Palatino Linotype is not Palatino…

… as I discovered yesterday when trying to upload a document in a font I thought Lulu recognised. My fault for not reading the font guidelines closely enough. So, I’ve been mourning Palatino Linotype and seeing how the book looks in various other font types. And yes, I realise that this is a first-world problem. I don’t think I’ve been this hung up over a minor detail since I got married – I suppose at least when you’re publishing a book you don’t have to put up with busybodies telling you that everyone will slate your wedding unless your napkins are the exact same shade as your mashed potato. [1]

So far I have discovered that pretty as Century is, it leans weirdly far over in the italics and makes it look like there isn’t a space between the word in italics and the next one; and that Garamond in any given font size will be smaller than almost anything else and Verdana will be bigger. I’m now wondering whether Garamond comes from the font equivalent of one of those shops who cut skimpy because most of their customers are teenagers, and Verdana comes from the font equivalent of Marks and Spencer.

Do you have a font preference? Serif or sans-serif? What did you choose for your own book, if you’ve been through this process and had any say in the matter?

[1] Like the cast of your fantasy novel, it doesn’t have to be white.

8 thoughts on “Palatino Linotype is not Palatino…

  1. I think I did the thing of picking my font and then embedding it in the pdf. But it was not straightforward and there was much shouting at the computer involved in the process.

    1. I’d thought that using Lulu’s PDF converter would be easier than sorting out my own PDF conversion, but embedded fonts would be a definite plus. (I think I was put off doing my own conversion partly by Peter coming up with an enthusiastic list of ‘and you can use this shareware program that I’ve never used myself for this stage, and then for the next stage you use *this* program that converts it to PostScript…’ which I didn’t think I could face, and partly by having tangled with Adobe Acrobat a few years ago and not wanting to deal with that either)

      Do you remember off-hand which font you used in the end?

  2. Oh, that’s very annoying. I’m extremely fond of Palatino, and mourned it a few years ago when a computer upgrade at work meant I could no longer use it as my default font. I was happy when I got Palatino Linotype – hadn’t realised they are slightly different. I like Garamond, but take your point about the size. Perpetua is another I like, and Century – though that has a slightly old-fashioned feel, maybe.

    Do you remember that Puffin books used to say what font they’d used, on the page where all the copyright information was? Monotype Baskerville sounds familiar but in any case if I come across them they immediately recall Swallows and Amazons or Charmed Life or Little House on the Prairie.

    Oh, and serif, proportional fonts for reading any length of text. There was a terrible but luckily brief period when some academic books got published in Courier (or near equivalent). I couldn’t read them.

    1. I remember those Puffin books! I still always look at the front of books to see whether they say what font they’re set in.

      It’s looking like Bookman Old Style at present – I’m not wholly sure how many people are planning on buying a print book and how many an ebook, but I think it’s easier to read serif on screen than sans-serif on a page, if that makes any sense.

      Courier is eyestrain incarnate, and you have all my sympathy. I only ever use it for very short roleplaying handouts.

      1. Font listing should be much commoner than it is. Also it might persuade people to be a tiny bit more adventurous.

        And agree on the serif/non-serif thing. Just looked at Bookman and it is rather nice, and pretty readable on screen, I think.

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