Narrow serif

ikonoklast's picture

I'm looking for a narrow serif typface. It's going to be used for an one page essay (about politics), and I want to fit a lot of text on the same page. It should of course be legible...

hrant's picture

It might seem counter-intuitive, but narrowness actually results in less economy than a wide face!
(Except in one-line settings.)

The reasons are that:
1) A wide face can be used at a smaller point size while maintaining (and possibly even improving* on) apparent size.
2) Linebreaks in text will often negate the culmulative horizontal savings a narrow face accumulates over many lines. A wider face at a smaller point size always saves in vertical space.

* This I still have to verify.

So a narrow face will only be more economical than a wide face -at a smaller size- if your text has very few linebreaks.

However, wide faces can convey less elegance/sophistication than a narrow face (like see the new LA Times body face), so a good reason to use a narrow font to save space would be if you want to convey a certain atmosphere. And note that a good narrowness/width depends on the point size (more like point size range) you're using.

Anyway, if you do decide on a narrow font, try Stone Print.


ikonoklast's picture

well, my teacher doesn't like when the size is anything other than 12 points (12/14). Otherwise I would have set the text in a smaller size. Stone Print looks nice Hrant - any other suggestions?

hrant's picture

> my teacher doesn't like when the size is anything other than 12 points (12/14)

Is this a pre-law class? :-/

Doesn't he think point size (not to mention leading) depends on what's being designed?
Would he set a newspaper in 12 point? I mean, I know Swedes have long arms, but that's ridiculous.


hrant's picture

I just thought of a potential loophole in your teacher's "rule".
If you could just get him to drop the 2-point leading requirement (try to think of a good excuse for that, like short lines), what you could do is use a font that's wide but small on the body, with zero (or maybe even negative) leading. That way you'll have a "12 point" font ("Just look, Quark says it's 12 point!"), but you could use width/size instead of narrowness to save space.


timd's picture

Make the layout with two or three columns, with a generous gutter, try to keep your measure to 40-50 characters, no hyphenation if possible.


ikonoklast's picture

I've read that 65 characters is ideal, but I guess it all depends on the typeface used. Changing the leading is of course an option, I'll do some experiments on it...

Any more suggestions on a narrow font?

Dan Weaver's picture

If you can get away from a serif face I like Agenda

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