Recommend a free Transitional Serif Font

Urieal's picture

Not sure where the best place to ask is, but I need some help.

I'm a great lover of Baskerville (Storm's is the best, though I like Baskerville Classico as well...even though the italic version is a bit wonky in places), and I also just recently fell in love with Dutch Type Library's Elzevir font.

I am particularly looking for a transitional font that has an italic with softer contours on letters like "w" and "v".

I've tried ADF's Baskervald, but when printed @ 10pt, there's a lot left to be desired and I there are some kerning issues with the font as well, not to mention it doesn't work with Office 2010 very well (but that's Office's fault really).

I've also tried Linux Libertine, which I like, but the italic version has very sharp angles for the "w" and "v".

The rub is that the font must be free. It's not that I can't afford a really nice font like Storm's Baskerville (which I own), it's that it needs to be distributed for free. I am working on a project where multiple authors will contribute complimentary and secondary works. As such, I want a consistent display format (e.g. font) for all supplentary works, but I can't purchase copies of a font for each author.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The font will be used to create PDF and printed works. Thanks in advance!

eliason's picture

Not sure where the best place to ask is

Probably the Design forum.

I am particularly looking for a transitional font that has an italic with softer contours on letters like "w" and "v".

How about Georgia?

Dan Gayle's picture

Times New Roman.

Té Rowan's picture

Don't do a daffy, Ducky. TNR's italic v/w are at least as sharp as Libertine's.

@Urieal – Have you tried asking Hr. Poll if he's ever drawn more rounded v/w for Libertine?

brianskywalker's picture

Well, you could always try Neuton. :)

The italic v and w is angular in the main italic, but I can make a version for you that's not. Lemme know if you're interested. :) The Cursive variant, though, is rounded. So unless you would prefer the overall feel of it's main italic, Neuton Cursive may be better.

Here's Neuton Regular, Italic, and Cursive:

hrant's picture

Multiple italics rule.

hhp

brianskywalker's picture

Multiple italics rule.

Why do you think Neuton has two? Actually there is an unofficial third: an old candidate for Neuton's main italic.

I wanted to go "slanted". I don't like the way it turned out, but others like it, apparently.

hrant's picture

I was counting the Cursive as an italic.
Slanted: my fav, when done right.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

In addition to Baskervald, there is also Open Baskerville, even though Baskervald is generally felt to be better... so if you can't use Baskervald, you might check that out.

hrant's picture

Note that Open Baskerville is a Fry's Baskerville (and
a very display-centric one). BTW, saying Baskervald
is better sadly isn't saying much at all... :-/

hhp

absolu's picture

You can check fonts here fontspace.com/category/transitional

hrant's picture

There's a good deal of plagiarism on that page...

hhp

flooce's picture

What I will suggest is probably not exactly what you are looking for, but the range of quality free serifs in multiple weights is limited. Give Heuristica a shot: http://code.google.com/p/evristika/downloads/list . Personally I would categorize it as rationalized/economized old-style.
Or you just get over the v/w of Libertine italic.
Or you invest the small amount for http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/aah-yes/pevensey/ . I want to point out however that I have no competence in judging its quality, trust your own eyes, or other people’s advice.

quadibloc's picture

Incidentally, I think it qualifies as transitional... there's also available a free version of Bell. Not Bell Gothic, but the one by John Bell. Although Wikipedia calls it a Scotch Roman, which would be a modern.

Ah, I'm confused. I was thinking of the IM Fell types (at igniomarini.com), which are distressed, and hence not suitable for normal text use.

Té Rowan's picture

Could also look at Lora from the Cyreal group. That one has well-rounded if rather math-y v/w.

Gerry K's picture

Many years ago, Adobe contributed a Type 1 version of Utopia to the X consortium. "In 2006, Adobe relicensed them to the TeX Users Group, under similar terms as the previous contribution, but now explicitly clarifying that the modifications to the fonts, and redistribution of the modified versions, was allowed." The PFB and AFM files are available here. To use these fonts under Windows, you would need to generate a PFM from the AFM using a program such as Proxima Software's free AfmToPfm 1.0, available here. A Mac-ready version of this free Utopia can be found in this file.

Té Rowan's picture

Also, there is a Unix-based command line tool with the same role, afm2pfm. It has a sibling, pfm2afm. Oh, and you can use FontForge (and other font editors, I'm sure) to convert it to CFF OpenType.

Venturis ADF is a tricked-out Utopia, btw. I also recall seeing a Utopia package that had slanted Romans in addition to the Italics.

Dan Gayle's picture

This is a good call. Utopia is a great general purpose and totally libre typeface to use.

Dan Gayle's picture

Yuck. Utopia, as designed by Slimbach, is great. All of the additions to the typeface by the "font community" are crap. Slanted romans? There's some font smell in that.

hrant's picture

Wow, Utopia is free, and freely-redistributable? I never knew that.
But I guess only one weight/style?

hhp

flooce's picture

The before linked Heuristica is a modified OpenType version of the earlier mentioned relicensed Utopia. Very interesting project.

Té Rowan's picture

@hrant – Nope, it's the canonical quartet. Regular, bold and their italics.

hrant's picture

But somebody made obliques anyway?

hhp

Té Rowan's picture

Looks like it, yup. They might just be mech. slants, though. Never checked it.

Urieal's picture

Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions.

The link to Utopia on the CTAN site were particularly helpful, and from them I was able to generate TTF files. I was also able to use that same site to generate OTF versions of Baskervald, which is better on my machine (for some reason) than directly downloading it from Arkandis.

I juggled between Palatino, Baskervald, and Utopia...in the end, I believe I'll use Baskervald. Thanks everyone.

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