So you’re looking for a font that suits your poems eh? Well look no further, this article will give you the best 10 fonts for poetry. But first, let’s talk about why you should care a bit more about fonts.
Why picking the right poetry font is important
Regardless of what some people may say, font use in poetry is important. Period. Poetry is about aesthetics. The typography font is also all about providing and preserving that aesthetic sense of the literature.
First, it attracts readers. Plain and simple. A good font will help readers perceive and even enjoy the content of the text better. It also helps hold their attention.
You might object: ”A good poem doesn’t need a pretty font to hold readers’ attention.” To that, I have to agree. But just like there’s no reason for a beautiful girl to not wear pretty clothes if she can, why not pick a nice looking font for your poems?
Also, a good font will help convey a certain mood or feeling. That’s why different types of poems will suit different types of fonts. Some show seriousness, others show a more creative, playful attitude, etc.
Ok, so if I’ve convinced you that font does play a role, you maybe are wondering, which font should I use for my poems? Well, without further ado, let’s take a look at the suggestions below.
Top 10 best fonts for writing poetry
1. Times New Roman
Times New Roman is a very classic font. The font was commissioned by The Times in 1931 and conceived by Stanley Morison, an artistic adviser.
While being very plain and simple, Times New Roman has become one of the most popular typefaces in the world. It’s hard to find a computer that doesn’t have Times New Roman installed nowadays.
The font has a robust color and was influenced by European early modern and Baroque printing. Times New Roman is very popular in general publish and book printing (poetry included, obviously).
If your poems require a professional vibe, or you just simply like a safe option, this font is for you.
Baskerville is a font with centuries of age. It was designed by John Baskerville, an English businessman, in the 1750s.
Baskerville essentially made some changes in the earlier design popular in Britain at the time.
Things like increasing the contrast between thick and thin strokes, shifting the axis of rounded letters to a more vertical position, making the curved strokes more circular in shape, etc.
Those changes were influenced by the calligraphy Baskerville had learned and taught as a young man.
Baskerville is used a lot in academic publications nowadays. The font personality lies in the traditional clean look with a bit of old-style flair. See for yourself if Baskerville fits the vibe that your poems bring.
Palatino is an old-style font designed by Herman Zapf, a German calligrapher.
The font was named after Giambattista Palatino, the 16th-century Italian master of calligraphy.
The Palatino font was intended to be a design for trade use such as headings, advertisements and display printings.
The font has a solid, wide structure as well as apertures. That way, the text can be seen clearly on poor quality paper, printed at small sizes or read at a distance.
Because of the way that Palatino was designed, it is a very functional typeface that can be used for pretty much any purpose.
As you can see, with Palatino, text can be read under many inferior conditions. A choice that is worth considering for your poems.
4. Zapf Chancery
Zapf Chancery, does that name ring any bells to you? It is another typeface that was designed by Herman Zapf, the man who designed the Palatino font in the previous section.
The font was announced in 1979 in six styles from light to bold. Herman Zapf named it after the English name for a Renaissance handwriting style (and his own name).
Zapf Chancery is one of the most commonly used fonts out there. If you own a computer, you probably have seen it. The font is pretty versatile and brings a familiarity vibe. It’s definitely a good choice for your poems.
Arial, the font that needs no introduction. Because it’s literally everywhere. The font was designed in 1982 by a ten-person team with Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders as leaders.
Originally, Arial was created to be used by the IBM 3800-3 laserxerographic printer. It was intended to be the font of the digital age.
Many people don’t have high opinions on Arial, however, claiming that it has too many similarities with Helvetica while being inferior in design.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, as Arial was created to be metrically identical to the popular typeface Helvetica. This is Microsoft’s (smart?) way to avoid paying a Helvetica license fee for Linotype.
So should you use Arial font for your poems? Well, you totally can, but it also depends on your own personal preference.
Arial can be used pretty much in any situations where design sensibility does not play an important role, such as logo work. If you like a plain and safe choice, Arial is for you.
6. Comic Sans
Comic Sans was released in 1994 by Microsoft. It was designed by Vincent Connare, a designer who worked for Microsoft at the time.
If you’re wondering about the name of the font, it’s named Comic Sans because it is a non-connecting script inspired by letters in comic books.
Vincent started to work on creating Comic Sans when he saw Times New Roman in the word balloons of cartoon characters in a beta version of Microsoft Bob.
