What is your Serif typeface of choice for writing in a Word document?

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Brett Regehr's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2011 - 2:10am
What is your Serif typeface of choice for writing in a Word document?
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Well, I was searching through old posts within the forum, and to my amazement, I could not find a "Favourite Font" topic anywhere.
Now this could be in part with my inability to search effectively, but regardless we shall continue forward.

I realize that plenty of you who call this forum your home, are designers and typographers, and have see your fair share of typefaces through the years. And through the years, there is a very good change that you have grown a liking towards certain fonts.

So what is your current favourite serif font/s for using when writing a paper/novel/report/etc?

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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My favourite typeface is like my favourite dish: it changes by the hour.

Eric Nord's picture
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Joined: 12 Sep 2008 - 4:34pm
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@BrettR:

One of the things I've learned about typography is that there are many fonts for many contexts. And the first step toward good font selection is the ability to categorize both contexts and fonts.

If I were looking for an answer to this sort of question, I would limit the inquiry to a specific class of fonts (e.g., contemporary humanist sans or something that narrows the thousands of possibilities). Or maybe you could start with the context, like "What's your favorite font for menus at Mexican restaurants."

I think for most designers, a font is just not that interesting without knowing the context or classification.

A good way to see what people are the sales charts at myfonts.com. Right now, the hottest new font on myfonts is probably "Gibson". It just came out and it costs $48 for the complete 8-weight family. All its weights look usable (which is not always the case).

Brett Regehr's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2011 - 2:10am
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True I guess I should have clarified my category for this topic. Originally I was just thinking along the lines of fonts that one normally write would normally use when writing a paper, novel, or something along those lines in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, etc.

A quick post edit should fix this problem pronto!

So I guess if we really wanted to get nit picky, what is everyones favourite Serif typeface?

Eric Nord's picture
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Joined: 12 Sep 2008 - 4:34pm
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Didn't you say you're a typography major?

Brett Regehr's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2011 - 2:10am
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You are correct!

Eric Nord's picture
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SMH

Thomas Binder's picture
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Joined: 13 Jan 2006 - 9:04am
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I like Cambria to write down things.

Frank ADEBIAYE's picture
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Joined: 29 Apr 2007 - 4:46pm
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I made the jax classification while thinking about that kind of question, precisely:
http://typophile.com/node/80717

Christopher Timothy Dean's picture
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Christopher Timothy Dean's picture
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William Berkson's picture
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Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
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Williams Caslon :)

Nick Shinn's picture
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A man after my own heart, BIll; I use Scotch Modern.

Tim Beers's picture
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Williams Caslon :)

I'm with you!

Brett Regehr's picture
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Thats one is beautiful.

Currently, I am using Anziano by Stefan Hattenbach (a fellow Typophile nonetheless) as my goto font when it comes to writing notes in class or writing a paper, etc.

Sindre Bremnes's picture
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Joined: 11 Nov 2008 - 9:32am
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I very much prefer monospaced typefaces when using text editors. Much easier seeing errors then. This is quite good for that use.

Eric Nord's picture
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.
I forgot about my old buddy, Courier. Like water to a fish.

Brett Regehr's picture
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Florian's picture
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If printed: Cycles
If send by mail as .doc: Cambria, Georgia.

Trevor Baum's picture
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Joined: 16 Dec 2010 - 8:57am
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Miller Text.

Alex Klages's picture
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Joined: 1 Jan 2007 - 10:37am
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Calluna, actually. Though I have used GFS Elpis, Garamond, and BruceOldStyle BT at times, too.

Youssef cherem's picture
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Joined: 28 Jul 2009 - 6:25am
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For writing specifically, any Cleartype (or failing that, TrueType) fonts will do -- I've found out that OpenType or PS fonts look terrible in Word documents on screen, unless I magnify the text.

Anyway, I've recently used Maiola, Miller Text, Kepler, and Calluna.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Dez Froggy

Chris Lozos's picture
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or maybe whatever else I am working on at the time ;-)

Brett Regehr's picture
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Dez, I checked out your website and when I saw Froggy, I think I lol'ed for 20 seconds.
Clever.
Very Clever.

Pavel Samsonov's picture
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Joined: 23 Sep 2010 - 7:52pm
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I find that Word's poor kerning makes things look so ugly that Times New Roman is the only font that deserves to suffer so.

