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How important is the font?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Aussie Willy, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Having just taken over the secretarial role on a committee, last night I presented the minutes in Arial font which was appreciated by the president. The person who did the minutes previously used Times New Roman. Also tried to format them a bit more professionally.

    Personally I hate Times New Roman or Courier fonts.

    At work we tend to use Arial on our documents.

    So what do people think about fonts? Any particular loves and hates? Are there any standards for any professions?
  2. KatieC

    KatieC So peaceful

    I don't think anybody has every mentioned it in my office, and all I care about is if it's big enough to read! Well, when I'm producing something I fiddle around a bit and use something other than Times New Roman. It's a tad boring.
  3. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    I feel that Times New Roman is harder to read on the screen, but not on paper.

    I too like other fonts, but if you send documents electronically, you run into problems with people not having that font installed on their computer. I've even had it happen with PDF's, where it's not supposed to happen.
  4. Erica Lee

    Erica Lee New Member

    The general rule that's been taught to me is that sans serif fonts are easier to read on screens, while serif fonts are easier to read in print. I don't really necessarily observe this personally, though.

    However, I am opposed to Times New Roman no matter what the context - just because it's the default, and therefore overused. Also because it's the default and if people leave it as the font they use, there's the connotation that they didn't care enough to take the time to purposely select a font or think about what would be best. But that's just me.
  5. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    Our contract templates are formatted Times New Roman. I hate the way they look. I think it's because I'm old enough to have used a typewriter, and the documents look like they were generated 40 years ago. I prefer sans serif. At least it looks like it was generated in this century.
  6. susan6

    susan6 Well-Known Member

    At one point a certain federal agency specifically requested that people submit grant proposals to them using only Arial or Helvetica or one other font that I've forgotten, for the reason that many of the reviewers would just be reading the documents on computer screens and sans-serif fonts are easier to read on computer screens. But they've let that rule slide nowadays.

    For printed documents, serif fonts guide the eye across the page, but the little serifs may look a bit blurry on a computer screen, so sans serif fonts are favored there.

    :shuffle: I like Times New Roman. :slinkaway

    Palatino is also nice.
  7. ArtisticFan

    ArtisticFan Well-Known Member

    I have been taught the same thing. I have also been taught that headlines, titles, or anything that you would bold, underline etc. were fine in sans serif, but that the body text should be in serif fonts.
  8. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

    I have Verdana on my computer. I don't really have a preference; I just want to be able to read it. I remember Times Roman on the typewriter. I'm dating myself--I'd rather see anything but that. I change up every once in a while when I see someone else using that looks particularly interesting.
  9. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Generic sans serif (Arial, Helvetica, Verdana) or generic serif fonts (Times New Roman, Georgia) are fine with me. Personally I like working with serif fonts when typing down lab stuff, because there's no way you can misread capital I's or 1's or lowercase L's. :lol:

    Sans serif is easier to read on screen, especially when you consider that some people might resize your stuff and then it'll show up very small. When doing anything that's supposed to be shared between computers, you have to consider how common that font is because not every computer is going to have Franklin Gothic or whatever. I even had to hawk Helvetica from my friend's computer!

    I HATE HATE HATE seeing Comic Sans or Papyrus. They're very distinct AND commonplace, which is the fast way to sick-of-looking-at-it land.
  10. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    I'm a graphic designer, so my answer is VERY! :lol:

    Serif fonts are easier to read because the serifs (the little slabs at the ends of letters) act like little visual aids to guide your eye to the next letter/word. So setting large amounts of copy in serif fonts is purportedly more readable. It also looks more classic/old-fashioned. Large type can be either serif or sans serif, but they convey different moods. In my profession (newspapers), sans serif fonts are used for "hard news" stories like crime, elections, etc. Serif fonts are "softer" and are used for feature stories and columns.

    I don't hate Papyrus, but it's such a distinctive font that should only be used in specific thematic designs. Comic Sans can go die.
  11. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    I also think that sans serif fonts come off "clean and airy," which is why so many skincare/spa companies use sans serif fonts with very open designs.

    The problem with Papyrus is that "specific thematic designs" run the gamut from food to skincare to...seemingly everything that want an air of fancy. But the thing is, choosing such a commonly-used font doesn't give off the air of distinction, it just comes off lazy. :lol:
  12. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

    I use Century Gothic at every opportunity. I hate typed 'a' with a passion.
  13. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    Not a fan of the broken counter lowercase "a"? :p
  14. Dr.Siouxs

    Dr.Siouxs Well-Known Member

    wingdings for me
    uyeahu and (deleted member) like this.
  15. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    :lol: Now why doesn't that surprise me? :D
  16. mpal2

    mpal2 Well-Known Member

    Give webdings a chance
    uyeahu and (deleted member) like this.
  17. millyskate

    millyskate Well-Known Member

    I like Tahoma, Arial, and for programs or invitations I used Lucinda hand writing a lot :)
  18. skatefan

    skatefan home in England

    :lol: I'm a fan of Century Gothic for exactly the same reason :)
  19. Meredith

    Meredith what a glorious day!

