Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey
Charles Hedrick's Typography Pages

Typography Resources

This page has various random resources for typography. It includes

Introduction to Typography

NOTE: The documents here are supplied in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. By default, Acrobat will print them with larger margins and smaller type than the original. This will significantly alter the overall appearance of the document. To avoid this, please clear the "Fit to page" checkbox in the print dialog. (This is probably the right setting to use all the time, except when you are printing a document that was originally prepared for a different size of paper, or that goes too close to the edge of the paper to print normally.)

In the OS X version of Acrobat reader, this option is hidden fairly well: In the "print" dialog, select the menu that normally shows "copies and pages". Change it to "Acrobat Reader." Then clear the boxes "shink oversize pages" and "enlarge small pages".

This document was written as a tutorial about typography for staff within my area of Rutgers University Computing Services. It covers (very briefly) issues involving both print and web design.

The main document is Guidelines for Typography in NBCS. In addition, I have a short web page covering Fine Points of Usage, and a proposed "house style" for RUCS. The "fine points" document covers several odd details that come up in setting technical documents using the rules of classical typography. I haven't seen any published rules, and in fact I've been involved in debates in comp.fonts regarding these issues. Thus I'm recording my personal views. I don't claim any particular authority for them. (NBCS is New Brunswick Computing Services. It's the group I manage.)

If possible, I'd like to convince you to read something more complete than my document. The most-recommended book on typography is Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style, 1996. It is an excellent book. It was my starting point with typography. But it emphasizes one particular approach, which is better for books than for brochures and other items. Thus I would also read something with a more general design perspective, such as Carl Dair, Design with Type, 1967.

I've set the main document in 13 different fonts. I find that short samples aren't enough to judge a font. So I hope you will find it useful to see a whole document in several different ones. If you just want to read the document, rather than compare fonts, I suggest using the version set in Sabon Next or Zapf Renaissance. I believe these look the best, and are the most readable. The text of the 14 versions is close, but I've spent more time on these versions. There are probably cases in some versions where I have neglected to update the text to properly describe the font or format. These versions show slightly different document designs, particularly on the first page. (These two version must be viewed with Acrobat 5 or newer, because of licensing restrictions that require the document to be encrypted. Most of the others can use Acrobat 4.)

I've used 11 modern fonts based on classical models, and 3 recreations of historical fonts. This set of fonts would be sufficient for most straightforward University applications, though there are others that would be equally good. They are aimed specifically at documents intended for normal office laser printers. You would want to consider additional fonts for books, newspapers, PR brochures, and other applications.

I tend to prefer fonts based on Renaissance and Baroque models. Those who prefer modern face and related styles might include the historical fonts Bodoni (I recommend ITC Bodoni), New Century Schoolbook, and Century Expanded, as well as modern fonts based on these models, such as ITC Century and Miller Text. The only one of these I am showing is Miller Text, which is my favorite.

When comparing these documents, be aware that the overall appearance is affected as much by font size and spacing as by the font itself. I have done my best to choose size and spacing so that the appearances are matched as well as possible. But inevitably this isn't going to be perfect. If you find that one version looks better than another, make sure that the difference is actually the font, and not some other aspect of the typography.

Because the paper and printing can affect appearance, I note that testing was done on an HP Laserjet 5MP in Postscript mode, on Hammermill Laserprint paper.

Frank Blokland

Matthew Carter

George Jones and Matthew Carter

Robert Slimbach

Jan Tschichold

Hermann Zapf

[The Framemaker and Indesign source files have been named with .bin on the end, to make sure they are transferred in binary mode.]

Except for the DTL fonts, Miller Text, and Haarlemmer, and the Linotype fonts such as Linotype Syntax and Sabon Next, all fonts here are available from Adobe (, as well as a number of other web sites. (However for Galliard, you would want to use the CC version, which is available from Fonthaus.) DTL fonts are available from the Dutch Type Library ( Unfortunately DTL fonts are very expensive: $100 per weight for a single-user license. Miller Text and some of the sans fonts are available from Fonthaus. Haarlemmer is available in slightly different versions from DTL and Agfa/Monotype . The DTL version includes a medium weight and a sans companion font.

