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Mikeey

Looking for free font similar to Caslon

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Mikeey

Hi. I'm beginning to typeset a book for the first time. I've looked into which font to use and I'm inclined to go along with a recommendation I came across online to use Caslon for text books. I looked at the Google fonts and thought that Crimson Text looks very similar, which is one of the fonts that had already caught my eye. 

I'm hoping to get some advice about this. For example, does anyone think there is a better match on Google fonts. (I think Caslon Libre is more attractive than Adobe Caslon, so perhaps something like that.) Also, if anyone has any thoughts about which font suits non-fiction books I'd be very grateful to hear about them.

Actually, this font looks very similar to me and looks really good, I think. Does anyone know what it is and whether it is free for commercial use?

Many thanks. Best wishes,

Mike

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oobimichael

Mike... choosing a typeface for book publication is always a trial and error task. First, have a clear vision of the "tone" your book is naturally wanting to communicate. Non-fiction? Is it academic, historical, etc? Meaning, is the text "serious", or open to be a bit more artistic? Then, does the publication require built-in superscripts/subscripts, small caps, etc.? Finally, technical elements, such as paper weights/quality, color, etc.

Caslon is a safe choice. Depending on your audience, I'm not a big fan of free fonts (with exceptions). For quality fonts in the Caslon-ish genre, you might also look at:

https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/hvdfonts/livory/

https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/type-together/garalda/

But to provide any meaningful input, it would be helpful if you post a PDF sample of a page or two of your text...

M

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Mikeey

Hi Michael.

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to my post. I'll attach the first two pages of the book, which is still needing final proofreading. As you can see, it's very much a textbook in this chapter. Later chapters are a little less dry because they deal more with human experience. It's in TNR because I've always quite liked it and hadn't thought very much about fonts when I started writing - and I hadn't even realised there would be copyright issues with using fonts. I can see that it's not ideal for books because it's so narrow. I'll go back into photoshop when I've chosen a font and change the text in the diagrams.

I guess I'm looking for something which has some of the seriousness of Caslon, but something slightly more 'friendly' and less formal. I will have to use a free font for financial reasons - at least in the first edition. I've been looking at Crimson Text and Cormorant Garamond, with Crimson seeming the least formal of the two, to me, with the Garamond having the more exaggerated upper part in letters such as l and h.

I do really like the font that's coming up here, which seems similar to both of them to my untrained eye.

Thanks again for your input. Best wishes,

Mike

pdf sample.pdf

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Greg Yerbury

I can understand why paying for an  font is something that could be prohibitive but there are discounts around for instance Paratype have St Petersburg on sale which has some similarities to Caslon. 
 https://www.paratype.com

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Mikeey

Hi Greg. Thanks for that. I followed the link and I do really like the Petersburg font. So if I pay $20 will I be able to use the font in as many books as I like for as long as I like? What are the disadvantages of using a free font, do you think?

Thanks again. Best wishes, 

Mike

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Mikeey

Hi again. I just had a more thorough look at the site. I think the complicated conditions are more prohibitive than the cost. The only part that seems relevant to me is this:

"You may embed the licensed fonts into any document you send to third parties."

which is part of the desktop license. Does this include PDFs sent for printing as a book to be sold to a 3rd party?

Best wishes

Mike

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Greg Yerbury

That would be my reading of it and then you will be able to use it in as many books as you want. I think the best free serif text fonts are listed on this web site although I have used Fira sans which is not listed here.
 

 

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Mikeey

Thanks Greg. I like the Gandhi Serif and Gentium fonts. It's good to have some free fonts recommended as I don't have the experience to see which ones aren't so good. I'll email Paratype for clarification, because $20 seems very cheap if I can use the font endlessly in however many books.

Thanks again. Best wishes

Mike

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Greg Yerbury

The discount will be only run for a short time then it will be back to normal

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Greg Yerbury

No wonder Fira sans isn't on the list it is a Sans. Doh. 

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Mikeey

Thanks. I emailed them just now so hopefully they'll get back to me tomorrow.

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Mikeey

Hi. Paratype got back to me and unfortunately the cheap license (desktop) only covers non-commercial pdfs. So I'm almost certainly going to use a free font now. I like Amiri very much, but it does something very strange when I try to type with it: it creates massive spaces above and below. I've included a pdf of a few lines of Amiri twelve point. Does anyone know why it is doing this and if it can be made to work like a normal font with normal spacing between lines. Otherwise I'll probably use Cormorant Garamond, which has the same elegant crispness and tall look that Petersburg and Amiri have.

Thanks again for all the help. Best wishes

Mike

Amiri twelve point.pdf

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Greg Yerbury

I see, commercial e-books via PDF are not allowed on that licence you have to spend an extra $40 for that licence. You were right to be cautious. 

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Mikeey

Hi. In the end I decided that fonts like Cormorant Garamond and Petersburg look great on the screen but are too light in print. Crimson Text seems almost identical to Amiri except that Amiri takes up slightly more space horizontally along the line. Amiri seems OK if I reduce the line spacing to 0.3, while Crimson text looks good at 0.9, I think. I'll do a test with Indesign to make sure the altered line-spacing transfers across OK.

Anyway, thanks again for your support. Best wishes, 

Mike

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Mikeey

Hi again.

Thought I should let you know that when I asked paratype if I could sell printed books and distribute free sample PDFs on a different license, I got this reply:

"You may sell printed books and distribute one chapter of the book for free as a PDF under the terms of desktop license."

I think he misunderstood what I was trying to ask when I asked about the desktop license - probably because I mentioned that I would be uploading PDFs to Amazon, but didn't stress that all I'd be selling is books printed from these PDFs. So your initial thoughts on the desktop license were correct after all.

However, after all that I decided that the Petersburg font - like the Caslon and Cormorant Garamond fonts - are too formal and 'lecturing' somehow (stuffy even); and I decided that Crimson Text is more kind of inviting people to consider the ideas rather than saying 'this is how it is so listen up'.

Thanks again for all your input, Greg.

Best wishes

Mike

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