Minion Pro & Screen readability

Cooper42's picture

I've decided upon the classic Minion Pro for my PhD thesis (human geography / cultural studies).

However, it seems that Minion Pro is a pain to read on screen at 11pt
(I'm writing the thesis using OpenOffice, but it's the same in MS Word or Acrobat Professional and even the windows font preview)
Alignments and spacings are really off (the dots on the i appear between the letters, the first arc of the m is half the width of the second and the r huddles up against the next character, and so on...)

I can, of course, use a different font for writing (I'm currently using DejaVu for screen readability) but I'm required to submit both a paper and electronic copy of the thesis. (And I imagine my examiners may be reading the electronic version)

Is my experience of Minion Pro & screen reading a common problem, or is something wrong with my screen / font setup?

If it is a common problem, is there a decent screen-readable Minion version available? Or any suggestions for a similar font which is readable on-screen?

(I'm loathe to use completely different typefaces for both versions of the thesis, because of the extra editing that will inevitably entail...)

blank's picture

Write the paper first, using Verdana or some other easy-to-read font. Worry about making it look nice after the writing is done.

Cooper42's picture

I'm not sure a PhD thesis is ever 'done'. If I wait until i'm finished writing, I'll be handing it in in Arial...

William Berkson's picture

>I'm not sure a PhD thesis is ever 'done'.

You seem alarmingly unclear on the PhD concept. You need, in collaboration with your supervisors, to get a clear idea of "done." The font is the least of your worries. Finish the thesis, then worry about the font.

On screen, say with a PDF, people can always zoom in on the text.

J Weltin's picture

I do see a point however in writing one’s thesis in a typeface one likes. This can be stimulating or motivating.

But that Minion Pro is looking as you describe seems odd.

Cooper42's picture

Wow. I was just being glib. I hardly expected commentaries on PhD strategies. Thanks for the concern, but it is all in hand and at a fairly advanced stage.

William Berkson's picture

Ok, some of us need a smiley to get the joke. Good luck finishing and defending. As I say, if this is in a PDF zoom will probably solve the problem. Personally I write everything in Williams Caslon Text, as you might suspect :)

Cooper42's picture

Primarily, I'd just like to know if this kind of problem with mthe display of Minion Pro is normal:
(Compare the i, the j, the m and the x on 12pt to pretty much any other size...)

jacobsievers's picture

When in doubt, as they say... ;)

Maybe send your chapters to a typesetter (read design student) as you complete them?

And yes, I have noticed that Minion does that in Word. Don't know about other software.

William Berkson's picture

The dots of the i and j shifting to the left and the squashed first arch of the m I think would be hinting problems, which surprises me on an Abobe font. You need one of the screen rendering mavens here to tell you more.

Is this from Windows? If you and those who evaluate you are working on Windows, you might try John Hudson's Constantia, as this is more literary in look and should render well on screen. It is one of the relatively new "C" fonts that comes with Word.

ahyangyi's picture

Does your Minion Pro also look so terrible in Adobe Reader? I think they have a different render. And I don't believe they have a reason to render their own fonts in a bad way.....

hrant's picture

> zoom will probably solve the problem.

No, that's a bigger problem! :-/
The font has to work onscreen at full page width.


Andrew Dunning's picture

My thesis will also turn up in Minion, eventually. The rendering of Adobe fonts in Windows is generally terrible; it's not just you. It seems more unusual, though, that it's also happening in Adobe Reader. You're not, perhaps, using Microsoft's PDF exporter for Word, are you? It will export the page as an image rather than type, with generally disastrous results.

LaTeX still seems to be the cool software for writing a thesis, but I really think that it's simply too complicated for most people. For better typography, then, my plan is to write the thing in Word and import the files into InDesign for final submission. Perhaps this is overkill, but I'm somewhat addicted to real small caps.

paul d hunt's picture

CFF rendering on Windows is generally pathetic if applications are relying on the system for rendering. If you were to use Adobe's Creative Suite applications, I'm sure you would not be seeing the same issues. Also, if the final electronic copy will be in PDF format, it is doubtful that you will face the rendering problems you are seeing in OpenOffice (depending on what reader application you are using and how it handles CFF rendering).

For full disclosure I am an Adobe employee. However, I have tried to objectively characterize the problem as I see it (even if 'pathetic' might seem too emotive).

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