View Full Version : Best Font?


Djehuty
04-13-2010, 11:11 AM
I'm curious, what do you folks think is the best font for displaying text on an e-ink page? I'm currently using Georgia, but it shows up a tad blurry. Are there better options? And are there better options with similar font characteristics (old-timey bookish feel, large x-height, non-lining numbers)?

Jellby
04-13-2010, 11:39 AM
There are some threads about that, and everyone has his/her preference (which is seldom tranferable).

kacir
04-13-2010, 11:46 AM
My absolute favorite at the moemnt is Gentium.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentium
Freely downloadable.
There are two versions (all available in Regular, Bold, Italics and Bold italics) - Gentium Basics and Gentium Book Basics.

Also Droid that was developed specifically for use on small screens is great. Google paid for developement, released the fong under Apache license.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droid_%28font%29

Also have a look at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberation_Sans
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Libertine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DejaVu_fonts

many people also like Fontin
http://www.josbuivenga.demon.nl/fontin.html

another noteworthy font is Lido STF
Lido SFT was designed specifically for Czech newspaper Lidové Noviny, so it can survive relatively adverse conditions, and can be used to squeeze lots of readable text into small space.
I personally do not like the font, because on my reader the capital letters stand out on the page - they look much darker than the rest of the text. But the font itself is very nice, professionally done.
http://www.stormtype.com/free.html

All the above fonts are freely available. Some are truly free, some are for your personal use.


You can also try Microsoft core fonts.
If you install power point viewer 2007 you will also get all core fonts from Windows Vista.

Guns4Hire
04-13-2010, 01:15 PM
Also Droid that was developed specifically for use on small screens is great. Google paid for developement, released the fong under Apache license.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droid_%28font%29



Thats what I am using on my PB360. Someone posted screenshots of it on their PB360 in the PB forum. So once I got my PB360 thats the first thing I did was install that font.

kacir
04-13-2010, 03:01 PM
Thats what I am using on my PB360. Someone posted screenshots of it on their PB360 in the PB forum. So once I got my PB360 thats the first thing I did was install that font.
I think that was me ;-)

charleski
04-13-2010, 04:02 PM
The best font for a book depends on the book, there's no one-size-fits-all.

For LCD screens, Microsoft have spent a lot of work optimising their 'C' family to provide maximum clarity, but these are based on the use of ClearType, so won't work as well on eInk. In general you simply want a font with a reasonably large x-height and open apertures, and without too much stroke modulation. Personally, I really like Minion, and installed it as the general-purpose font on my reader.

The issue of text (or 'old-style') figures is a bit of a problem on ereaders. There's no standard unicode location for them, so fonts that do have them put the glyphs in one of the private areas and provide OpenType pointers that can be used by the more sophisticated layout programs. If you want to use text figures you can either use a font-manipulation program to paste the text-figure glyphs over the normal lining-figure ones (old Postscript Type 1 fonts used to come in an 'old-style' version where this had been done for you) or you would need to find out the private-area codes for the numbers and specify them as entities (&#[char code];) in the xhtml.

Treven
04-13-2010, 04:20 PM
So how would one download a new font to their reader? In my case, the Sony 700?

Guns4Hire
04-13-2010, 10:13 PM
I think that was me ;-)

Haha, that was you.

This device (PB360) is a nightmare of goodness. The amount of tweaks and tips you can do on this thing is enormous. And I am definitely a tech tweaker by nature (or is it nurture hmm). I've actually kept myself from straying too far into the FB_Config Style area (massive amount of customization in there). Ive only made quit runs in to set things and then get the hell out before I become trapped. :)

Ervserver
04-13-2010, 10:55 PM
hard to choose best when I've been limited to so few. Thats a feature I'd like to see improved actually

LDBoblo
04-14-2010, 12:46 PM
Nothing looks amazing, and lots of fonts work more or less fine. There's no best right now, but I tend to stick with one of several Adobe fonts that suit my general preferences well.

I've never been able to get Minion to look pleasant to my eye, no matter what I do. Perhaps it's just easier to remember what it should look like because it's so ubiquitous. I've had far better luck with Arno Pro (SmText), Garamond Premier Pro (Caption), and Chaparral Pro (Caption). I've listed them in other threads, along with some others that I've found usable, but those three are my bread and butter.

In any event, the font choice itself is not the only important factor. Leading in particular needs to be considered, along with kerning and word spacing.

kacir
04-14-2010, 02:24 PM
I've never been able to get Minion to look pleasant to my eye, no matter what I do.

There are quite a few fonts that should look great on my PocketBook 360, but, somehow, they just ... don't.
I was looking forward to trying out Caecilia PNM, for example, and when I was finally able to locate it (I still have lots of friends working at DTP) I was very disappointed. I think the version of Caecilia I was testing did not have hinting information my PocketBook could use. I very much hope, Caecilia on Kindle (their default font) looks better than the version I was trying it out ;-)
I've had far better luck with Arno Pro (SmText), Garamond Premier Pro (Caption), and Chaparral Pro (Caption).

