Many factors influence the selection of a typeface. In the case of an artbook, a face may be chosen because it was designed during the period in which the art was created, or because it was in common use during that period. Or it may be a face from the same country as the artist.
Or, after book length, page size, optimum, minimum and maximum type size, leading, measure and column depth are determined, a face may be chosen which works well within these parameters regardless of the faces history. The only point here is that purely arbitrary decisions are generally less successful than those made within the context of the specific project.
A client was looking for a font for display use which would complement the windswept look of Winslow Homers seascapes. We suggested Perpetua italic, shown below.
Make sure that you, or your designer, and your printer have legal, licensed copies of all typefaces used. (The language in your font license states that you may only send the printer the font if the printer already owns the font.) Typeface suppliers estimate that only one in eight to one in 30 typefaces are legally licensed. All others are pirated. Type foundries and type designers must be supported if we wish to see new designs and continued resurrections of older designs. Unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise the original design of the typeface should be used, not an inexpensive knock-off. Apart from the issue of financially supporting the original designs, knock-offs are often poor copies of the originals.
Type in most books should be readable. Especially if the copy is difficult adding a layer of visual complexity may completely discourage the reader. There is currently a tendency to use many fonts, sizes, leadings and letter and word space treatments all on the same page. These techniques may result in configurations that represent effective page decoration but not the successful communication of ideas.
A typeface which is designed as an expanded or condensed face is considerably more attractive than a regular face that has been electronically condensed. Although commercial typesetting software has had the ability to expand and condense type for more than 10 years, we have always discouraged customers from doing so. Electronically altered type is distorted in one dimension only; the vertical strokes become thinner or thicker, but the horizontal strokes do not change. A type designer, when creating an expanded or condensed face, adjusts both the horizontal and vertical strokes.
Below, the first line is Helvetica Bold, normal. The second is the same font, electronically condensed. Third is the drawn condensed face, Helvetica Bold Condensed.
The next section discusses the importance of consistent text formatting.