WARNING: If you are easily offended by the unfavorable discussion of various fonts, and would prefer not to see insults slung about different types of fonts, please be mindful that no actual offense is intentional on my part, and this post is purely my opinion.
When the person in charge of formatting my novel asked me to choose which font I wanted to use for the final version, I came to a realization.
I am a font snob.
Now, when it comes to handwriting, I have absolutely zero room to criticize. My handwriting looks like the scrawl of a child using their non-dominant hand. In fact, I don’t think my handwriting has changed significantly since I was in kindergarten; it just got smaller. If my handwriting were to become a font, known as the Frosty font (no, I’ve never once thought this out, I assure you…) it would be near illegible and extremely hideous. However, I don’t mess around with fonts.
Thankfully, when it came to my novel, I was presented with two choices; garamond and caslon. Both excellent fonts, if you ask me. Classy, smooth, readable, pleasing to the eye. I went with caslon, but only after conducting a facebook poll to see which one my friends/family preferred, because really, is there any other way to make a decision these days?
Honestly, I think there are a few fonts that most folks can universally agree are pretty vile. Comic sans is only okay when used ironically. Wingdings (versions 1-3) is complete nonsense. I can think of literally no occasion where papyrus is appropriate unless you are actually scribbling a message on a papyrus scroll to send to a pharaoh or whatever. Jokerman? It’s a joke, man.
But my gripes exceed the typical. First of all, do not even get me started on calibri. I am anti all default fonts; it’s the first thing I change when I open up a fresh document. I don’t even like Times New Roman, THERE I SAID IT. Arial is awful to look at, as are any and all perma-bold fonts, like Impact. I think any font meant to emulate the appearance of handwriting or cursive, like freestyle or mistral, can burn in eternal fire.
Essentially, I can narrow down my favorite fonts to a select few. The true elites. The fonts that combine all the requirements necessary for a good reading and writing experience; readability, pleasing aesthetic, smoothness, among others.
Georgia is a good, solid font, as is Verdana. They are reliable — the fonts you can call when your car breaks down on the highway and no matter what time, day or night, they will come and assist you. Or they’ll call AAA, whichever. Century is underrated, but another fine choice — it’s kind of basic, like a default font, but it has a little bit of a flair to it, which makes it distinct. Sylfaen is much the same. It’s kind of a unicorn font; not common, a bit mystical, and a visual stunner. Tahoma is a borderline font and I go back and forth with it, but I know it would serve as an effective lifeboat on a sea of comic sans and papyrus.
Now, my personal favorite, the font of all fonts, is Book Antiqua. I used to type all homework assignments and still type all of my drafts in Book Antiqua, then swap it to TNR when I send them off. To me, it is the god of fonts. The chosen font. The Neo of fonts.
I know, I know. Book Antiqua looks boring. And maybe it is. But when it comes to fonts, you really don’t want flashy, loud, or distracting, except in specific cases where the font is mean to look a certain way. Writing is supposed to be about the content of the writing, not what the words look like. Imagine if Hemingway had written The Old Man and the Sea in pristina. You’d barely be able to read it! You’d never know if he catches the fish or not!
Choosing a font is difficult because there are so many factors to consider, but really, it all boils down to what should be the most important thing; the writing itself. A lot of fonts may look cool and edgy, but that’s not what the focus should be on. So maybe I’m a little old-fashioned and overly picky (seriously, keep arial AWAY FROM ME) but honestly, I pick my fonts based on what I believe looks good and flows well across a page.
Though I do wonder if anyone else feels the way I do about fonts… or maybe it’s just me?Maybe I’ll even type my next draft in Jokerman. Who knows? (Spoiler: I won’t)