Best Font For Articles and Reports

by 14 replies
May sound like a dumb question, but what is the preferred font for articles and reports to be published in PDF?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #articles #font #reports
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  • Profile picture of the author Kecia
    I use the more common fonts such as arial and times new roman.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    I use Arial.

    Dan Rinnert is the specialist on this type of thing. I will see if I can get him to contribute.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeborahDera
    Originally Posted by brybiz View Post

    May sound like a dumb question, but what is the preferred font for articles and reports to be published in PDF?
    Times New Roman is a very common font but, I agree that Ariel is very popular as well. Both are easy on the eye and don't make things difficult to read. I'd never go any smaller than 12pt font.
    • Profile picture of the author bretski
      I like Tahoma and used to like Georgia until a graphic arts chick told me never to use a font named after a state...????
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Is the PDF intended for printing or onscreen viewing?

      Typically, for print, you would use a sans serif font for headlines and a serif font for body copy. For screen, you might use the reverse: a serif font for headlines and sans serif for body copy.

      Of course, debate goes on as to whether the traditional standards really do hold up to the readability claims of each.

      For print or onscreen viewing, the most important thing is to choose a font that's clear. Old English may be good for display copy, but it's not something you want to read hundreds of words in.

      For print, I still lean toward the traditional standards of sans serif for headlines and serif for body copy. But, there are those who will use a sans serif font throughout and not use a serif at all.

      For onscreen reading, you have to remember that fonts like Arial and Times Roman were originally designed for print. Then, when the era of desktop publishing began, these print typefaces were brought to computers. Originally, consumer computers were primarily used to produce printed works. Printers and publishers used them to lay out books and publications intended to be printed. People at home would use them to print letters and other documents.

      As we moved into sharing digital documents, we largely stuck with the same fonts that had been being used for print. But, what looks good in print doesn't necessarily look good onscreen. Looking at a screen is not the same as looking at paper. Print resolution may be 300 dpi, 600 dpi, 1200 dpi and on up, whereas typical screen resolution may be 72 dopi or 96 dpi. So, there's a world of difference between a printed piece and a computer screen.

      Not only that, but, with digital, you're generally looking at a light source. Unless you're reading on something like a Kindle, you're looking at a bunch of pixels of light shining right into your eyes.

      So, the different mediums have their different issues. What may be easily read on paper may be a strain on the eyes onscreen.

      Now, more and more fonts are being designed with onscreen viewing in mind. Some are even designed to look good in both print and on a computer screen. Verdana and Georgia, for example, were both designed for onscreen viewing, but look decent printed on paper as well. So, if you're designing a PDF meant to be read onscreen, or if you don't know how it might be read, Verdana and Georgia may be good choices as sans serif and serif font selections.

      Older fonts, like Arial and Times Roman, are going to look best in print, as that is what they were originally designed for. If you are creating PDFs to be viewed onscreen (or print or onscreen), choosing more modern fonts—fonts designed in the digital age—will be your best option.

      Here are just some quick examples:

      Traditional Print Fonts
      Arial (sans serif)
      Helvetica (sans serif)
      Times Roman (serif)

      Modern Digital Fonts
      Geneva (sans serif)
      Georgia (serif)
      Trebuchet (sans serif)
      Verdana (sans serif)

      The other thing to bear in mind is point size. Some people will latch on to a particular point size and not go smaller or larger than that size. But, point sizes can be deceiving. First, you have to understand how point sizes are determined. Originally, they were based on the size of the metal base upon which characters were cast. This goes back to the days of lead type. In the digital realm, there is no metal base anymore, but a block of space is defined in font creation software to represent this metal base.

      As such, it is not necessary to fill that space. That is, designers usually leave space around the top, bottom and sides of a character. (Kerning, the spacing between letters, can be defined later.) The amount of spacing around a character may vary from designer to designer. They will maintain consistent spacing from letter to letter within a specific font, but that consistency may not be the same from font to font. So, even if you're dealing with, say 12 point type, variations in design mean that different fonts may appear to be different sizes in comparison to one another even when they are all set at 12 point in size.

      The thing is to not rely too heavily on point size but to instead look at readability. If the font looks too small to read, make it larger. If it looks too big, make it smaller. You can use 12 point as a starter setting, but look at it closely to see if it's an optimal size for the particular font you've chosen to use and adjust as needed.

      Personally, I typically use a larger font in my PDFs. I don't do it to inflate page count but to enhance readability. When people view onscreen, they can size the page as needed. But, when printing something out, it's not as easily to adjust the size. So, I like to have it a little larger to make it easier for those with poor eyesight to read. Those with sharp eyes can print it 2-up or something if they want to reduce their paper consumption.

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  • Profile picture of the author Peggy Baron
    I like to use 11pt Verdana, that way it doesn't come out too big when converted to PDF. I also use 1.15 line spacing for reports and ebooks because I think it's easier to read.

    I dislike PDFs where the font is huge, thereby upping their page count.

    • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
      The best font to use depends upon whether the PDF
      will be read on screen or in a physical print-out.

      Your font should be easy to read.

      For on screen reading use a sans-serif font such as
      Verdana or Arial.

      For a physical print-out, us a serif font such as Courier
      New or Times New Roman.

      That said, you can use a font to brand your reports so
      you stand out from the crowd. However, only use a more
      unique font for headlines, etc and stick to the standard
      easy to read fonts for the main body text.

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    • Profile picture of the author wayne60618
      Originally Posted by Peggy Baron View Post

      I like to use 11pt Verdana, that way it doesn't come out too big when converted to PDF. I also use 1.15 line spacing for reports and ebooks because I think it's easier to read.

      I dislike PDFs where the font is huge, thereby upping their page count.

      This is what I do as well. I think Verdana is pretty easy to read and the 1.15 line spacing creates a good balance of white space.
  • Profile picture of the author jamjar919
    I use Calibri, Helvetica, Verdana, Univers and Tahoma for body text. Sometimes I use Arial.

    Cambria and Georgia for headings

    I use this as a general guide to fonts - Fonts |

    Feel free to ask me any IM related questions or add me on skype :D
  • Profile picture of the author AdamCBR
    Forgot to say, as its going to be a PDF, you can use any fonts without worrying about whether they will revert, as you can embed them. (so you dont need to worry whether the end user has them installed or not)
    • Profile picture of the author orvn
      I love letters.

      Attractive typeaces are like pornography to me; here's my opinion on what one should use for large bodies of text:
      Trebuchet ◆ Woven silk pyjamas exchanged for blue quartz.
      Tahoma ◆ Woven silk pyjamas exchanged for blue quartz.
      Verdana ◆ Woven silk pyjamas exchanged for blue quartz.

      Who the sh*t uses times? What do you think this is 1999?
      It's all about the sans serif!

      (PS- for titles, try Helvatica Neue Light or Gill Sans Light, ZOMG incredible)
      Orun Bhuiyan[@orvn] [linkedin] See what I've been doing lately by visiting my marketing agency's site. SEOcial specializes in content marketing and integrated optimization. We create conversions for businesses by gracefully connecting the realms of design, development and marketing.

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