Obviously, Times New Roman doesn’t do justice as it gave an overly formal look and not necessarily suitable for the young users that Microsoft Bob targeted.
Comic Sans was created with the intent for use in informal documents and children’s materials. Later on, when the font became more popular, some people argue that it was overused, especially in serious documents where its informal vibe could be inappropriate. That should give you a hint on whether you should use Comic Sans or not in your poems.
If your poems are light hearted and have an unserious vibe, especially if your target audience is younger readers, then Comic Sans is a perfect choice.
However, if you want something more serious or don’t have that much of a casual tone, maybe you should take a look at some other suggestions on this list.
Garamond font is named after the Parisian engraver in the sixteenth-century Claude Garamond.
It’s another popular font that is regularly used in book printing. Garamond’s signature characters are the smaller than average apertures that are closed off early on the stem and low line contrast.
It’s also one of the most eco friendly fonts due to lower link usage.
So should you use Garamond font for your poems?
I’d say that it’s a fine choice, especially for printed materials, as the font is a favorite for books.
Many best sellers choose Garamond, includes American editions of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, the Hunger Games trilogy and the Shiver Trilogy.
However, the very attributes that make Garamond such a great print font reduce its usefulness as a screen font. It doesn’t do well on screens in smaller font sizes, so use your judgement there.
The first Sans-serif typeface was designed by William Caslon IV in 1816.
At the time, the font was not widely used, but you can see it in pretty every computer nowadays.
That’s because when the design concept of form following function emerged at the same time with modernism, the Sans-serif font was hugely popularized.
Sans-serif brings a modern vibe to the text. It works well in narrow spaces, such as signs, text in apps, names on maps, etc.
That’s why the font is popular in the tech industry: if you’re building an app or a website, Sans-serif is almost always the default option.
What about poems? Should you use Sans-serif with your poems? Again, that’s totally up to you. The strength of Sans-serif lies in the modern look that it brings. If that sounds like something you want, go for it.
9. Century Gothic
Century Gothic is a sans-serif typeface that was created by Sol Hess.
It was released in 1991 by Monotype Imaging, a typeface design company.
It’s an exclusive digital typeface, meaning that it has never been manufactured as a metal type.
The font design is strongly influenced by the geometric sans serif styles and was intended to compete with Futura.
Century Gothic signature characteristic is the enlarged x-height that has been modified to ensure it works well with modern digital systems.
Nowadays, Century Gothic is among the 10% of core fonts used in most computers. The font is often useful for headlines, general display work or advertising.
It’s also widely used in web design and many other universal applications. But what about poems? You can absolutely use the Century Gothic font for your poems!
The font has a clear and clean design, very easy to read. Its style is also somewhat open and friendly, so pick it if that’s what you’re going for in your poems.
The last font on this list is another widely used sans-serif typeface, Helvetica.
The font was designed by a Swiss designer named Max Miedinger in 1957.
It was influenced by Akzidenz-Grotesk, the famous 19th century typeface as well as other German and Swiss designs.
The signature characteristics of Helvetica are the tall x-height, which makes it easier to read from afar, tight spacing between letters, etc.
According to Tobias Frere-Jones, an American type designer, “Helvetica can’t do everything…it can be really weak in small sizes.”
That being said, Helvetica still remains a great option for your poems. It’s no coincidence that the font is one of the most widely used fonts out there.
One of the best things about Helvetica is its neutrality, it doesn’t give any impression or inherent meaning.
Also, the font design rides the line between classic and modern, conservative and edgy, elegant and relaxed. If that what you’re looking for, Helvetica might be the answer.
So that’s all the top 10 best fonts that you can use for your poetry. There are many other great options outside of this list, but these ten fonts stand out the most because of their versatility.
I think 90% of you guys will be satisfied with the suggestions in this list. And don’t forget, while fonts are important and choosing them can be fun, what makes the readers stay are your poems.
Other interesting posts about poetry:
- [Answered] Which Best Defines The Word Repetition In Epic Poetry?
- Everything You Need To Know About Parts Of Speech Poem
- Puritan Poetry: How Did Poetry Connect With Puritanism?
Thomas Dao is the guy who created Poem Home, a website where people can read about all things poetry related. When he’s not busy working on his next project, you can find him reading a good book or spending time with family and friends.