Font for the small print

Wine Label Designer's picture

I am looking for fonts which read well in small sizes. When I do back labels I tend to use universe or helvetica for the mandatory copy and a condensed san serif or serif for the story. Nothing ever goes above 10 points. My back labels stink. I am so busy I don't have time to do the well but I'd like to improve them. Maybe set up some templates with great small type.

Any thoughts? Also any books on the fine print or setting small copy. I's an odd topic I know but maybe someone tackled it.

Quincunx's picture

Well, Freight Micro comes to mind. Designed for use below 9 points. More info available on the designer's own site.

pattyfab's picture

Franklin Gothic works well for labels too - it's quite legible in the condensed weights. I used it on food labels for ingreds and such as small as 6 pts.

cuttlefish's picture

Bell Centennial is great for the fine print too.

Florian Hardwig's picture

La formica is a typeface by German designer Volker Heim, made for setting very small yet readable text at 5pt and below.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Use a medium (or demi) style with a pronounced x-height. Preferably a typeface that withstands some condensing (around 90%) — that way you will be able to use a slightly larger typesize, improving legibility.

Although sans typefaces are considered to be more legible, this is not supported by research, so feel free to use a nice serif… (maybe one by my compatriot Gerard Unger? ).

Bert Vanderveen BNO

John Nolan's picture

Have a look at Sumner Stone's beautiful Cycles:
"There are versions for 5, 7, 9, 11, 18, 24, and 36 point."

It seems to me that Cycles and Arepo might be all a wine label designer ever needs!

Wine Label Designer's picture

Wow, thanks guys this is very exciting. Who ever said don’t sweat the small stuff didn’t do back labels!

I would like to have a variety of fonts that I can use for small print

The Freight Micro seems so unique with it’s serifs. Franklin Gothic is good and I use it but I = forget about it thanks for reminding me, I haven’t seen it small but it might be limited in it's usefulness. I am still wondering what people think of that knock out series B. Bell centennial looks like a good font might be really useful. has an ant running around on the page, a note that says just married and I have no clue where the fonts are. Capitolium is great. So much to add to my wish list.

I see a real use for a design reference book showing small type layouts. Cycles is nice but I wonder if the Arepo would hold up in 8 points.


William Berkson's picture

Also I believe that Amplitude is very good at small sizes, and has a kazillion weights and widths.

John Nolan's picture

No, Arepo is _not_ for small sizes; it's a display pairs with Cycles, which has size specific cuts.

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