Appropriate dissertation font

Vicke's picture

Here comes the time for an important design decision – choosing the right font for the main body of my ~6000 word piece of writing – and I'm not really sure where to start.

The working title is "The Many Faces of a City", which is unlikely to change; and it basically looks at the relationship between type and city culture. Obviously the dilemma is I can't hand in a piece of about typography set in bad type. Even though the main points of it cover contemporary issues, I'm thinking that I should still stick to the traditions of using a serif for ease of reading, unless anyone can reason otherwise?

One that I am thinking of is Utopia, since it just has a good rhythm and of course the content should do the talking rather than anything too extravagant. I'm definitely open for suggestions though, hence my being here, so please share your thoughts. Thanks.

Celeste's picture

Hello Vicke
In choosing a typeface for your dissertation, think first of functional criteria : do you need old-style figures ? small caps ? uncommon diacritics for foreign names ?

The distinction between serif and sans-serif is not that important in terms of readability, in my opinion : you can easily compensate for the lack of serifs by setting a sans-serif with a little extra leading.

Vicke's picture

Thanks for the reply, Celeste. In terms of the functional criteria, non-lining figures are quite crucial for my content. Small caps and uncommon diacritics are not so important. I'd just a character set covering basic latin glyphs.

That's a good point about the sans serif, in which case do you have any suggestions on ones which work well in long text? I forgot to mention earlier but I am willing to pay for a good font, just so long as it doesn't completely break the bank.

William Berkson's picture

I agree with you about using a serif for body text, for reasons of ease of reading. This is a topic of recurring debate on Typophile, the most recent thread being here.

In my biased opinion, an old style serif gives the most comfortable read.

But you may feel that a more contemporary mood goes with your topic, in which case you might consider Fedra Serif and Sans. The sans in lighter weights to me has a stylish architectural feel, which could work nicely for headings.

Celeste's picture

Whitney has a nice architectural feel and is eminently readable (or can be easily made so).

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