Haarlemmer is Frank Blokland's revival of a font designed by Jan van Krimpen. Van Krimpen was a Dutch type designer, who was one of the pioneers of the 20th Cent classical type revival. Van Krimpen was not happy with the design of Haarlemmer. However Blokland's digital version seems to be the best representative of van Krimpen's work in digital form. (Spectrum was more widely used in metal form, but its digital version is rather weak, in my opinion.) Haarlemmer shows some of the features of Renaissance designs, but in a sharper, more modern form.

DTL Documenta is closely related to Haarlemmer. It was designed by Frank Blokland, who is DTL's expert on van Krimpen. However Documenta is darker and more robust than Haarlemmer. It seems to have been designed to survive low resolution printing, FAX tranmission, etc.

Galliard is based on 16th Century fonts designed by Robert Granjon. I haven't counted this as an historical font, because it is to some extent a reinterpretation. But it's very close to the 16th Century originals. This is a beautiful font. But I find some of its features a bit exaggerated. I think Haarlemmer has many of its good qualities.

Miller Text is based on 19th Century fonts from England and Scotland. By this time, the "modern" style was in vogue. It tended to be harsh and unreadable. The fonts on which Miller is based were protests against this approach, combining some "modern" features with more classical designs. As such it is as readable as classical fonts, but is as "bright" as the better modern fonts. It's an excellent general-purpose text font, which is used in newspapers and magazines, and would be quite appropriate for books and other uses as well. I only recommend it if you are willing to use ligatures.

ITC New Baskerville is one of the historical fonts here. It is based on designs by John Baskerville, done in the 18th Century. This version has been modernized significantly, including increased x height. Other versions (e.g. Monotype Baskerville) are closer to the original. I use this one because I like its "sparkle" and delicacy. While I've seen Baskerville used for just about everything, from novels to technical material, it seems to be particularly common in science and theology.

Adobe Garamond is the second historical font shown here. It is based on romans designed by Claude Garamond in the 16th Century, and italics designed by Robert Granjon. There are many modern versions of Garamond. Adobe Garamond was done by Robert Slimbach. Because of differences in technology and the conventions of modern typography, there's a certain amount of interpretation involved in recreating a 16th Century font. However this is intended to be as close as one can reasonably come to Garamond's work, while producing a font that is widely usable. Note that in the 16th Century, roman and italic were not intermixed. Italics are normally adjusted somewhat to let them be intermixed with the roman, as commonly happens in modern typography.

Minion is a modern font based on Renaissance models. It can almost be regarded as a version of Garamond with greater x height and more vertical stress. It is well regarded by typographers as a "workhorse" font with classical roots. It's Adobe's corporate font. (Rutgers readers may be interested to know that Minion is used for many of the headlines in the Rutgers Targum.) Compare it with Sabon and Haarlemmer. I think it works better in print than with a laser printer, and that it is particularly appropriate for narrow columns.

Warnock is a new font. It combines features from several styles. It's intended to be a font that is visibly modern, but with a basis in Renaissance and Baroque designs. I haven't had enough experience with it yet to be really sure what I think. There are similarities to Zapf Renaissance. Zapf Renaissance is probably more elegant, but Warnock may be more practical.

Sabon is a 20th Century neohumanist font. It was based loosely on Garamond, but is somewhat more modernized than Adobe Garamond. This is an excellent general-purpose text font, with a very clean and dignified appearance. I have included two examples, one with the original digital version, and the other with Sabon Next. The older version was based on a Linotype metal font. This forced certain compromises on the design, particularly in the italic. Sabon Next is a new digital version done for Linotype by Jean Francois Porchez in 2002. It is based on a metal font designed for hand typesetting. Thus the italic is much better. I think the older version is a bit too light, and in some settings, too harsh. (Interestingly, the difference depends to some extent on paper. The original digital version looks a lot better on good-quality, off-white, cotton-content paper and in well-printed books. On that paper the text version of Sabon Next may almost be too dark.) However Sabon Next is an excellent general-purpose font for reports and general academic documents. Unfortunately Sabon Next is very expensive, but I think it's worth it.