This is why I spent considerable amount of time trying out various fonts on my reader. Some fonts just work surprisingly well on my reader and you have to try to find out.
I strive for a very uniform "typographical grey" so the most important thing to me is that no letter "stands out" attracting my eye when I read.

In any event, the font choice itself is not the only important factor. Leading in particular needs to be considered, along with kerning and word spacing.
I wrote lots of rants about fully justified texts on Sony reader. They just do not look right. The typographical grey is way too uneven. With haphazardly executed (or missing) hyphenation, short lines (thanks to ridiculously wide margins in some books) there are very wide gaps between words, rivers and other things.
By the way, iBooks received some unpleasant reviews from typographers for exactly same reasons.
So the configurability of my PocketBook is very important. The ability to override margins, justification, font, line spacing, even hyphenation and contraction of spaces between words is crucial.

Ea
04-14-2010, 03:51 PM
There are quite a few fonts that should look great on my PocketBook 360, but, somehow, they just ... don't.
I was looking forward to trying out Caecilia PNM, for example, and when I was finally able to locate it (I still have lots of friends working at DTP) I was very disappointed. I think the version of Caecilia I was testing did not have hinting information my PocketBook could use. I very much hope, Caecilia on Kindle (their default font) looks better than the version I was trying it out ;-)

It does look a good deal better on the Kindle. I was quite disapponted, too, when I tried it on the PB as I like it on the Kindle. It looked much thinner on the PB (due to the higher resolution perhaps?) and was uncomfortable to read.

mbovenka
04-14-2010, 03:58 PM
Also Droid that was developed specifically for use on small screens is great. Google paid for developement, released the fong under Apache license.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Droid_%28font%29

Yep, I'm partial to Droid Serif myself. Looks nice and dark on my V3, especially with the embolden feature of the OI FBReader.

LDBoblo
04-14-2010, 04:46 PM
There are quite a few fonts that should look great on my PocketBook 360, but, somehow, they just ... don't.
I was looking forward to trying out Caecilia PNM, for example, and when I was finally able to locate it (I still have lots of friends working at DTP) I was very disappointed. I think the version of Caecilia I was testing did not have hinting information my PocketBook could use. I very much hope, Caecilia on Kindle (their default font) looks better than the version I was trying it out ;-)
PMN Caecilia is OK but it needs a lot of breathing room. I have it in one of my Adobe bundles, and it is fine, but I do not care for it for long text. Chaparral Pro is my preferred font for text that Caecilia would normally be suited to.

You can get a somewhat decent effect in Caecilia by condensing it a little bit. Not too much, just a few percent will do. I still don't care for it much, but if someone held a gun to my head and made me choose between Caecilia and...say...Utopia, I would go with the former. I think it'd lose almost every time against Scala though.
I wrote lots of rants about fully justified texts on Sony reader. They just do not look right. The typographical grey is way too uneven. With haphazardly executed (or missing) hyphenation, short lines (thanks to ridiculously wide margins in some books) there are very wide gaps between words, rivers and other things.
By the way, iBooks received some unpleasant reviews from typographers for exactly same reasons.
So the configurability of my PocketBook is very important. The ability to override margins, justification, font, line spacing, even hyphenation and contraction of spaces between words is crucial.
I probably should have mentioned that I won't read anything but PDF on my Sony. I can't really stand anything else. As for iBooks, I posted a link to such a review in the Apple forum not long ago! :thumbsup:

TallMomof2
04-14-2010, 07:07 PM
Helvetica is my current favorite. The simplicity of form appeals to me and I find it easy to read with my progressive lenses (modern bifocals). I used one of the font hacks to get it on my Kindle.

kacir
04-15-2010, 06:13 AM
It does look a good deal better on the Kindle. I was quite disappointed, too, when I tried it on the PB as I like it on the Kindle. It looked much thinner on the PB (due to the higher resolution perhaps?) and was uncomfortable to read.
Most probably it was caused by the fact that Caecilia is normally distributed in *.otf format. I think that PocketBook software can not use hinting information in otf format so it tries to render the font in its true shape. I tried to convert otf font file into ttf and I was informed by conversion software that hinting info in otf is incompatible with ttf format. Non-hinted font will not look good on a small resolution screen. And anything below 400dpi IS a small resolution. A 6" screen has resolution 166dpi and 5" one has resolution 200dpi. Do not take me wrong, 200dpi is great resolution for a screen, but not from a typographical point of view.

This is why so many people like to read using Verdana, Georgia, and other "core" Microsoft fonts on their e-ink readers. Fonts that Microsoft bundles with Windows, Office, Windows Vista, Office 2007, or web core pack are very well hinted.

