Mrs. Eaves - for a non-fiction book?

sonakhosla's picture


I'm working on a book design and layout and am using --surprise, surprise-- Mrs. Eaves. But I am finding it really loosely set. I'm second-guessing my choice of type, but I've already started setting it. Is it totally wrong to track the entire text to make it a bit tighter. Or am I just used to tight type? I would appreciate any help!


hrant's picture

You've run into Mrs Eaves's achilles heel: the spacing is de la merde.
If you must use Mrs Eaves, your choices are to either respace by hand yourself (not easy) or use InDesign, which has an "optical spacing" feature that helps badly-spaced fonts tremendously.

Or you could use another font, like The Foundry's Wilson.


sonakhosla's picture

Thanks for the validation! I am using InDesign and had it set on Optical, but noticed that Metrics sets it quite a bit tighter. I've usually stood by the optical feature, but do you think it could be better to go metrics on this one.

Thanks again!

hrant's picture

> Metrics sets it quite a bit tighter.

Strange - unless you're using a pretty small point size.
This, because optical spacing depends on point size (the smaller the looser).

The problem with Mrs Eaves isn't that it's too loose or tight (although it is a bit the former to my eyes), it's that the spacing is sloppy. This is what InDesign is supposed to fix, and usually -but not always- does.


dan_reynolds's picture

Why is the spacing sloppy? I've never noticed anything particularly aggregious

dan's picture

Sona, are you using story pallet? That can make the spacing more acceptable.

pablohoney77's picture

/i{Why is the spacing sloppy?}

yeah? why is it sloppy? is it something that could be fixed with some good spacing and some kerning or is it something inherent in the design? (i've been wondering on this for a while)

hrant's picture

> Why is the spacing sloppy?

You mean why do I say it's sloppy?
For one thing take a look at the "the"...
Robin Kinross has described Mrs Eaves as a "loose bicycle". :-/

Paul: There's nothing in the design that makes it particularly hard to space well.

So I guess the answer to the question "why" is simply bad craft. Fortunately it's a charming lady of a font otherwise, and luckily we have InDesign to get rid of its speech impediment. But it still does have to be set on the large side, because of its vertical proportions.


pablohoney77's picture

so my next question is:
why doesn't Emigre do anything about the sloppy spacing? they've got to be aware of it, it comes up every time someone mentions using this face. why wouldn't they go back and correct a problem such as this?

kakaze's picture

Emigre released an OpenType version with a bunch of improvements. I wonder if they fixed the spacing in it.

Bald Condensed's picture

Sona, forget about the Metrics spacing: go for Optical and
track until you approximate the general spacing of Metrics
if you think Optical is too wide. Metrics will get you nowhere
as the built-in spacing generally sucks big time.

Mrs. Eaves is typically hard to set right, but when you succeed
it is very rewarding. It's just a shame it is so overused.

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