The Best Fonts for Your Essays, Books & Other Long Form Texts

Choosing the right font can seem like an impossible task. There are so many things to consider. What is the font going to be used for? What message are you trying to send? Is the font readable? Does the font include special features? Combine these questions with virtually unlimited font choices, and you’ll find your head spinning.

Different styles of fonts serve different purposes. Bold, blocky fonts are typically used for titles or headings. Script fonts are used for creative projects such as invitations, posters and apparel. Finally, there are fonts that work well as body copy. Body text is your longer text that usually appears in paragraphs. Because this text can be anything from a few words to millions of pages, legibility is very important. If a viewer is going to spend longer that a few seconds reading your text, you need to make sure that you’re providing a great reading experience. We’ll take a look at some tips for choosing the right fonts for longer bodies of text and I’ll also make some recommendations for fonts that you can use for your next project.

A Little Spacing Goes A Long Way

One of the biggest mistakes people make when working with longer blocks of text is not using correct spacing. The spacing between lines, paragraphs and characters can be the difference between fomenting being easy to read or impossible to read. Often, people space text and element to close in an attempt to save space, use less pages or get in some extra information in a small area. I get it. Sometimes you have one word left over, and you really don’t want to create a widow and orphan situation. But, there is no reason to cram all of your body text into a small area.

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Reserve The Decorations For Parties And Special Events

As graphic designers, we tend to be creative people. I love adding a bit of flair and pizzaz to everything. There’s a time and a place for the fancy had-lettered fonts. Your body text is neither the time nor the place. Using a decorative font to signify a chapter or section header can be a really nice visual break and keep everything from appearing as a never-ending wall of text. Using a decorative font as the default font for your body will be impossible to read and put a lot of strain on the viewers eyes. It will also take up significantly more space than using a clean font designed for long works of text.

Font Pairing Is Still Important

Making your text easy to read is your top priority, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some variety to your text. We’ve already mentioned how using decorative fonts for chapter and section headers can be useful, but there are some other situations where mixing things up is a great idea. If you have subsections throughout your text, you can implement some font pairing. For subsections, you wouldn’t want to make them decorative, but you would want to find a way to distinguish between the subsections and the body text. If you need help with font pairing check out: How to Mix and Match Fonts to Add Depth to Any Design.

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  • Best For Font Pairing

Lato is a great font for mixing, matching and pairing fonts. Lato has several variations of thick and thin weights that provide so many possibilities for pairing your fonts. You could use Lato Regular for the body of your text and Lato Heavy for your titles. If you’re new to font pairing and want a really easy way to guarantee your fonts will have some diversity while keeping a consistent style, Lato is for you.

  • Best For Universal Titles & Body Text

Gotham  is great if you’re looking for a font that works well for titles as well as body text. Gotham is one of those fonts that look great in any size and any case. The characters are spaced well and it’s very easy to read. If you don’t want a ton of variation between your titles and your body, Gotham is a great choice.

  • Best Pre-Installed Font

Futura is a font that can be found on most computers. It’s a favorite among many designers and is a great go-to font if you’re not able to install any custom fonts on a machine. Futura can be a bit overused these days, but it’s still a great choice when your options are limited and you need something quick, easy and readily available.

  • Best Serif Font

Adobe Caslon Pro is a great choice if you prefer a serif font over a sans serif font. It’s classic, easy to read and adds a bit of a rustic feel to your work.