SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: During my last week on Jungle Reds, we talked about typewriters — now let's chat about fonts.
The font at the heading of my blog and website is from a Remington Noiseless Portable typewriter, probably similar to those Winston Churchill's typists, such as Elizabeth Layton Nel, used. The font was recreated for the computer by antique typewriter aficionado and expert Richard Polt.
According to Richard, the font was created from his own "beloved Remington Noiseless Portable Model Seven.... Using fontifier.com and a scanner [to create a] Remington Noiseless Truetype font that you are welcome to download."
For all of us who love fonts, particularly old typewriter fonts, thank you, Richard!
But for emails, general writing and fiction, I'm loyal and true to Times New Roman. It's easy to read, elegant, and looks good on-screen as well as printed out. It's one of the few fonts publishers and editors like (the other is Courier, which was developed when I worked in publishing in the 90s—probably because it mimics an electric typewriter—but do people still use it?)
And so lovely Reds, I ask you — what font(s) do you work in? Do you ever switch them up? Does your agent/editor have a preference? And if you could use only one for the rest of your life, what would it be?
HALLIE EPHRON: My favorite font is old fashioned typewriter like Courier or Courier New. I think because it feels like someone actually had to hit a key to make each letter appear. But I don't use it for manuscripts - for that I I'm with you on Times New Roman. Big enough to read, please, which means 12 point. But on the Web I'm perfectly happy with Helvetica or Arial. sans serif fonts. Fancy fonts quickly become unreadable.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, gosh, at work our Outlook is set (for everyone) to Calibri, which I am not fond of, and as a result I spend half my time changing each email so it's back in Times New Roman. And I've always wanted to do a story where the character writes in WingDings, and then the recipient has to "translate" by changing it back. I'm fascinated with WingDings.
The first edition of my first book had the titlepage in --oh, rats, what was it called? Zapfino? I've blocked it. I thought it was AWFUL. But now I see it everywhere.
And calligraphy/script, sorry to say, never is very successful. NOT to mention impossible to read.
RHYS BOWEN: Very boring Times New Roman, please. As long as it's big enough and easy to read I confess I don't notice. I have used Parisian in some flyers and postcards as it is deliciously art deco.
LUCY BURDETTE: Me too, Rhys. Boring Times New Roman. However, the 12 font is getting a little small, Hallie...
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I was taught that manuscripts should be formatted in Courier New, and that's how I still do them---12 point, which is easier to read than Times New Roman 12 point. I love the typewriter font, and for me, the space between the letters makes it very easy to read when editing or proofing. For everything else I use Times New Roman, or sometimes Arial, except for our personal Christmas cards which we now send as e-cards. We use a fun serif font--I can't remember what it's called. But it's legible.
Do you suppose people still submit manuscripts to agents in weird fonts and on weird colored paper? Horrors!!!
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Debs, I haven't worked with "over the transom" manuscripts in a while, but I can attest that unsolicited manuscripts would come in with all kinds of crazy fonts, including multiple fonts in the same manuscript. One manuscript I read was printed out on strawberry-scented pink paper, but that's a whole other post....
Nowadays, manuscripts must be submitted by agents and I'm guessing they reformat anything that's too outrageous....
Lovely readers, do you have a font preference when you write? When you read? Are there any fonts that drive you batty? (For me it's Comic Sans — shudder....) Please tell us in the comments!