Joachim Breitner

Good LaTeX Font Overview

Published 2008-12-05 in sections English, Digital World.

I just discovered the nice Survey of Free Math Fonts for TeX and LaTeX (PDF-Version) by Stephen G. Hartke – a good overview of the common font packages, with examples, useful for those who have seen enough Computer Modern by now.

What I’m still missing is a good style guide: When should I use Palatino, when is Utopia a good choice? What are good reasons to use a sans-serif font for the text, and when is that not a good idea? They all look nice to me, but I doubt that the professional typographist leave it all to personal preference.


Nice link. I get sick of Computer Modern! Been using Linux Libertine recently but a change is always nice.

By the way, Firefox gives me a " uses an invalid security certificate." error, and I have to go through two "are you sure" screens to add a special exception to access the site.
#1 Kurt Häusler (Homepage) am 2008-12-05
I have a valid certificate from CAcert – if you want to get rid of the warning properly, see
#2 Joachim Breitner (Homepage) am 2008-12-05
As said in the article, Sans-Serif fonts (cmbright for instance) are good for presentations.

It is often thought that Serif fonts are better for reading on paper (hence its predominance in newspapers), and sans-serif may be better on screen.
#3 milosh am 2008-12-05
My rule of thumb is to use sans for one sheet of paper and serif for everything covering two pages or more.

But I'm also eagerly waiting for the opinion of people who kno what they're talking about. :-)
#4 Susan Calvin am 2008-12-05
I can recommend Robert Bringhurst's "The elements of Typographic Style". It is considered the typographer's bible, and contains many good advices.
#5 Emil Hedevang am 2008-12-05
I was also going to recommend Bringhurst's book, which will also give you a lot of insight into how to set lots of niggly little bits.

But even Bringhurst makes it clear that there aren't any definite rules for choosing a typeface (beyond generally using serif faces for most text). Ultimately, choosing typefaces is a an aesthetic choice that's strongly influenced by other factors (such as, say, whether you own a particular typeface, or whether you need to make a document typesetable by others who might not own the typeface).

Looking at well-typeset books is probably the best way of getting a sense of what works best.
#6 Claire am 2008-12-15

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