way. I'l give you a few examples of fonts.

Serif
http://www.myfonts.com/search?search%5Btext%5D=bodoni
http://www.myfonts.com/search?search%5Btext%5D=rockwell
http://www.myfonts.com/search?search%5Btext%5D=cooper

San serif
http://www.myfonts.com/search?search%5Btext%5D=dax
http://www.myfonts.com/search?search%5Btext%5D=century+gothic
http://www.myfonts.com/search?search%5Btext%5D=impact

None of these fonts look the same to me !!!
Quote:
Perhaps because I am Chinese, the latin text difference is not so noticable for me

I'm curious: in "Chinese", are there only a few "fonts" to choose from ?
(to me, the "Chinese Characters" look handwritten. This probably prevents the level of "abstracion" that Latin characters provide, with a wider design range)
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Kaaredyret
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember always to judge a font on the print on paper, not screen (unless your audience is going to read it on screen in a PDF file of course). There is a good Lorem Ipsum generator here:

http://www.lipsum.com/

Quote:
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.


I agree with 9point9 that there is much more to the design than the font itself; line spacing, size, margins, colours... there is a lot of stuff you will have to do as a designer!

I understand your problem; if you are from China or some other country and you are not used to working with the latin alphabet, its a little difficult to see what is hot and what is not.

Take a look at this:
http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/finetypography/ht/body_font.htm

I think you should avoid Times New Roman as body text font, but find a similar one like Baramond. We have been looking at Times New Roman (from Windows) for too long and it is booooring. A little more attractive font is more appealing to the eye and mind.
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Last edited by Kaaredyret on Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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jrkrideau
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kaaredyret wrote:
Remember always to judge a font on the print on paper, not screen (unless your audience is going to read it on screen in a PDF file of course). There is a good Lorem Ipsum generator here:

http://www.lipsum.com/

Quote:
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.


Thank you for that link and the explanation. I remember trying to read a bit of Lorem Ipsum a few years ago and was devistated to see how badly my Latin had degenerated. It took a while to realise that while it was not pig latin it was dog latin Smile
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Kaaredyret
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL... Very Happy

Oh, remember that there is also some dummy text available in Writer:

Type dt and then F3. DT stands for dummy text, of course.

I think this dummy text is less confusing Smile
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zhangweiwu
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you, Kaaredyret, now I used Lorem Ipsum created a publication (using OOO) and now I can carefully see how the text look with other design elements. After looked at them again, I'd like to say Gentium is still the font I like to use, it look nice with other design elements. (I think nice.) Have a look:

http://weiwu.freeshell.org/font_effect

Perhas I like gentium because it is "better" with my Chinese sense of beauty.
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zhangweiwu
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For Westland: there are several categories of Chinese fonts to choose

Ming ti (song ti), the Ming dynasty font => compare to serif
He Ti, the black font => compare to gothic
Kai Ti, the hand-written formal text font => compare to some Western font which look like hand written but looks clean, formal and clear
Xing ti, the script font => compare to Script fonts
Wei Bei, the formal hand-written text before Kai Ti => nothing to compare
Li Shu, the formal hand-written text before Wei Bei => nothing to compare
Yuan Ti, the modern gothic font with round corner => compare to a round san-serif

Generally, there are more categories of fonts, and in each category there are less number of fonts. That is, more categories, less total number of fonts.

Why we have more categories and less number of fonts in each category and less total number of fonts? Thank about how many ideographs are there in a font, to make a font is certainly not one year or two years work!
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zhangweiwu wrote:
After looked at them again, I'd like to say Gentium is still the font I like to use, it look nice with other design elements. (I think nice.) Have a look:

http://weiwu.freeshell.org/font_effect

Perhas I like gentium because it is "better" with my Chinese sense of beauty.

Gentium is a good choice. I like the way you have got around the lack of a bold typestyle by using colour at a larger point size for headings. Be mindful of the fact that if you do use bold anywhere in your document, when you generate a PDF the bold text will use a computer-generated bold font, which can cause problems. So search and remove all instances of bold.

Gentium Alt is the same typeface, but with redesigned (flatter) diacritical marks (accents) to better suit the stacking diacritics used for Vietnamese.



My personal favourite for books is Goudy Old Style. I second the advice not to use Times New Roman for books (OK for Newsletters or Newspapers). I never heard of Baramond before, but almost any version of Garamond is also a safe choice.


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Westland
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've checked your example:
Quote:
http://weiwu.freeshell.org/font_effect

Congratulations !
(I confess: I couldn't believe it. I had to open the Document with Acrobat, to check the "Document Properties" - It was produced with OpenOffice 2.0 !)

One suggestion: Your Logo (Real Softservice) deserves a little higher resolution. Probably you have a Vector (EPS) version that you can insert on Writer. Then you need a third party aplication to produce the PDF (like PDFCreator, Freeware), because OpenOffice 2.0.1 PDF Export doesn't support EPS.

I like the "cropped" book on page 3

How did you achieved the "Transparency" on the cover page ? Did you used Draw ?
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Kaaredyret
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work, zhangweiwu, it looks professional!

Yes, he did use Draw I can see (press control-D in Acrobat Reader to see info about the document, fonts used, etc).
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zhangweiwu
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I did use Draw. I was looking for a MS Publisher replacement after switched to Linux and I had to choose between using Draw or Writer (Scribus is too hard for my level of understanding). Although there are many disadvantages comparing to use Writer, I finally still think Draw fits publications better, for it's page oriented layout, thumbnail and shape styling feature. and everything (even a line) can include text

It is not difficult at all to make your publication look good with OO Draw: just "keep it simple", don't mess up with the time-cosuming flashy design that OO Draw cannot make. Besides, the customers are tired of flashy design. A good publication should be a simple publication and I don't see why I cannot use Draw:)

Good suggestion on EPS! I have been wondering why the EPS logo always seems to have problems. We also have SVG logo which OOO doesn't handle as well.

TO Bhikkhu Pesala: Gentium doesn't have a bold typeface, I am aware of it. However I am used to the fact that MOST CHINESE FONTS DON'T HAVE Bold typeface and I am used to working around them.
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Last edited by zhangweiwu on Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Kaaredyret
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think you should give Scribus a chance as well, its PS, EPS and SVG support is very good and getting better. If you look at the developer version of scribus (scribus-cvs) then the menu structure is getting more organized, and actually its not that difficult to understand.

I am pretty tired of the poor SVG support in OpenOffice, so Scribus is popular here.

InkScape, Gimp and Scribus are strong together.
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