Serif pairing for Ex Ponto

sandrajonas's picture

Hello,

I'm designing a cover for a horse book and using Ex Ponto for the main title. The book combines training exercises with stories from the author’s life. I’m looking for a serif for the subtitle and author’s name that complements Ex Ponto—ideally, it would work for the interior main text as well.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

J Weltin's picture

A few suggestions:
Agmena
Adobe Jenson
Arno

sandrajonas's picture

All great options. I especially like Agmena.

Thanks!

charles ellertson's picture

Hopefully not an issue for you, but it does come up with bookwork -- One face you've chosen, Ex Ponto is an Adobe font family, so it's license likely covers digital publications -- either ePUB or pdf--as well as print. You'd have to check to be sure, but likely. It can even depend on the year you first licensed it.

Agmena looks to be a lovely font family. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to use it someday. But is from Linotype (now owned by Monotype).With the Monotype conglomeration, for any digital publication, you have to license (pay for) each separate font used (e.g., roman, italic, bold, etc), for each and every ebook title you produce using the fonts. This in addition to the "desktop" license needed for the print edition. For small publishers, this can be a factor. The publishers I work with --university presses -- now frequently instruct their designers to use only Adobe fonts purely for this reason. Saves a lot of bookkeeping, in addition to the extra cost. Such decisions come from management and the IT guys of course, not the designers. Sadly, they're higher up the food chain than designers.

It would be nice if the industry as a whole could come up with something like the ASCAP system (for music) for fonts, so the designers and even font publishers could get continual compensation. But until that time, the per-each use fees for fonts in digital publications, from some font publishers, are high enough to rule out their use without the designer checking with the publisher.

Edit: This reaction by the management is so strong I sometimes have trouble convincing them it's OK to use a font licensed under the SIL OFL license -- which, of course, says anyone can do anything they want, no charge. Management and IT rule the publishing world, it's all about bookkeeping and metadata now...

sandrajonas's picture

Thanks for the information, Charles.

Right now, we’re not planning an ebook edition for this title—it contains a large number of photos and diagrams that won’t translate well to that format. But I’m sure I’ll use Agmena for other projects, as well as other Monotype fonts, so I’ll have to keep their expensive licensing requirements in mind.

For the horse book, we’re using a coated paper, and based on what I read, the Agmena book weight will work nicely with that. I’m excited to try it!

hrant's picture

BTW Agmena was designed by the same person who designed Ex Ponto.

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

Right now, we’re not planning an ebook edition for this title—it contains a large number of photos and diagrams that won’t translate well to that format.

Don't know what trim size you going to use, but it is probably largish? 8x10? 9x12? We've spent the last year looking at the feasibility of using pdfs rather than ePUB for digital books. The downside is you have to make about 4 different ones, to work well from the smallest phone to a larger 8-inch iPAD, or even bigger.

But making multiple pdfs is cheap, relative to the work needed for a single ePUB, depending on how much the text is woven into the images. The less, the better. Using liquid layouts in InDesign makes this relatively painless. Plus you don't have to worry about a pdf breaking on some devices (as any ePUB will), or some bizarre reader settings. With a pdf, you keep control, and can use that control to the best advantage.

So, assuming you don't have to pander to the phones, the entire size range would be something like from the Kindle to the larger tablets -- well, not as large as my 18-inch tablet, but say 13 inches. You could get by with one, maybe two pdfs.

And if you ignore the 7-inch (diagonal) readers like the Kindle Fire, one of those sizes could likely be the print pdf, with different margins & of course, different ICC profile for the images.

It could well be a stunning digital book, done that way.

Why bring this up? Because commercial distribution of a PDF can also take you into the extra fee licensing situation.

^ ^ ^

Been my experience that a coated stock can take a heavier font, say Merlo, and work well. However, with an uncoated sheet, IMSLTHO Merlo at anything over 10-point looks too heavy. On the other side of that coin, things can get too light with a coated sheet. Agmena, if it will have any issues (& I haven't seen it printed) will fall on that side.