    I'm sure there's a reason that Courier is still offered; I just don't know what it is. If ever a font should be buried . . .

  20. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

    I use Arial in general, but when I can use something with a tad more personality I use Georgia, especially Georgia italic, and Verdana.
  21. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    I use Times New Roman at work, but their default is Arial, although nobody uses it there, so don't know why it's our default. Personally, I prefer Comic Sans MS
  22. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    I disagree re: Times, and the idea of not caring enough to select something different, in most contexts. What should the reader be noticing about the document? The message you're trying to get across? Or the font?

    IMO, in most contexts (business letters, memos, papers submitted for school, etc.) the font should be unobtrusive - not noticed. And the emphasis should be on legibility. That usually means using Times New Roman or another similar font for the body of the document, if the document is to be printed; and Helvetica/Ariel or similar if it's to be read on-screen.
  23. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    Courier is often used for proofreading. A document will be changed to Courier for proofing, and all of a sudden, all errors (extra spaces, weird punctuation, etc.) are visible in ways that they aren't with other fonts, because Courier (there's a technical term for this, but I forget) is evenly spaced, unlike other typefaces.
  24. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

    Yes, courier is useful, even if it's really ugly. At the newspaper I used to work at, courier was the default font on the imagesetter (the machine that produces images of the pages on big film). So if we used a weird funky font and the imagesetter didn't "see" that font, it would substitute courier. And courier stands out a lot when it's not supposed to be there (it bunches together oddly), so it was easy to see what needed to be changed.

    And personally, I also loathe Times New Roman and Comic Sans. So overused, and in Comic Sans' case, misused. Arial or Tahoma are my choices for a general sans serif font. Garamond and Georgia for serif.
  25. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    Times New Roman for all internal and external correspondence - this has been everywhere I've worked.I've also gotten away with Garamond at times.

    PPT and Excel, however, has varied, depending on where I was working at the time.

    Currently, for our plan of the week, I use Gill Sans MT, using Broadway for all headlines. I lurve Broadway 'cause it's so Art Deco.
  26. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Also, almost every computer program can read Times New Roman and a few others such as Arial. I don't have a lot of the fonts that have been mentioned on the board, and that could cause problems. Some places have stipulated that work be in Times New Roman because of these compatibility issues.
  27. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    Highlighting the above two posts as I agree. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, and I come across it all the time in my work.

    Simple is better! If you want the content to speak, then the font should take a back seat.

    And absolutely beware of conversions to other systems and technologies - fine to play around with internal documents, or ones you will print and distribute yourself, but if you are transmitting things electronically, you could be in for a world of hurt.

    Funny that you mention Gill Sans - a former employer used this on everything, without realizing that when they sent documents to clients, the formatting would often change because not all systems have this typeface, and certainly not all printers can handle it.

    Worse, they would send things out in A4 paper size to clients who used Letter sizing, resulting in some very ugly documents with one line appearing on an extra page. :rolleyes:

    On a related note - colour. I worked with a company when they created a new logo, using a particularly trendy shade of lime green fashionable at the time. On nearly all screens and printers, it came out looking like puke. Shame on the graphic designers for placing greater importance on designing something cool for their portfolio than something usable for their client!
  28. Bev Johnston

    Bev Johnston Well-Known Member

    I used to work in the Manuals and Pubs department for a major corporation that took user documentation very seriously. We had a committee whose sole focus was to constantly tweak the template that we used for writing docs. We used Garamond for everything in the body of the document expect bolded text, table headings, and captions. I can't remember what we used for table headings and captions, but bolded text within a sentence used Arial. Headers, footers, sectional headings, and title pages also used Arial. It looked nice in printed format.

    Online documentation, such as online Help, was written completely in Arial because it looks cleaner on-screen.

    LOL about the Comic Sans hatred. I had a boss at another company that not only used Comic Sans in all of her e-mail communication, but also a very large font size and PURPLE text color. This woman taught an e-mail etiquette class. Ha - as if!
  29. Simone411

    Simone411 I'm Clippy. I love Ashley and Janny!

    Occasionally, we'll use Arial at our office. Most of the time, we use Garamond because it uses less ink when compared to most fonts. Impact or Cooper Black are next in line to Garamond when it comes to using less ink. So, if you want to save on ink, use Garamond! :lol:
  30. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Past Prancer's Corridor

    COMIC SANS MUST DIE!!!! :D At least that's what the communications director and graphic designers here believe. As, apparently, do a lot of other folk. And please save the poor bunny from more abuse! :(