Font Choice

3sidedsquare's picture

Any suggestions on a serif font for poetry? At the moment Bembo or Sabon are my top 2, but would love to hear some suggestions.

Joshua Langman's picture

What's the poetry about? What style? Metered? Free verse? How long are the lines?

I've pasted below my comment on a recent thread asking for fonts for resumes. I think the idea is applicable here, too.


Choose a legible serif face with a hint of character that subtly conveys something about your personality. I don't really understand questions of this kind, because the question shouldn't be "what's a good font for a resume?" Any (readable, probably serif) font is good for a resume. The question is "what font fits my personality and image?" A resume is about subtly branding yourself, so choose something with a hint of you in it. I've recently designed some resumes for friends. I've used different typefaces for all of them. This reminds me a bit of the recent post on "what's a good font for a novel?" The only real answer to that is "what's the novel about?" So —

1. Of course the medium (resume, novel, etc.) determines to some extend what sorts of faces will work. You wouldn't set a novel entirely in Zapfino (usually), because the properties of a novel, such as type size and length of text, don't lend themselves to that font, and vice versa. In the case of resumes, the practical limitations are that it should be easily readable; have a professional, calm appearance, and have enough variants (or other faces) to serve the hierarchy. BUT —

2. The point of your design isn't to allude to the idea of a resume, and all the associations that entails, but to allude to yourself. You're not designing the medium, you're designing the message. So your question is really, What do I want my resume to say about me?


So, in this case, yes, Dolly is a wonderful font, but it may or may not fit the tone of the poetry you're designing. Any font can work for poetry, provided it fits the theme of the text. If you'd like to give us some details on the feel you're going for, I would be happy to come up with some font suggestions.


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