Monday, April 14, 2014

Souvenir/Soutane Fonts

Gotta question for you all.

I am reading over a new book right for a review and I noticed it uses the Souvenir font.
You all know this font. It was used in the Moldvay version of Basic, in Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy and both of my witch books.

Personally I like the font, but I have had some emails that it is hard to read when printed out.

I am always thinking about new books to work one and even free ones to send out I was curious about your thoughts.

The thing I have always been told is Serif fonts are easier to read, but no one has shown any real (measurable) difference.  Souvenir seems like a nice comprise of a lightly-serifed font.

Let me know what you all think.


Random Wizard said...

Soutane is possibly an illegal forgery. I went on a personal quest to find a clone of Souvenir without much luck. Even Souvenir was not an original design. In the early 1900s, Americans were copying German font designs and there was no recompense.
I wrote about the font here
Quest for Souvenir

Trey said...

I wonder if the "serif typefaces being easier to read" has changed with time. Certainly, the internet seems to have acclimated people to serif-less ones.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Soutane is a knockoff and has limitations. If people like the font it is worth it for the $195 for the Souvenir version with full character sets.

Nathan Irving said...

I don't think the font per se bothered me in The Witch so much as the spaces (between letters, words, and lines). Everything seemed to be floating around almost by itself. It was hard for me to track a sentence.

I've played around with a lot of fonts, but I keep coming back to Times New Roman. It's familiar, easy to read, and everyone is accustomed to it.

Anonymous said...

Stopping by on the 14th day of the #atozchallenge. As a printers daughter, I know how important typefaces are. I thought we are stuck with Times Romam. If you have time or interest, I'm writing about gardening and related topics this month. Stop by.

Paul said...

It depends on the font and size. Times is really readable at very small font sizes, for example. I've been using DejaVu Sans (a variation of Bitstream Vera) for all my projects.

New Big Dragon said...

Paul's generally right. It really depends on the overall shape/form of the font. E.g., one of the deciding factors in readability (regardless of serif or sans serif) is the font's x-height (the size of the lower case "x" in relation to the ascenders and descenders on the other lower case letters). Look at 9 pt. Garamond vs. 9 pt. Souvenir and you'll see that Souvenir has a much larger x-height (it actually appears "larger" than Garamond, even when set at the exact same point size--which measures the distance from the top of the top of the ascenders to the bottom of the descenders). It also has to do with shape (e.g., how tight the loops are on things like the lower case "a").

There's another non-font related readability issue that boils down to software one uses. By and large, the default computer settings for leading and tracking are awful. For example, in InDesign and Illustrator, the default letterspacing is "Metric/Auto" rather than "Optical". Optical spacing looks at the letters around each other and adjusts the space accordingly. Look at the space between the "F" and "o" in "Font" in either of the samples above and you'll see what I'm talking about. The first thing I do when I set type in either of those programs is change the setting to optical. Now consider that Microsoft Word doesn't give you that option at all, and you can see how any type can look crappy due to loss of control.

The whole "body copy" blog post is one I've been meaning to write as part of my type use/graphic design series, but just haven't had the time. Maybe I can start penning it now and get it up in a couple of weeks.

Dr. Obscure said...

Serifs 4 evah!!!

Seriously, though, I like Souvenir for readability and look, not just for nostalgia. Soutane does weird things to my eyes.