If you have PocektBook, load alternative version of FBReader, set font size increase step to 1, display text using Verdana, gradualy increase the size and observe the results. You will see that shapes of letters are aggressively squeezed into a pixel grid, so vertical and horizontal strokes always look very sharp, even, and evenly sized.
Apple traditionally does this different way, so any Windows user that looks at Apple screen and every Apple user that looks at Windows screen innediately know that something is ... different here.
http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/06/12.html
http://damieng.com/blog/2007/06/13/font-rendering-philosophies-of-windows-and-mac-os-x


For more info on hinting see
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/TrueTypeHintingIntro.mspx - look at all five pages. VERY informative.
http://designorati.com/articles/t1/typography/461/typography-word-of-the-day-hinting.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Font_hinting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Microsoft_Windows_fonts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_fonts_for_the_Web

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambria_%28typeface%29
Also see Calibri, Candara, Consolas, Constantia, and Corbel, links on Cambria page.

s3ntient
04-15-2010, 11:28 AM
I use Adobe Garamond in all the PDFs I create for reading on my eReader. Haven't found anything better yet.

remlap
09-15-2010, 04:16 PM
Droid Sans is absolute lovely thanks for the suggestion

ardeegee
09-15-2010, 04:41 PM
For readability, I too find that I can read Georgia the whole day through without problem.

Solitaire1
09-15-2010, 04:46 PM
I prefer the following typefaces for my ebooks:

- Serif: Georgia
- San-Serif: Verdana & Calibri
- Fixed: Cumberland

I find each of these typefaces is fairly easy to read on my Sony Reader, with each clear and dark on my ereader's screen.

speakingtohe
09-16-2010, 03:30 PM
Quick and easy way to embed fonts using calibre is to convert to lrf as it allows you to embed font directly.
Then you can convert the lrf to whatever your reader uses.

Currently I am liking Verbana as I can read comfortably at a smaller font size than Times New Roman for example.

It is all about the comfort of easy reading for me. I don't pay attention to the font after the first page or so unless it makes reading easier or harder.

Helen

JSWolf
09-16-2010, 03:49 PM
Fontin is a very nice font. It's not too serify so it's a good font for those who like serif and those who like sans-serif. Plus it does look quite nice on an eink screen.

simplyparticular
09-16-2010, 06:54 PM
I've been happy with ArnoPro on my Opus, which I see someone else recommended. It is a tall, thin serif.

In fact, I like it so much, I haven't used the Nook since they sent me the replacement for the cracked buttons. No font hack on the Nook with out soft-rooting.

JSWolf
09-22-2010, 09:49 AM
To be honest, there is no best font. It's all personal preference. All we can do is state what it is we like and hop the OP finds one to his/her liking.

GeoffC
09-22-2010, 10:47 AM
I've been using Georgia a good deal; but for a change, I now like segoe print.

JoeKeppler
09-22-2010, 12:25 PM
Agreed with the idea the whole "one size doesn't fit all" mentality here, but would certainly argue that Georgia is pretty darn close to being comfortably great in every case.

Gotta agree with JSWolf too, Fontin was an EXCELLENT find recently. Great call.

shall1028
09-22-2010, 12:43 PM
Every font is the best font for its particular application. I find the following informative:

‘If you love it [MS Comic Sans typeface], you don’t know much about typography,’ Mr. Connare says. But, he adds, ‘if you hate it, you really don’t know much about typography, either, and you should get another hobby.’

Vincent Connare (creator of MS Comic Sans), on-line Wall Street Journal interview (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123992364819927171.html)

kacir
09-22-2010, 01:13 PM
Vincent Connare (creator of MS Comic Sans), on-line Wall Street Journal interview (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123992364819927171.html)
... gravestones ...
I have to put that one into my last will.
THIS is the font I want to have on my tombstone!

JSWolf
09-23-2010, 12:05 PM
Agreed with the idea the whole "one size doesn't fit all" mentality here, but would certainly argue that Georgia is pretty darn close to being comfortably great in every case.

Gotta agree with JSWolf too, Fontin was an EXCELLENT find recently. Great call.

Zelda was the one who found Fontin. So all the credit goes to her for the find.

Scott Nielsen
09-24-2010, 10:06 PM
Does anyone know how Calibri looks on an eReader? It's what I tend to use computer wise, I find it very readable, but I'm unsure how it would translate into an eInk device.

texasnightowl
09-24-2010, 10:36 PM
I loaded a handful of fonts on my Opus and the one I tend to read with most is Verdana.

grimborg
09-28-2010, 03:51 AM
I've been using Caecilia for a while on my Nook. I rather like it, it looks clean.

veezh
09-28-2010, 04:23 AM
I recently discovered that Clarendon works well for more contemporary fiction (it's similar in feel to Caecilia, the default Kindle font).

I really like Adobe Caslon Pro for older works, though.

Fbone
11-01-2010, 01:55 AM
Revisiting these recommendations and found a couple I liked until I saw the cost.

Now I don't like them anymore.