Saturday, August 1, 2009

Thesis Font: Baskerville

Having asked the opinions of some of my colleagues and my family (who are now quite sure I'm obsessed about fonts :D ) about the font choices, I have finally made the font choice for my thesis - Baskerville (or its open equivalent, see a sample).

The font has a great history starting from its inception in 1757, which makes it perfect for the type of I'm going for - a Classic font. Wikipedia says:

Baskerville is a transitional serif typeface designed in 1757 by John Baskerville (1706-1775) in Birmingham, England. Baskerville is classified as a transitional typeface, positioned between the old style typefaces of William Caslon, and the modern styles of Giambattista Bodoni and Firmin Didot.

The Baskerville typeface is the result of John Baskerville's intent to improve upon the types of William Caslon. He increased the contrast between thick and thin strokes, making the serifs sharper and more tapered, and shifted the axis of rounded letters to a more vertical position. The curved strokes are more circular in shape, and the characters became more regular. These changes created a greater consistency in size and form.

Baskerville's typeface was the culmination of a larger series of experiments to improve legibility which also included paper making and ink manufacturing. The result was a typeface that reflected Baskerville's ideals of perfection, where he chose simplicity and quiet refinement. His background as a writing master is evident in the distinctive swash tail on the uppercase Q and in the cursive serifs in the Baskerville Italic. The refined feeling of the typeface makes it an excellent choice to convey dignity and tradition.

The open alternatives include Baskervald from ADF Fonts, GFS Baskerville from Greek Font Society (which is Greek only, still good from Physicists/Mathematicians though. Map it to the XeLaTeX Greek fonts), Open Baskerville (UFO Font only.... don't know how to get to Opentype yet) and Boisk Font which is inspired by Baskerville. I will add more as I find them.

Shakes - L3mming

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