Aldus, Palatino, and Zapf Renaissance are modern fonts based on Renaissance models. They are part of a larger family, which also includes titling fonts, as well as Greek, etc. Palatino was originally designed for headings and titles. Aldus was designed for text. Zapf Renaissance is a more recent version, designed specifically for cold typesetting (i.e. photographic or laser). It is "brighter" and more delicate than the other two. While these fonts have an obvious basis in Renaissance designs, they are fairly free, modern reinterpretations of the style. The Palatino sample uses the original Adobe/Linotype version of Palatino. Newer Microsoft software comes with Palatino Linotype, a newer digitization in the OpenType format. It's equally good, but its full power won't become available until word processors do a better job of supporting OpenType fonts.

Janson Text is a modern version of 17th Century designs by Miklos Kis. Thus it is the third of the three historical fonts included here. While Janson Text is intended to be a digital version of Kis' original fonts, it looks rather different in print. Some of that is because 17th Century printing didn't give as sharp an appearance. Also, the digital font is more regular. This is my "house font." It is a very readable font that tends to be a fairly neutral in appearance. This version of the document uses a slightly different format than the others. It is more appropriate to Janson.

I have paired these fonts with several high-quality sans serif fonts. Depending upon the document, this includes Myriad, Frutiger (and Linotype's new verson, Frutiger NEXT), Linotype Syntax, DTL Documenta Sans, DTL Caspari, and Today.

My primary humanist sans is currently Linotype Syntax. I'm not using the DTL fonts anymore because I've moved to the Mac, and DTL won't allow fonts to be converted from PC to Mac format. Even with a 50% discount, repurchasing them for the Mac is too expensive for me to justify.

Where a slightly more geometrical font is called for (e.g. slides and broadsheets), I have used Myriad. I am now evaluating Frutiger NEXT. (The original Frutiger isn't as good: its normal weight is too heavy, and it doesn't have a real italic. Frutiger NEXT has fixed these problems.)

Today is an innovative humanist design, which isn't as well known as it should be.


All of these are well-regarded fonts that are appropriate for a variety of documents. The choice is largely a matter of personal taste. However they produce somewhat different overall impressions. You need to fit the font to the subject matter, the impression you want to create, and the design of the document. My preferences have shifted over time. However my current candidates are Sabon Next and Zapf Renaissance or Palatino. I think Sabon is particularly good for reports and official correspondence, i.e. documents that should have a somewhat dignified tone. I like Zapf Renaissnace and Palatino for technical documents and personal correspondence.

Depending upon subject matter, I also like Adobe or Simoncini Garamond, ITC New Baskerville, and Miller Text. These are all classical fonts, which look good on a laser printer. (The latter is a key aspect of my recommendations. There are a number of fonts that look good in print, but not so good using office printers.)

Janson Text and the Garamonds have a bit more historical flavor than the others, although if used properly this isn't a problem. (ITC New Baskerville has been modernized enough that it doesn't have any real historical flavor.) Zapf Renaissance and Palatino are the most modern.

I tend to recommend Palatino for use within our computer center, because it and its clones are widely available, and I think it is quite appropriate for computer center documentation and reports.

For my own use, I like Sabon Next and Zapf Renaissance or Palatino, with Simoncini Garamond if I can get away with an historical font or Adobe Garamond or Aldus if I need something that is particularly dignified. Janson Text has been a long-time favorite, and it would still be my choice for many books. However for documents I do, it will probably be replace by Sabon Next.

These are all classical book fonts. For brochures and similar documents, particularly with narrow columns, I would consider Minion.

New Baskerville, Miller Text, and the Garamonds must be set with ligatures, and Janson really should be. They all look best with text figures and small caps, although Janson is often used without them, and ITC New Baskerville is sufficiently modernized that it's not critical. Sabon, Zapf Renaissance and Palatino were designed not to require ligatures, and their x height is enough that text figures and small caps aren't mandatory (though they look better, in my opinion).

