Typeface recommendations for legal use

jacobh's picture

I was wondering if anyone might be able to suggest some typefaces which might be suitable for use in legal work? I should start of by saying that I am based in the UK so, thankfully, I don’t suffer from the “you must use Courier” rules that seem to plague the American system. However, there are some fairly horrific formatting conventions which can make producing attractive documents difficult. For an example, have a look at this.

The main challenge is finding a typeface that has enough presence to look good: i) at reasonably large sizes; ii) where there is quite a lot of whitespace in inappropriate places; and iii) when there is quite large amounts of leading.

I’ve been wondering about one of the modern old-style faces (if that’s the right description) that have appeared in the last few years. Something like Skolar or Leksa. I also quite like Calluna, and its price makes is particularly appealing.

Does anyone have any thoughts on these options, or any other suggestions?

Many thanks!

Reed Reibstein's picture

Matthew Butterick's type recommendations at Typography for Lawyers might be of interest.

jacobh's picture

Yes, they are, and it is a very interesting site in general. I had discounted most of his suggestions either because I thought that they tend not to have enough weight to deal with all the whitespace that is encountered in this sort of work (e.g. Bembo) or because I think they work better in book sizes (e.g. Adobe Caslon). I was therefore thinking about some which had a bit more presence on the page might be better. However, I might be overestimating the problem.

nina's picture

FWIW, there are some recommendations in this older thread:
http://typophile.com/node/40792
It appears that you shouldn't forget to check out the pilcrow and section mark in whatever font you're considering (as well as whatever other semi-obscure characters/features matter in your work).

sim's picture

What do you think about to use some sans serif one?

jacobh's picture

Nina, many thanks. Dolly might be another possibility, especially as it seems to look better in slightly larger sizes, but I think Fedra is probably a bit too funky (particularly the disconnected b).

Incidentally, the main reason I was re-asking a similar question is that it seems that English rules and conventions are much less prescriptive than the the posters in that thread said that the American ones are. For instance, paragraphs are usually represented by p rather than ¶ and sections by s rather than §. There also isn't a particular issue with using old-style figures. English legal submissions also seem to be a bit less like the blocks of text you get in America which is why I thought a different typeface might be in order.

sim, yes, I did think about that. Gill Sans is becoming quite popular and, to my eyes, works quite well in these situations. However, I think to use both a non-traditional typeface and a sans serif would be just a bit too unconventional which is why I'd prefer a serif.

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