In the self publishing arena, the most commonly used book print fonts are Times New Roman, Garamond, Bookman Old Style, Book Antiqua, Tw Cen MT and Minion. What makes these fonts great at their job is that they are easy to read, allowing for good connectivity between lettering and words, and don’t otherwise grab undue attention.
Please see the below examples of each font and as they appear on each page.
does it really matter?
Yes, it really does. It's not just the font that matters though, there are certain styles that professional books use that aid a book's readability by the user. For example, in the below page five, you will note that the first letter and first three words of a new chapter are different. While they are the same font, the first letter is larger and the balance of the first three words appear to be the same size font as the rest of the page but are capitalised. Typically, capitalised letters are larger than lower cased letters, and so for these three words capitalised letters to be on par with the other lower case letters in the same line, they need to be several points smaller than the other text.
okay then, what book font should I use?
There are book standard fonts; some fonts to choose from that are all non-jarring to the reader and that will be subconsciously accepted as a professional book type font. Please see the below images, that can all be downloaded to your computer, for font consideration. DOWNLOAD HERE
There are other type-setting factors include 1. leading, 2. kerning, 3. justification 4. hyphenation and 5. margins. No one of these five subjects is a small issue, and the below attempts to give you an elementally understanding of each.
Leading is an essential design aspect in type-setting a book that determines how text is spaced vertically in lines. For content that has multiple lines of readable text, you'll want to make sure the distance from the bottom of the words above to the top of the words below has appropriate spacing to make them legible.
The leading is measured from the baseline of each line of text where the letters “sit.” Descenders, the parts of certain letters that are longer, such as a lowercase g, fall below the baseline. Ascenders are the opposite, letters with taller features, such as the letter h. They need to be considered as well when determining the leading distance.
Traditionally, leading should be 20% greater than the font size (or 120% of the font size); however, individual styles may call for different distances.
Kerning also adjusts space, but of the distance between two letters. Book letters that are set too closely make words indecipherable; if they are set too far apart, and they're awkward to read. Worse yet, if some letters have wider spacing and others narrower, it can be frustrating for someone to read without fully understanding what’s wrong. The font should not take attention away from the content, and poorly spaced letters can do just that. Kerning is a feature that is not typically covered by Microsoft word, and so if this is something that you are determined to have done right, it is something that we can do for you here at Barbossa Book Printing.
Tracking is often confused for kerning, but the concept is a little different. Tracking involves adjusting the spacing throughout the entire word. Once you've determined the right spacing between each letter, tracking can be used, with great restraint, to change the spacing equally between every letter at once.
Tracking is generally used to fill a space that’s larger or smaller than currently suits the type’s parameters or to make a single word seem airy and impressive. You should be very careful when changing the tracking, as it can quickly lead to difficulty in reading.
4. justification Vs Right ragged
Justified text is spaced so the left and right sides of the text block both have a straight edge. The usual alternative to justified text is left-aligned text (also known as right ragged), which has a straight left edge and an uneven right edge. Compared to left-aligned text, justification gives the text a cleaner, more formal look.
Justification works by adding white space between the words in each line so all the lines are the same length. This alters the ideal spacing of the font, but in paragraphs of reasonable width, it’s usually not distracting.
Considering the above justified text lines up the right edge to be straight, the option is there to allow this to take care of any hyphenations at the same time.
Margins refer to space above, below, left and right of the main body of text. Traditionally two of three of these sides will have the same distance of space with the one of two remaining having a slightly different distance. The space in the gutter of a book is typically larger as it has to allow for the part of the book page that will not be visible. The top of the page can also have a slightly different margin, but the gutter margin is the more crucial.