Fonts that you probably already have

Of the fonts that are commonly present on people's systems, I suggest that you first look at Palatino. Palatino is the only one that is moderately acceptable without small caps, text figures, or ligatures, though it benefits from the use of small caps and text figures. An unauthorized copy of Palatino is included with older Microsoft software, called Book Antiqua. I think Palatino is probably the best standard font on stylistic grounds also, at least for computer center documents.

Times and Garamond should not be used without text figures and ligatures. Garamond also needs small caps. Century Schoolbook can survive without small caps and text figures, but it absolutely requires at least the "fi" ligature.

While Palatino can be used as is, if you want to do good typography I recommend getting the SC/OSF font that goes with it. You'll have to buy that (unless your word processor supports OpenType, in which case Palatino Linotype has everything you need). Be aware that Palatino is used so widely that some people think it's overused. However of the fonts that most people have already, I still think it's the best choice. (Times is of course even more overused.)

Many people also have a font called "Garamond." Most commonly it is a version of Monotype Garamond, which actually has nothing to do with Claude Garamond. (It was designed by Jean Jannon, in the 17th Century. In the early 20th Century it was misidentified as Garamond's work. Unfortunately the name stuck.) It's a beautiful although somewhat eccentric font, but it has somewhat different strengths and weaknesses than a true Garamond. If you wanted to use it seriously, you would want to buy a matching SC/OSF font. You can survive using Palatino without the SC/OSF. But in my opinion "Garamond" absolutely requires text figures and ligatures, and really should use small caps. "Garamond" bold should never be used, particularly bold italic. I think "Garamond" has a bit too much of an historical flavor for computer documentation, though it would be excellent for many other academic and University documents.

Comparison of Framemaker and InDesign versions

The documents listed above were mostly set with Framemaker 6.0. However I'm in the process of moving to InDesign, so an increasing number will be done that way. This section shows copies of the Documenta version set in both Framemaker (Framemaker source) and Indesign 1.5.2 (Indesign source). These will let you see the effects of InDesign's more sophisticated typographical features, such as its more sophisticated hyphenation and justification, and the hanging punctuation. However when word spacing is set to be somewhat tighter, Framemaker is configured to require 3 letters before a hyphen (the default in Indesign) and the plugin described here is used to produce hanging punctuation, we get the following in Framemaker (Framemaker source). This is nearly identical to the InDesign version.

The differences may be greater with shorter lines, but I tried tests with a one-inch line and still didn't see a major difference.

Most of the impact of the comparisons you'll see in InDesign publicity results from the fact that InDesign's algorithms produce somewhat tighter word spacing. To get the same effect from Framemaker, I set the word spacing (in the paragraph designer, "Advanced" tab) to 80% minimum, 100% maximum, 100% optimum, and disable "Allow Automatic Letter Spacing."

InDesign can output a PDF file directly. However the one here was made by printing to a Postscript file and then using the Acrobat distiller. InDesign's PDF is not compatible with older versions of the Acrobat reader, while Distiller's is. The Distiller output is also a much smaller file. (However as I do new versions, I'm generating PDF directly from InDesign. Thus to view the newer documents you'll need to use Acrobat 5 or later.)

Applescripts for Indesign 2.0/CS

As mentioned above, I'm in the process of moving editing of these documents from Framemaker on Windows to InDesign 2 on Mac OS X. I needed a couple of features not present in InDesign. It turned out to be easier to add them than to port my OpenType utility to the Mac and rebuild my FM enviornment there. Not to mention the fact that FM isn't OS X native. I've used them with InDesign 2.0 and InDesign CS on OS X. I don't know whether they would work with older versions, nor do I have an equivalent for Windows.

Anyway, I have Applescripts to do the following things:

I install these things in /Library/Scripts, and enable the script menu. Thus it's easy to get to them from the bar.

See scripts.tar . This has a README that gives some more information, and the scripts as text. You'll presumably want to run Script Editor, load them and save them as compiled scripts in /Library/Scripts. They're well commented. (These are my first venture into Applescript, so there are surely better ways to do some of this.)

