Maximum words per page.

belleisle's picture

I am currently re-designing a scientific/business magazine which has a very high word count. 1000 words + heads and images per A4 (UK) page.

In an attempt to give myself maximum designing space, I have been seeking a body copy serif font that will give a high word count whilst achieving good clarity and readability. To get the project off the ground have found that a version of Simoncini Garamond at 9/9.5 is OK, however have a budget to buy something offering an even better word count.

Just wanted some advice on what other people are using or have experienced in similar situations.
Have got it in my head that something like HTF Mercury might be the answer?

Thanks

poms's picture

I have been seeking a body copy serif font that will give a high word count whilst achieving good clarity and readability.

Do you know Adobe Kepler Semicondensed (from light to black plus 4 opticals*)?

9/9.5
Please, don't do it so compress!

* I mean from caption to display

charles ellertson's picture

Simoncini Garamod is still an essentially "round" face. As a general rule, the rounder the letterforms, the fewer characters per pica you get. You get the character count up by going to smaller setting size, and you retain legibility by having a larger x-height.

One font that really packs in the characters is Stone Print. It is pretty traditional though, and may not be appropriate for a business/scientific magazine. But so too is Simoncini Garamond. I assume this is an double-column 8-1/2 x 11 *magazine* & not a single column 6 x 9 *journal*. Another thing about Stone Print is that is won't read well when the measure gets over about 24-25 picas.

Quadraat too packs in the characters, due more to it's large x-heigth.

A slightly condensed font can help a bit -- Richard Eckersley, who was fond of narrow books, use to use Minion from the multiple masters, with about a 95% value for character width. Gave him a couple more characters per 25-pica line.

BTW, it is the characters per line rather than the lines per page that really makes a difference with straight text. The resaon is that stories and/or chapters usually begin a fresh page, so the only time you save pages are those few times when, by the luck of the draw, a few lines force another the last page.

All this changes when you have to fit in images or tables, but not as much as you might think.

I'd go with a slightly condensed font that has a large x-height, so you can set it reasonably small. In passing, while you probably wouldn't want to use it, Optima can be set very small & still be legible. I didn't believe it until I saw an encyclopedia Rich Hendel designed that had to really pack in the copy.

Oh, another font that might work is Arnhem; much more modern looking & business like than any Garamond. We set The Encyclopedia of North Carolina using Arnhem -- another Hendel design. While a roundish font, you can set it small & retain readability.

FWIW

Scalfin's picture

NPS Rawlinson and Clearview were designed for legibility at small size and large distances, so I would recommend them.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

NPS Rawlinson and Clearview were designed for legibility at small size and large distances

Scalfin, Clearview is a sans serif designed for road signage.

Remember, belleisle said... I have been seeking a body copy serif font

joeclark's picture

Gulliver.

Cushing (often overlooked, and I can never remember its name).


Joe Clark
http://joeclark.org/

kentlew's picture

Ricardo --

Clearview Highway is indeed designed for road signage, as most of us well know. However, Clearview Text is as Scalfin says:

ClearviewText is a modern sans neutral enough in design for corporate communication, with just enough of its own personality to separate itself from that vast ocean of sans serif fonts. [ . . . ] Drawing on the same research and development that led to the ultra-legible ClearviewHwy fonts ClearviewText functions as a highly readable series of text and display fonts.

[from the Terminal Design website]

Scalfin's picture

Does it achieve that function, in your opinion?

William Berkson's picture

I am not a publication designer, but if I had to pack in words, I would also look at two of Peter Bilak's: Fedra Serif and Greta, which you can find at Typotheque.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Joe Clark suggested: Gulliver

Have you seen its licensing conditions?
Gulliver is available exclusively to organisations and companies whose printing work will do justice to its space-saving capabilities. Minimum licence: 20 workstations.
To guarantee Gulliver’s exclusivity, no more than 100 licences will be issued worldwide. Licensees automatically become members of the Gulliver Club.

Nice face, nice idea. I don’t know if Tim’s magazine is getting manufactured on ≥20 workstations, though.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

However, Clearview Text is as Scalfin says

Thanks, Kent. I stand corrected!

[EDIT] But on the other hand, it's still not a serif. :-)

Scalfin's picture

Though you were correct in that it was designed for distances, which means that the modified text version is not ideal for text legibility at small sizes, depending on how differently we perceive small and far away (is there a difference?). I was mostly thinking about an anecdote from the maker that his daughter accidentally printed out the highway version (this was before the text version) for a school assignment, and the teacher commented that she found the paper incredibly readable, but couldn't figure out why.

I'm not experience at working with or judging typefaces, so you'll have to judge whether I had the right idea when I recommended based upon purpose. They may have failed miserably.

belleisle's picture

Firstly thanks to everyone who has taken the time to respond.
I have spent some time today testing out your suggestions and a few others of my own...

I am creating a template for a 'non-creative' production team to work with and need the solution to be extremely rigid and user friendly - I was concerned that using a semi condensed font for page after page would need extra care and attention in use, something its not always going to get - but was getting resigned to looking in that direction - We are taking about people who would think nothing of throwing in a bit of minus tracking/kerning to get something to fit...

For those interested, bearing in mind in some instances I am calculating the text length on the info gleaned from the various websites and taking into account the fonts that I prefered - the following shaped up well.

Quadraat gained about a line or two on the Garamond.
Arnhem is a nice font and will be conducting some further tests.

But the typotheque fonts Freda and especially Greta showed up really well. Greta looks like it will save up to approx 20-25% of text space (compared to the Garamond) + it looks really good as a body copy font. In fact I would recommend the pdf tester on the website as an extremely useful resource as I was able to set a paragraph of actual copy and alter the size and width.

Once again thanks.
Tim

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

I was mostly thinking about an anecdote from the maker that his daughter accidentally printed out the highway version (this was before the text version) for a school assignment, and the teacher commented that she found the paper incredibly readable, but couldn’t figure out why.

Hey, Scalfin, I read that, too -- funny anecdote! As for my comments, I hope it doesn't seem like I was picking on you -- I wasn't. I suppose that I was splitting hairs, as they say -- a bad habit I need to keep at bay, for the most part. I don't claim to know a whole lot about typography either -- witness my faux pas with respect to Clearview Text, which Kent pointed out earlier. I don't see why Clearview Text (no less than 48 weights!) shouldn't be used for body copy. To quote some more from Terminal Design's website:

...every member of the family now contains small caps, oldstyle and lining figures in both proportional and tabular widths, arbitrary fractions, inferior and superior figures, and extended latin diacritical support.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Clearview apparently shouldn’t be considered for book work because it is a sans type face…

Anyway, Greta is a great (and very new!) typeface for book typography. I own three cuts of it and am pondering how to use these next week (next client gets hit with this, I am afraid ; ) )

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

rs_donsata's picture

Reduce your need for margins and blank space, use boxes: make a thin stroke frame outlining narrow margins and use all of the inner space dividing elements with rulers: leave a pica or so as white space margin. If you manage it well, it won't feel crowded and you get to use more space for contents.

Also use page elements in a scale that won't make your text feel small, use not very wide columns and hypentate.

An example:
http://www.venaqueretaro.com/asomarte/

Héctor

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