My instinct tells me to carefully compare the regular weight with the book weight -- in the link below, the "regular" seems to be slightly heavier. Harder to judge the relative contrast though, and you'll also want the one with the least contrast.

http://www.linotype.com/6951/agmena.html

For a coated sheet, I'd pick whichever is heavier, but without so much contrast the fine line are distressed.

Shouldn't be that hard to find someone who will send you -- or advise you of a library copy -- a printed sample on a coated (probably matte coated) sheet.

Good fortune with it.

charles ellertson's picture

A further thought...

Actually, when you think on it, there is no reason an ePUB has to use the same fonts as the print edition. You could well use Agmena for print and something else for ePUB -- or any digital edition -- if the extra licensing fees were an issue.

That said, if one plans on this ab initio, things could go more smoothly. One reason, perhpas, to bring back the old characters-per-pica data we used to have with fonts.

For similar sertwidths, Arno is close, and has a favorable license

http://misc.iks-design.net/tag/Imprint:%20Print%20Magazine%27s%20Design%...

In passing, I'm reminded again of just how good Minion is. If you owned and saved the old PostScript Multiple Masters Minion, much can be done.

sandrajonas's picture

You gave me a lot to consider. I've decided to look at Arno as well, just in case we pursue the PDF ebook option.

You mentioned in another post that you were disappointed with Arno on uncoated paper. Have you had experience with it on coated paper? We're using a matte coated paper (70#).

I have several samples of other horse books. The text is generally too weak or too heavy, and I'd like to avoid falling into either camp!

Thanks.

sandrajonas's picture

I've also read more about Agmena and its different weights. The designer, Jovica Veljović, offered these comments:

"I decided to incorporate subtle tone differences between Book and Roman. My concept was that Roman should be used for lined paper. Book is designed to work better on plain paper, in other words, on publishing paper. The other thought I had was that both could be used in combination, with Regular in the point sizes 6 to 8 to set footnotes and Book in the point sizes 9 to 14 to set the text."

What does he mean by "lined paper"?

Thanks.

charles ellertson's picture

As best I remember, I've not seen Arno used for text on a coated sheet printed offset, but my guess is it would be very good indeed. The ink would not be absorbed as much, hence not spread as much.

^ ^ ^

I've no idea what the designer meant by "lined paper," but perhaps you could write & ask -- Even the most famous designers have been known to answer questions from the users of their types.

hrant's picture

In my view type for reading should be darker than what people generally consciously prefer these days.

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

In my view type for reading should be darker than what people generally consciously prefer these days.

We agree on something after all. Though as an interesting experiment, see if American Literature from the late 1960s - early 1970s is available in a library near you. As it is a MLA publication, it probably will be.

In that era, AL was set letterpress (by Heritage Printers), in Granjon. Lord, is it thin -- and this is true letterpress, the printing is from Linotype as cast. A good example, I think, of Dwiggins note that as papers and dwell impressions changed, the characters needed to be slightly redrawn to accommodate the changed printing and papers.

And just perhaps that as the availability of printed matter grew, most of us who grew up reading "hot metal type" were really reading printing from either stereo plates, or offset, from repro pulled on a proofing press, then made into mechanicals, photographed, and printed lithographically. We were not truly reading "letterpress" printing.

Another factor, with photocomp & digital fonts, is one master size is used for a number of setting sizes. There is usually a size beyond which most digital text fonts just don't work well. More than a matter of weight, it is at least equally a matter of spacing, though weight is certainly a factor.

Finally, a psychological factor: Likely there is a range of type weight that each generation reads whilst coming of age, and that seems to them to be correct. As I learned to read in the 1950s, I probably find metal type, with the weight achieved with printed from stereo plates or offset/repro, most familiar and natural.

Given all this, I still find Arno, printed on an uncoated sheet, too heavy for it's letterforms -- just like Merlo with any size over 10 point on an uncoated sheet.

But everyone has their own eye on such things, go and look at printed books. As they say, YMMV. But make this judgement by reading a sample, not by reading some reviewers report.

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