Incidentally, these scripts are good starting points, but they certainly don't solve problems in the most general way. E.g. the anchored frame should work for any frame type, not just text frames, and it should have the ability to move items between the left and right margins, for documents where odd and even pages are different. Extensions like this would be easy to do, but I've only done the specific things I needed.

Utility for producing SC and expert OpenType fonts

OpenType is a new font format that bundles up lots of things into a single font file. One example is Palatino Linotype, distributed with Windows 2000. A typical OpenType font will include normal, small caps, Greek, Cyrillic, etc. There are special features to support ligatures.

Unfortunately not all programs currently support OpenType. In particular, Framemaker (even the new version 6 -- grrrrr) doesn't support OpenType. If a program doesn't support it, then an OpenType font looks like a normal font. There is then no way to access small caps, ligatures, etc. With a conventional font, you'd just buy a separate expert font. But with OpenType, separate expert and SC/OSF fonts aren't going to be available, since the information is all available in the main font. So people with old programs (and new programs that don't support OpenType, such as FM 6 -- grrrr) are stuck.

This utility lets you produce separate fonts containing small caps, old-style figures, and special characters, from an OpenType font that follow Adobe's conventions. (It will not work with the Microsoft OpenType fonts, because they are missing some information I relied on.) The resulting fonts can be used like conventional SC/OSF, OSF, and expert fonts.

This will work only on Windows, and only with programs that are stupid about fonts. The newest programs should understand OpenType fully. But there's an intermediate set of programs that understand enough about fonts to bypass the standard Windows API, but not enough to support OpenType. I can't help you with those. This program will help you with programs that access fonts "normally." The fonts it produces work with Framemaker 5.5.6 and 6.0 on Windows 2000 (and presumably older Windows versions with ATM 4.1 or later). I assume it would work with Word as well.

As far as I know, Unix can't read OpenType fonts, so this program wouldn't help. It should be possible to make it work for a Mac, given the newest version of ATM, but it would require some work by a competent Mac hacker. While the same OpenType font file is used for the PC and Mac, there are PC-specific and Mac-specific tables inside the file. I haven't written the code to set up the Mac tables.

This code was written from scratch using the web documentation on the OpenType format. Thus it should be free of any intellectual property issues.

Framemaker 6/7 plugin to insert ligatures, etc.

[This plugin was developed under FM 6. I have tested it only briefly under FM 7. So far the same binary appears to work. However the line in maker.ini needs an extra parameter, probably "maker" or "all". See the comments in the file. Note that I have not tried it with a "structured" document. Unless the FM 7 SDK has significant new features relevant to this code, I'll continue building it with the FM 6 SDK.]

On Unix and the Mac, Framemaker will automatically insert the fi and fl ligatures. It doesn't do this on Windows, because the Windows character set doesn't include ligatures.

This plugin is designed to solve that problem, sort of. It can also do other typographical functions, such as replacing figures with text figures from a separate expert font, and adjusting the height of characters.

The other major feature is hanging punctuation in the right margin, giving a more even appearance.

Some manual cleanup may be needed after both ligature replacement and insertion of hanging punctuation, but it should just take a few minutes even for a fairly long document.

In order to use ligatures, it requires a separate "expert" font that has the ligatures in locations that are available under Windows. There's a sort of convention that the ligatures are available in the expert set as V, W, X, Y, and Z. However the program can be configured for any location (except space, which is used as a delimiter).

It also allows you to convert all digits from your main font into an "expert" or SC/OSF font. This simplifies things for people who like to use text figures, as they are normally located in separate fonts.

There are a couple of features to help you adjust the height of characters. For example, the / often needs to be lowered when used with text figures, and the - often needs to be raised in all-caps titles.

It should be possible to build this plugin for Unix and the Mac, but I have currently only built it under Windows. I'm a Unix programmer, so it's unlikely that I did anything that won't compile under Unix.

This program is based on the structure of the "wordcnt" sample plugin, from the Framemaker 6.0 FDK. However Adobe allows redistribution of modified versions of their samples, when they have become part of an application. Thus I'm including source.


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Last updated: Sunday, 23-Jan-2005 15:00:12 EST
© 2005 Charles Hedrick. All rights reserved.


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