Suitable fonts for very large EIA document?

McBain_v1's picture

I am shortly going to be involved in assembling a very large volume of technical documentation to accompany a development proposal for a wind farm (very small by US standards but a big deal here in England). The amount of paper that this project will generate will be quite large: the Evironmental Impact Statement will in all probability run to at least 2,000 pages spread over multiple volumes.

Since every consultancy has its own 'house style' I am trying to avoid this application resembling a mish-mash of various documents from different authors by suggesting we all settle on some standard fonts and conventions. There are a few problems here though:

1. All consultants are using different versions of Windows;
2. We have not retained a graphic designer;
3. Our own 'house-style' is ghastly (10pt Arial for everything anyone?)
4. There is currently no budget for font purchase and dissemination across the team.

Using just the Windows typical fonts, does anyone have any views about what would be the best to use for a standard font?

I had thought about Georgia 10.5pt but I would like to hear from anyone with some experience on this sort of thing.

riccard0's picture

Unless you're planning to use a lot of bold (Georgia's Bold is really a Black), there could be far worse options than use Georgia. I would pair a sans for headings and such.
But maybe you can find something a bit more condensed in the Cleartype Collection:

snow is nigh's picture

Another serif that comes with office is Palatino. Best Version bundled with Office is Palatino Linotype. Book Antiqua is the same font, with a different name. However the versions should not be mixed, which is why a font selected from the new ClearType set is a better choice.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Come on: 2000 pages and not a budget to license a typeface? How many workstations do you need? If there is no-one to sort out the chaos trail of multiple departments, agreeing on the typeface is not likely to salvage your sinking ship.

Btw: For this kind of job, I'd look for something with a text size, a caption (and/or footnote) size, text figures and tabular figures, weights: regular, bold, italic. At least. Depending on the data, this might require even more.

Gus Winterbottom's picture

Check the RFP (or RFT, or whatever). It's not unusual for things like font size, page margins, page count limits, and software version of deliverable files to be called out. (Here in the US, it would typically be section L, and sometimes M, in a government RFP). If they are, and you don't comply, you could be disqualified. If you're dealing with thousands of pages, you need to worry about the word processor more so than the fonts. Word will choke and die if you try to combine multiple documents from multiple authors (this is not Word bashing, just the facts). If the RFP allows you to submit PDFs instead of native files, leave your source documents in their native formats and combine them in PDF. Oh, and what about your pricing volume? Those are always the worst.

Si_Daniels's picture

Do you expect the 2,000 pages to be printed despite the environmental impact? Related to this will the document actually be read by anyone? These questions will influence font and layout.

Also if the file will be distributed as a .doc or as a PDF then embedding non-standard fonts is viable (note TTF or OT TTF only in Word docs)

Any way, the answer is Calibri 11pt.

Té Rowan's picture

*blink* *blink* I never realised until now that Environmental Impact Statement was a self-referential term.

McBain_v1's picture

Thank you for everyone's feedback. As a total newcomer to this sort of thing I appreciate any views.

There really is no budget yet for a professional designer to sort this out.

The EIA will be read by the Infrastructure Planning Permission - a relatively new body in England that determines national infrastructure projects. Because it is a new regulatory body there are no guidance notes available for the form and presentation of documents, beyond the blindingly obvious. The project will doubtless be highly contentious and so I expect large parts of the EIA to be read, despite its size.

Thank you for the point about Palatino Linotype and also potentially pairing this up with a sans-serif font for headings etc. I also appreciate the link to the Clear Type font page on Microsoft.

@frode frank
The team currently comprises 12 individual consultancies. We have nominated a lead consultant to handle document control etc. but the overall 'look and feel' of all of the documentation has not been discussed to date, hence my request for some thoughts. I am not touting for free typographic or graphic design work, just some initial views so your point about sizes and weights is much appreciated.

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