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Old 01-26-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
jesjimher
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Good font for reading

Hey, after experimenting a lot with fonts, I've found one that makes reading very pleasant, and I haven't seen it mentioned much anywhere. The font is Gentium, and it's free! I use it regularly in my lbook and in my gf's Bebook, and it's a quite nice serif font with a wide symbol support.

I've recently discovered a variation of this font called Gentium Book that is slightly bolder, and that seems specially appropriate for devices like eink readers (with less contrast than a screen). The problem is that this variation isn't (yet) as universal as regular Gentium, and it doesn't contain the full set of cyrillic symbols. That causes that it doesn't work with the Coolreader version that comes with most official firmwares (which doesn't like ttf fonts with no cyrillic support). I'm trying to quick-patch the font using a program like fontforge to "copy-paste" the missing symbols from regular Gentium, I'll post the result when I achieve something.

One final note, this font doesn't render so well using FBReader (OpenInkpot and some other firmwares), I don't know why, different rendering engines, I guess. It looks much better in CoolReader.

Well, just wanted to share my findings!
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:20 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing, I'm going to try it!

Cheers,
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:48 AM   #3
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I have tried Gentium and while it's a nice looking font, I find it too big (on my Mini, that is) and the line spacing is huge. I prefer a font I found on my old Word Perfect CD: Thesis SSi. I doubt it'll support cyrillic, but then neither do I
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:21 AM   #4
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Also try Fontin and its cousin Fontin Sans.
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Old 01-27-2010, 07:11 PM   #5
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Yeah I've mentioned Gentium Book a few times in other subfora, but I don't really use it often as I have commercial fonts that I feel are a little bit superior, most of them Adobe fonts (though I do like some other foundries' works too).

Unfortunately, E-Ink isn't quite good enough to display fonts with sufficient quality to make any choice "ideal". Jenson Pro and Warnock Pro for instance, both of which I really enjoy in print, seem poorly matched to E-Ink, even in their "caption" sizes. They look OK and are readable, but they lose so much detail that it's a bit distracting.

Currently, I'm back on a Garamond kick and am using Garamond Premier Pro in "caption" size, which works fairly well at 9-10pt. You still lose a lot to the display, but there's still enough to make it a good reading font, and it still looks OK on a good screen. After experimenting a bit with Arno, I decided the smtext size is more pleasant, even if less dark/dense, than the caption size. Still gets a little funky smaller than 9.5pt though.

Also check out TypeTogether's Karmina, if you are interested in commercial fonts. With proper leading, it looks quite well-suited to E-Ink (it is designed for low quality print).

I'm attaching a file I threw together with a few samples. Ignore some of the kerning/spacing (like around the dropcaps) as it's really just put together for me to compare what some of the various letterforms look like in different lighting conditions--quite far from a finished piece. It's sized for a 6" 3:4 screen (PRS-505), so should display on similar screens. Font names are at the top of each page.

Edit: OK eliminated a typo and added Gentium Book, Chaparral, and Warnock. You can see what happens when typefaces like Times New Roman and Gentium, which do not support small caps, have to emulate them.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Paradise Lost 01 (typetest).pdf (669.6 KB, 615 views)

Last edited by LDBoblo; 01-28-2010 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:19 AM   #6
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That Jensen font I rather like. I like a high cap height on my reader (compared to the median).
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
That Jensen font I rather like. I like a high cap height on my reader (compared to the median).
I really like using Adobe's Jenson in print (even a ho-hum 600dpi laser print is good), but it just loses too much of its detail on e-paper for me to appreciate it.

Naturally the "safest" fonts are slab serifs and sans serifs, but I try my best to avoid them now for book text.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:06 PM   #8
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Try DejaVu Serif and oblige your eyes
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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I tried DejaVu Serif. It's actually on my Mini. But it's way too large for me.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:46 PM   #10
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I have discovered a very nice article discussing 40 free fonts that are as good as expensive professional ones.
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007...sional-design/
All usual suspects like Fontin, Gentium, Liberation sans are there, plus other interesting specimens
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Old 02-08-2010, 02:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacir View Post
I have discovered a very nice article discussing 40 free fonts that are as good as expensive professional ones.
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007...sional-design/
All usual suspects like Fontin, Gentium, Liberation sans are there, plus other interesting specimens
Well in general they're not as good as paid fonts. They're nice and useful for the price, and some are actually fairly good, but they're not particularly great if what you're doing is book work. Most of them are useful in headers, and some are OK in body copy, but they're quite far from ideal.

If all you're doing is throwing together an epub or something, then I guess it doesn't really matter what font you use, as long as you can read it and tolerate it. Luckily, with current ebook readers, you can't really get much nuance out of fonts anyways, so I suppose it's all a bit futile.
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDBoblo View Post
Well in general they're not as good as paid fonts. They're nice and useful for the price, and some are actually fairly good, but they're not particularly great if what you're doing is book work. Most of them are useful in headers, and some are OK in body copy, but they're quite far from ideal.

If all you're doing is throwing together an epub or something, then I guess it doesn't really matter what font you use, as long as you can read it and tolerate it. Luckily, with current ebook readers, you can't really get much nuance out of fonts anyways, so I suppose it's all a bit futile.
O brother, it sure makes a difference; even on my smartphone
But I'm with you on that most commercial fonts are business oriented. After all, past a certain point, the difference just fades away in the passionate eye.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:57 AM   #13
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I like Gentium and Fontin as well but now have a problem with my V5, I cannot open the settings menu anymore when I have the SD card in the reader. I added some other fonts and do not know which ones are the offenders. The settings menu works fine without the SD card. I am running Buggins latest firmware from 20th of July.
Short of taking all of my fonts off the SD card and putting them back one by one and trying the reader with each one, is there a reliable way to predict which fonts will work and which ones will muck things up? All my font names are small caps but some have underscores in them and although I read that that is not supposed to work, those fonts also show up and can be selected from within coolreader.
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