Sindre Bremnes's picture
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The last time I used MS Word it didn't have kerning at all. People, use monospaced typefaces for writing. And If you must use a word processor (you mustn't), use Open Office. At least, it's free. And a lot less cluttered.

Florian's picture
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Word processor is a tool of convenience, as the learning curve is simpler as for latex or indesign.

For the Mac I really can recommend Mellel as it has a quite comprehensive open-type support, it is very stable and has as well a content-centric approach in a way as one mainly works with "styles". Ok Word can do that too, but Word still does not support small caps in open-type and Mellel is as well really cheap. I just wish one could change the letter spacing/tracking.

Sindre Bremnes's picture
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I'd say word processors are tools of confusion. I wonder how much money I've made removing super-hyper-nested styles, attempts at manual style overrides, ridiculous attempts at prettying the document, general clutter, tabs, excessive space usage, faux tables etcetera ad nauseam.

For designing, one should use appropriate tools. For writing, one should use text editors. They have everything you need for writing (word processors rarely do), and none of the crap. Even the clumsiest writer can't fuck up a text document.

I'm of course talking about professional usage here.

Alex Klages's picture
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Joined: 1 Jan 2007 - 10:37am
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That's why I like WordPerfect--- it gives even a non-professional total control over document formatting. But yeah, I can see your point.

bowerbird intelligentleman's picture
Joined: 5 Mar 2009 - 5:27am
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no comment.

-bowerbird

Trevor Baum's picture
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What about something like WriteRoom?

Brian Jongseong Park's picture
Joined: 15 Mar 2006 - 12:53pm
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That's why I like WordPerfect--- it gives even a non-professional total control over document formatting.

I lost track of WordPerfect after the early 90s, but Reveal Codes was the truth.

Sindre Bremnes's picture
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Yes, WP was a great tool for simple text editing. It was MS Words' (pseudo-)WYSIWYG-nonsense that made everything go haywire.

Dave Williams's picture
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Joined: 6 Jul 2005 - 7:21am
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I've always been a bit of a Word-defender. Sure it has features you should steer well clear of, and does some stuff in really stupid ways, but if you know what you're doing with it, it's very powerful. The problem comes with the fact that if you DON'T know what you're doing with it - and most casual writers don't - then it's very easy to make shit-structured documents with it. Word 2007/2010 of course is a whole new shop of horrors and I must admit I'm soooo glad my employer has no plans to "up"grade from Office 2003...

Sindre Bremnes's picture
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Joined: 11 Nov 2008 - 9:32am
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My point(s) exactly. We just draw different conclusions.

Dave Williams's picture
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I'd certainly go along with you on the way huge numbers of supposedly intelligent/educated academics still resort to tab-and-space (and "draw-horizontal-rules-with-the-line-tool") for making tables. It's as though they have no curiosity whatsoever about what all those toolbar buttons and menu commands do... They must spend three times longer than they need to on every document. And then we get to spend extra time afterwards putting it back into a sensible structure so that its content has a hope in hell of being repurposed successfully. :^)

Sindre Bremnes's picture
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Yes, it's extremely frustrating. You'd be surprised how many professional journalists and writers that every single day delivers that kind of crap. In my old newspaper, we used a system based on plain text for years. No problems at all. Everyone was happy. Then an unusually dim boss got tricked into buying a horrendously expensive system, where the input module was based on an amateurish MS Word-hack. Oh, the horror. I still have nightmares about that.

Florian's picture
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in a professional environment there is no doubt you are right. If one needs to print a document oneself, then a word processor has its justification. Thanks for making that clear, it is a fact I know, but I am not conscious of most of the time.

William Berkson's picture
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Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
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When I write, if it is anything more than a few pages, I can't stand Word, so I just write in InDesign. Adobe has InCopy to go with InDesign for writers. But I'm supposing this is only for in house journalists, etc. I'm wondering why it doesn't compete directly with Word. Does anyone have experience with this?

Chris Lozos's picture
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InCopy is a workflow piece that is part of a larger publishing system. When there are designers, writers, editors, photographer, in a workflow, they each have different needs, The writers and editors have read/write ability to text but not formatting. Designers perhaps the other way round. This way, a document can be worked upon simultaneously by many people without the danger of unwanted overwrites.

Bones's picture
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I'll preface this by saying that I'm by no means a competent typographer -- just a grad student/scientist with a keen interest in the type I look at not looking like crap...and boy a lot of it does!

