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Looking for the best Serif font on earth

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You know, I hate to badger poor Kris about this and to single him out, but I find myself staring at this little teaser all the time:


On screen, the way it looks right there (i'm talking about the smaller point size), the face seems to have a unique softness and charm, a quiet elegance.

Anyway, this is a fun thread, and I think Jabberjaw is off looking at pdfs and staring at font samples somewhere.

One more contribution, if I may:

Dante, by Monotype: http://www.monotypeimaging.com/productsservices/cat_list_serif.aspx?type...

Dean Allen thinks Dante fared the best in terms of classics translated to digital. It's definitely a revered classic, right up there with Sabon. The italics, for example, play perfectly with the roman to achieve a very nice synergy. But I think it sets just a tad lighter than I'd like on an ink-jet/laser printer.

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Hey! Tim and Bram thank you very much for the pointers... (so many Baskervilles and such little time aaaagh). I didn't know about the Augereau either.

Christian – I agree with you about the MT Dante, the version I've seen this year from the Linotype Library is very fine indeed. I see that Dean also lists Jenson, Granjon, Elzevir, Caslon, Fleischmann, Bell, Bulmer, Miller, Centaur, Perpetua, Janson, Electra, Fairfield, and Aldus in addition to those faces already mentioned in this fun thread BUT these are text faces and Jabberjaw's still not said what they want it for...

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I have alot of respect for Dean Allen. He's a purist of sorts when it comes to type and I like that. His site is what got me interested in type a couple of years ago. I wonder whether he's on Typophile.

Yes, there are a few Baskervilles out there, but I think professional opinion has basically brought it down to three that are truly worth considering:

John Baskerville (and Baskerville Ten) by StormType
Baskerville 1757 by Fountain
New Baskerville by ITC

Every time I find something particularly good about JB, I recall something equally good about, say, B 1757. I really can't decide between those three. Although it seems to me that most people here on Typophile prefer the first two I listed. I'm not very knowledgeable about Baskervilles anyway.

Mrs. Eaves, however (which is considered a play on Baskerville), is NO Baskerville, no matter what anyone tells you. ;-) If you want that low x-height whimsical charm of Mrs. Eaves but with spacing that actually makes sense (in terms of extended text), then have a look at Emigre's Tribute, which is quite a gem.

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WOW, now I have TOO many serifs to choose from :)

Right now i'm leaning towards Mercury by Tobias Frere-Jones’. It seems to have a very bold unique quality. I need the font for headlines in a design publication. so unique is a plus.

But again… WOW, you guys are making this hard!


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Mike (SuperUltraFabulous): As far as I know, Pescadero is not going to be included with Windows Vista.

However, it is already available as part of the Microsoft HD DVD Interactivity Jumpstart Package, which is a free download.

The package includes the following fonts:

  • Kootenay
  • Lindsey
  • Miramonte
  • Miramonte Bold
  • Pericles
  • Pericles Light
  • Pescadero
  • Pescadero Bold

You can see some samples and PDF specimens of the various fonts here.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My nominee for best overall serif family, with matching sans family, would be ITC Stone Serif and Stone Sans...Minion is a shade too narrow in its character proportions to be as widely usable, and its bold is just a flop. Stone has everything, in three weights with old style figures; it looks great small and even better big. And it's not overexposed at all!

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We know from another thread you don't care for Stone, G-E, but I've been using both the serif and sans families very happily and successfully for 15 years and can testify on its behalf...the fact that it's not "discovered" is an advantage, surely...Haarlemmer, very close to Stone, is another good option as an elegant all-around serif workhorse...

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I don’t think Stone is a bad typeface. But I don’t think it is particulary good, either. I’m just fed up with it. I think I’m seeing it everywhere. So I was asking if you were being sarcastic about it not being used much. I think it has been “discovered” and is overexposed, too. Maybe it’s just me.

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Stone Serif is certainly not underexposed, or undiscovered. Far from it.

Not sure why Minion's Bold would be considered a "flop" unless one is used to looking at Stone Serif Bold.

Stone Serif and Minion were designed for different purposes, so it's not very useful to compare them.

Did anyone suggest MvB's Verdigris? That's a sturdy one.

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Funny, I have seen Stone Serif very little over the years, and Minion a lot. Stone Sans is used somewhat more than Serif, though. More important, Stone Serif looks new, and a nice surprise, to my clients. For them, it's all about what works well at 9pt, instead of blooming only at 10pt or up, as so many alternatives I admire tend to.

MvB Verdigris and Sirenne Display are quite interesting.

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>works well at 9 pt.

I recently read 'Printers Type in the Twentieth Century' (library copy) which if I remember rightly is in Stone Serif. I can see that it could work very well at 9 pt, but at the larger size in that book, I didn't find it so nice.

Walter Tracy writes "For my own taste, if x to h is a proportion of acout six to ten a face will look refined and pleasant to read. If the x height if much less than that the face may be stylish but will be unsuitable for a long text. A larger x-height conduces to dullness."

I think Tracy got it right, and that Stone Serif is a bit lifeless. I see it was finished in 1987, when I think the huge x-height fashion was still in full swing.

So: suberbly crafted? No doubt. Ideal? No way. Just reading about it, I would think that Stone's Cycles would be more of a candidate.

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Many of your objections to Stone Serif would be solved by an Open Type Pro version with optical sizes like display and subhead. When Stone Serif was new, typositor strips were still being used, and for that market Stone released a display weight of the book and book italic. Today, walking past a hardware store, I saw a box design that used the typositor display, roman and italic, and it was just beautiful. Can't help you with the large x-height, though: unfashionable here, perhaps, but loved to death by clients--and it's not hard to figure why. One curiosity: the Serif book weight is actually tagged "medium," which suggests there's a Serif Light stuck in Stone's desk...??

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