Is there a font that can effectively be used for both print and screen?

mukhtarsanders's picture

Hi - I am new to typophile and would like to say congratulations on a superb website!

I am working on the branding of a large website start-up company dealing with World History. Essentially it will be an on-line encyclopaedia or research tool. The criteria for font selection is as follows:

Widely available across current platforms (a core font)
Font should be serif and not modern looking
Both print and screen use
Free - no licence required

At the moment, the choice I have suggested is Georgia which works great on screen but no good with print.

I would much appreciate your suggestions – thanks in advance.

Rob O. Font's picture

I welcome correction, but unless your user base is "limited" to 120-144 dpi viewing devices, I think your search ends in northern Georgia.


mukhtarsanders's picture

Thanks for your reply dberlow. Georgia is fine for all their screen publications but there will be plenty of print stuff such as business cards, letterheads and brochures. They want to have a strong brand and were hoping to use the same or similar font across all their material. Which out of the serif fonts available on Mac and PCs would work well as a print font to go with Georgia? Also to complicate matters there will be some limited need of a sans serif face so any suggestions would be welcomed.

Rob O. Font's picture

No, sorry, there is also Times. Times Roman and Times New Roman.


aluminum's picture

Georgia is great on screen. I think it's great on paper, too, but if not, it's not a big deal to have Georgia online and something else in print.

You can't ever count on a specific text face online anyways.

litera's picture

Adobe Minion Web

aluminum's picture

Minion wouldn't be considered a 'web safe' font, but could still certainly be spec'd.

Lex Kominek's picture

Limiting yourself to web-safe typefaces for all areas of branding is not a good idea IMHO. The web is very limited in the way of type, and people are used to it. If you go with Georgia on the website and a different font for print (or header images, etc.) you shouldn't run into any problems.

The one point that concerns me is the fourth one. If it has to be free or a system font, then you're pretty much stuck with Georgia or TNR.

- Lex

mukhtarsanders's picture

Thank you so much for all your feedback. I have tried to explain to the client the limitations of using only web safe fonts but as they want to edit and publish a lot of their print materials themselves, they have said they do not want to purchase any font licenses. I think it will probably end up being Georgia for screen and print - shame as the typography will suffer. Thanks again everyone.

litera's picture

BTW: Georgia looks just fine printed out as long as you use enough leading due to it's rather high x-height. It still looks years better than the overused Times New Roman.

henrypijames's picture

I honestly have no idea why Georgia isn't a superb font for print. In fact it's my standard font for non-personal letters, and it has never appeared anything other than beautiful to me.

Spire's picture

Add me to the chorus: Georgia.

robbiefa's picture

You must remember you can't really control what fonts people have on their computer so your much better off just going with a font that works... ie (and dont shot me for this) arial for screen and then concentrate on pushing the print using logo and colour use!

if you spend all day trying to make people use georgia on screen you'll be putting your self into alot of trouble unless you use it on a non html website! or rendered jpegs...

henrypijames's picture

I don't think Arial is significantly wider available than Georgia.

aluminum's picture

Georgia would be installed on any modern Mac or Windows machine. Linux folks might feel left out, but there's no reason you can't spec Georgia, then times or whatever else as a backup.

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