I'm befuddled by the people who are advocating monospaced faces for writing. I use monospaced faces for editing code, as spacing can be very important in some languages (Python, matrices in MATLAB), and you can use appropriate spacing to make the code easier to read and understand (I often make all the entries in vectors that have a one-to-one correspondence line up, for example). When writing documents with lots of text, however, I like to look at something proportionally spaced as I find it is much easier to read the text when revising my document. For example, I use Verdana in the text editor I use with LaTeX as a compromise -- while other faces may look prettier on the screen when editing, Verdana is at least fairly decent, and has very good distinction within Il|1 and O0o.

For general-purpose documents (progress reports, research summaries, homework assignments, etc.) I generally set the document in Minion, mostly because it is the only font (other than Computer Modern) for which I have gotten reasonably full support for equations working in LaTeX, but also because I think it looks nice without being over-the-top. (And in some ways its math support [using MinionPro.sty] is actually better because it supports upright and/or bold lowercase greek letters, which Computer Modern does not -- then I can adhere to ISO recommendations regarding π being upright when used as a physical constant, and my own preferred convention of unit vectors such as ϕ-hat, θ-hat and ζ-hat being upright bold and ordinary vectors such as ω being bold italic...but that was probably more detail than you wanted in this thread!)

William Berkson's picture
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Joined: 26 Feb 2003 - 11:00am
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>I'm befuddled by the people who are advocating monospaced faces for writing. I use monospaced faces for editing code

I think your view is shared by most people. Monospaced fonts are used for coding or occasionally for their aesthetic effect, in display. Courier is also required for screen plays, and a few other places.

But in general most people feel that proportional spacing is more readable, and I think they're right.

Minion is a great workhorse font, and I admire its great craftsmanship. But for me personally, I think it is a little too compressed for maximum reading comfort, and also the punctuation is kerned too tightly.

I recently went through the exercise of setting a few pages of the same text in Minion, and then in Williams Caslon. Though Williams Caslon is a bit wider and more loosely set, used slightly smaller, it ended up with the same material in the same space, but being, to my eyes, a bit more comfortable to read. Of course, I am prejudiced as the designer of Williams Caslon, but there is a more general point here, which is that using a very compact face, such as Times New Roman or Minion is not necessary the best way to fit a lot of words on a page.

Chris Lozos's picture
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SciTech,
Economy of fit and comfort of reading interplay to define what is chosen to use. Also, there are individual differences in peoples preferences. How something is to be used is always the big player and why, when coding, a monospace font is a better choice than a fine book font. Given your particular circumstances, I think you have chosen quite well. Keep in mind (as you have) your purpose and audience as well as your means to acquire, and you will continue to make the right decision for your own work. Book publishers and advertising agencies have different needs than you as well as each-other. You may pick a modest putter over a driver for a 10 inch tap no-matter how fantastic or expensive that driver may be.

CreeDo's picture
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If I'm gonna write literally in a word document, with the idea someone else will open it file in their own copy of word, there's no point in selecting a font outside the handful that are on almost every pc. So, Georgia.

I dunno, sometimes I feel like I have no appreciation for serif faces, I'm clueless about 'em. I go sans-serif as much as possible. If I had to print in one I'd probably pick rockwell.

Brett Regehr's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2011 - 2:10am
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Apparently, Word 2011 has a more refined typeface formatting setup then previous years. Can anyone confirm this?

Trevor Baum's picture
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Joined: 16 Dec 2010 - 8:57am
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It does. I believe it's the first iteration of Word to allow ligatures.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Gee, and it is only 2011!

Chris Rugen's picture
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Joined: 19 Aug 2003 - 11:00am
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When writing on screen, I go with Cambria or Georgia for serif and often Helvetica or Calibri for sans. If I'm printing it, well, that's a whole other story. These typefaces are pretty safe choices for sharing docs, which is my second consideration when composing for Word. I usually write in TextEdit, then just send as RTF. Word can handle TextEdit output just fine.

Brett Regehr's picture
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Joined: 16 Apr 2011 - 2:10am
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Hello ligatures!

Is it ironic that it took the largest word processing program in the world this long to get standard typography settings somewhat right?

Trevor Baum's picture
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Other than Miller Text, I also love Sabon Next, Stempel Garamond, PMN Caecilia and HFJ Sentinel for writing.