When it comes to publishing your online magazine or book, you can argue it is all about the message that you want to share. However, if the message is not legible or does not look good, chances are that people will not read it. Thus, typography and typeface are really important, especially if you are taking your online publication to print.
That is why we are writing a white paper on Typography that will appear within a couple of weeks. In this blog we would like to give you a ‘sneak peek’ of a couple of how-tos to get you started with creating the best typography for your publication.
How to choose your fonts
A few of years ago we interviewed graphic designer Marije van der Hoest in our blog about design tips. Her advice still holds. Choosing your font depends for a great deal on the subject of the publication, but in general it is best to stick to ‘neutral,’ readable fonts like Times New Roman, Arial and Helvetica. There are many new and trendy fonts out there for you to choose from, but keep in mind that the classic fonts have become classics for a reason. They work. Fonts that are too stylistic (with swirls and other details) make your book look busy and are often difficult to read.
If you’re designing a magazine, use a single font for the main text to keep things consistent. Then you can get playful with headings or subheadings. So, choose a set of complementary fonts and heading styles and don’t use more than 2 or 3 fonts in one page.
When choosing your font, readability is key. Serif fonts are claimed to be more legible than sans-serif, especially when you have a lot of text. On the other hand, you also want your publication to stand out. This might draw you towards the more modern fonts, which mostly are sans-serif. Just be aware of the possible effects of the different font types.
From a more general perspective in making your selection, in Dutch we have a saying: Goedkoop is duurkoop. This means something like ‘you get what you pay for’. There is a vast array of sites where you can get lovely fonts for free, such as fontcab or fontsquirrel. These sites are great, but before you take the free ride, consider the advantages that you can get from a professionally designed font. Buying a font, for example from fontshop can give you fonts of different styles and weights that fit together perfectly. And often these fonts have multi-language possibilities with international characters etc.
Some other general advice is to always make sure that you know about the copyright of the particular fonts you are going to use before taking your publication to print. Fonts are no different than photos in that respect.
How to set up your fonts in your publication
Once you have the fonts that you will use, you can start setting up your pages and decide how you will set up your fonts with respect to weight, size, spacing etc.
Size and types
Choosing the right size of your font is related to the type of font that you have chosen. If the font itself is fat and wide it will take up more space on a page than a font that is thinner, obviously. Use the point system that is given (for example Arial 11) to decide the font size. Next off, to make your text look beautiful and readable, avoid using bold type. You can use bold type for (sub)headings but it does not look so nice in your main text. If you like to emphasize things it is best to use italics.
As for spacing, it is important that your text does not look too dense, but it is all about balance, because too much white space on your page does not look nice either. These general guidelines can help you:
Do not put more than 13 words in one line.
Mind the gaps between paragraphs.
Avoid hyphenation at the end of a line as much as possible.
Do not double space your paragraphs.
Your line spacing should not be larger than 1.5 times the size of your chosen fonts.
Indent your paragraphs in a way that is relative to the size of the type and avoid the tab key. Make sure you have the right amount of white space between words (leading): a general rule is that your leading value should be greater than the font size, about 1.25 to 1.5 times.
In addition, remember to vectorize your fonts to avoid any changes or stretching when your publication is printed.
Stay tuned for our white paper, in which we will give you more how-tos on typography.