Monday, September 26, 2016

Opinion time - The Question About Which Font To Use?

I just finished reading Kate Atherley's The Beginner's Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns. In one of the Advice from an Expert boxes this information appeared:

Knitter and Graphic Designer Zabet Groznaya says:
When in doubt about fonts, go conservative. Times New Roman, Arial, and Helvetica maybe boring, but they are clean and easy to read.

This was the advice I used when I first started publishing, partially because it was the most common and made the most sense to me.

A few pages later in the book there's a reference to this source:
which says:

"And fi­nally, font choice. The fastest, eas­i­est, and most vis­i­ble im­prove­ment you can make to your ty­pog­ra­phy is to ig­nore the fonts that came free with your com­puter (known as sys­tem fonts) and buy a pro­fes­sional font (like my fonts Eq­uity and Con­course, or oth­ers found in font rec­om­men­da­tions). A pro­fes­sional font gives you the ben­e­fit of a pro­fes­sional de­signer’s skills with­out hav­ing to hire one.
If that’s im­pos­si­ble, you can still make good ty­pog­ra­phy with sys­tem fonts. But choose wisely. And never choose Times New Ro­man or Ar­ial, as those fonts are fa­vored only by the ap­a­thetic and sloppy. Not by ty­pog­ra­phers. Not by you". 

And yes, I've heard this advice many times after I chose the conservative fonts. 

I'm asking because I may update my basic pattern format in the future. Which expert do you agree with? Is the font something most knitters even notice? I consider simple and readable to be the most important factor, but do you?


  1. I find I only care when I can't read a pattern or the font is one that doesn't print on older printers - basically if it makes it harder for me to make or understand a pattern. My biggest thing with font is to be consistent throughout the pattern. It does start to bother my eye when different sections are in different fonts. Makes me think there was some cutting and pasting going on.

  2. I like when a font is readable on all my devices, and I don't have missing letters or extraneous marks. Clever fonts are for titles. Everything else should be readable. Serif fonts are more recognizable, but decent sans serif fonts exist.

  3. Simple, readable, and consistent true type font so that it doesn't leave strange or missing letters. Nothing wrong with Times New Roman or Arial. The old sayings "KISS" and "if it ain't broke...." apply.

  4. What bothers me more is when the color of the type is fainter. I can't think of a specific example, but there are some san serif types in a light color that make it very hard to read and even harder is you copy them from a book. I always mark up photocopies of book I've bought rather than lugging the book. THe Quince patterns come to mind.