Selecting Fonts For Book Publishing
Font Decisions For Publishing A Book
The choice of font type must consider:
The context of the book - some fonts look more formal than others
and are better suited to business and scientific books
Readability - depends on how letters work together in words and
in lines of text. The best way here is to use a standard paragraph
and try it in different fonts - you will be surprised how the right
one jumps out at you. You must also consider what media the book
will read in. For instance, ebooks may either be read online or
printed and read.
So at this point you have fonts that both look good and are easy
to read in all media. The final test is to decide on the size. This
is often hard to deciede without seeing the font relative to the
final page size of the book. viewing it on a computer screen or
A4 page is irrelevant if you book size is 9.25" x 7.5".
So, take a selection of pages [3 or 4] and copy the font into a
book file sized to match your print book size. View this both online
and printed - but cut the printed version down to match the final
Play around with different combinations until you get the one you
Most print books are set in a serif font, due to publishers believing
this type to be more readable.
Technical books - are sometimes set in a sans serif font. This
may be due to most technical persons being more familiar with reading
documents online in this format.
Display fonts are used for headlines, headers, footers, chapter
titles, paragraph or section titles.
Chose display fonts for readability but since they are only short
lines, you can be more concerned about the style they add to your
Be careful that the combination of text font and display font
works together. It is common to have sans serif fonts for display
text in books where a serif font is used for the body text.
Helvetica is the most popular choice for chapter headings, being
the most distinctive font from Times Roman [if this is your choice
for the main text]. It also looks good in bold.
Other designers advocate using:
The same font for text and for section and subsection headings
Using ALL CAPS, italics, SMALL CAPS, etc., to differentiate the
levels of headings. Note - don't use small caps in a heading unless
you use a small caps font. The Small Caps feature used by word processors
generally only scales down capitals and is not true small caps.
ALL CAPS are harder to read, but this is fine for short chapter
titles, but not for long subheads.
- Chapter Head - 14 pt Helvetica ALL CAPS
- A - Subheadings - 12 pt Helvetica Bold
- B - Subheadings - Same size and type as Text
but in bold or italic
Note - if you are writing your book using Microsoft Word, to prevent
subheadings being orphaned at the bottom of the page - use Format
> Paragraph > Line and Page Breaks > Keep with next.
Font Size & Spacing
Remember that fonts that are too small are difficult to read, and
those that are too big, look like childrens books. The sizing must
consider both the text font size and the line spacing. For instance,
a text set "11/13" or "11 on 13" means 11-point
text with 13 points of spacing.
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