I'm working on some literary translations. I want to use a proper font for my work, but it is a little out of my area of expertise. In the past I've always just kept the default Calibri font and never thought anything of it. I'm increasingly hearing graphic artists moan about how people didn't even bother changing the default font from Calibri when looking over others work.

I've temporarily changed to Palatino, as I saw suggested in another Writing @ SE post. But, again, I'm not really sure if this is suitable for a literary magazine.


2 Answers 2


This isn't something a writer needs to worry about. There are actual designers that you need to hire that will pick the best font for you. Calibri is not only old and jaded, but also it actually looks bad. Arial is old and jaded but it still looks okay. Palatino is old and jaded too.

I'm not a designer so discount the font suggestions below. I'm just a font junkie. There is no such thing as a perfect font for a magazine. It depends upon the the style that you want to go for. This means you need to do some work first. Tell us what type of style you are going for. Present samples and ask us if the samples actually look good because your tastes may be awful. Personally, I still love sans serif Helvetica Neue for a clean and modern look. I love serif Freight Text Pro Light for readability but less sophistication and a less modern look. But, those are for monitors.

Generally, experts say that sans serif is harder to read but a recent research paper has started to derail that notion.

There are a ton of fonts that are beautiful if you just put them together correctly. It takes a lot of experience though. Also, it's the same thing with all contractors, 90% of them stink so find a top 10% creative designer that readers will love (your tastes are irrelevant). It won't cost a lot, I believe, although the cost to use the font might.

Or, you could go to Google Fonts for examples of body text for publication. Then go to Wolf's site which will give you alternatives. Remember that text on monitors look totally different in print.

Finally, these are 2 people who provide good advice on fonts. Some think their sites are the gospel on fonts. I don't think so.

  • Butterick
  • Danny Truong
  • I think this could do with some links to back up your points. Firstly, a link to the research paper about sans serif fonts being easier to read; secondly, a link to whatever "Wolf's site" is (I'm sure a search for "Wolf's site" will return thousands of results). I'm also not sure about your recommendation of providing font samples to us, especially given that you state repeatedly that a writer's taste in fonts is irrelevant.
    – F1Krazy
    Oct 18, 2020 at 16:28
  • Mr. Krazy, it takes a long time to write what I wrote. To ask someone to look for the research paper would take a lot of extra time, no? Isn't that a lot to ask when someone just volunteered their time to write the answer in the first place? (I disagree with A LOT of your edits but I know that it also takes a lot of time to edit so thank you. Can you go look up link for that research paper for me? I don't know when it was published but I read it this year.) Oct 19, 2020 at 17:50
  • With respect to your edits, you stated that my tone was too confrontational. Well, I guess when I see something I go right after it. Oct 19, 2020 at 17:50
  • By the way, now that I think of it, people can be jaded but I don't think that a font can be jaded. Oct 19, 2020 at 18:00
  • @F1Krazy The comment that I go after it is a quote from Top Gun if you and others didn't notice. Just trying to be witty. Oct 21, 2020 at 2:05

Depends on how it is published.
Online fonts that are good are not the same as print fonts that are good.
And audio versions are something else.

I have some 15000 fonts in my collection and have read many books on fonts. One thing that is clear is that there is no consensus.

In terms of bad fonts to use, I find Times Roman to be hideous. It was designed to pack the most letters on a page for the Times of London paper a couple hundred years ago. It is not a good choice for reading or anything else. So if minimum use of paper is your goal then go for Times Roman. Otherwise, try something nice like Arial Narrow, which is sans serif and much easier on the eyes for reading.

  • You have 15k different fonts? I don't mean like Adobe Garamond and Adobe Garamond Pro because they are the same in my book. And, those fonts are all legitimately good? How did you find and pay for that many great fonts? Oct 19, 2020 at 17:53
  • Can I ask how you do you categorize it? I've been trying to figure out a way but fonts aren't given the respect they deserve. Like how do you deal with the fact in Microsoft Word, you can't categorize fonts into ones for titles, headers, body, etc.? And, then within you font folder itself, do you categorize it somehow? I've tried all the font manager programs and FontExplorerX seemed the best but that still stinks so I got rid of it and still just keep everything in a Windows folder. What do you do? Oct 19, 2020 at 17:57
  • @QuietInMontana Bought CDs with x 1000 fonts on them. I am sure there are duplicates and minor variations. But the books I had did list a low thousand different fonts used in actual print not just online. There are font managers out there that should let you do what you want to do. For me, I have selected a short list of fonts by type of use and ignore the rest.
    – user47277
    Oct 19, 2020 at 18:13
  • Are the fonts any good? If they are, please let me know where to get it. What are your favorite fonts. For monitor, I love Freight Text Pro Light as body. I sometimes use Helvetica Neue or Avenir Next Pro. Proxima Nova doesn't look bad. For titles, I like Old Standard TT, Didot, Adobe Garamond Titling Capital. Museo Sans look good in certain programs as a stretch of text like search results. I'm fairly a font newb though. Do you have any font suggestions? Oct 19, 2020 at 19:18
  • I usually keep a copy of the fonts that I like in a separate folder. When I say reinstsall my windows 10, I can just install them immediately. Oct 19, 2020 at 19:20

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