Cites & Insights: Opinions Desired

It’s the interregnum between volumes of Cites & Insights, and also the end of current sponsorship. That’s a natural time to play with the layout of the publication (postponing, for now, more substantive issues such as the future of the publication).

So I’m interrupting the series of introductory posts on But Still They Blog: The Liblog Landscape 2007-2009 (thanks to the multitudes who’ve already purchased it, and I hope he or she will enjoy it…) to invite reader opinions on a possible change to C&I.


Third option added: Please see “Cites & Isights 2010: A Third Option?”


Berkeley Book or Constantia?

For the last five years, Cites & Insights has used Berkeley Oldstyle Book as a text face (with Berkeley Bold for boldface, since Berkeley Book doesn’t have a bold version and “bolded” typefaces are inherently ugly). It’s one of the most readable serifs in the business; my alma mater knew what they were doing when they commissioned the typeface from Goudy nearly a century ago.

But it’s also very much a book typeface, a little light on the printed page.

I’ve become quite fond of Constantia, one of the typefaces introduced by Microsoft along with either Windows Vista or Office 2007. I love the traditional non-lining nature of its numbers (to me, they’re much easier to read than modern lining numerals). I like the overall flow of the typeface.

But it’s heavier than Berkeley Book–and sets just a little wider as well.

What Do You Think?

I plan to make a decision before I produce the January 2010 issue (most of which is already written). I’ll need to decide by Friday, December 18,Wednesday, December 16 since I plan to produce Volume 10 Issue 1 around December 21.

So here’s the deal:

  • Take a look at the Constantia version of Volume 9, Issue 13.
  • Compare it to the published Berkeley Book version.
  • Yes, they’re both PDFs; there’s no other way I could show you Berkeley Book, since that’s a licensed typeface (paid for, not transferable to other machines).
  • Tell me which you like better, either by email or as a comment.

Third option added: Please see “Cites & Isights 2010: A Third Option?”


One important note: The Constantia version is three pages longer…but part of that is because I wanted to generate a quick test, which meant not going through the issue to do copyfitting (e.g., tightening the text in some paragraphs to eliminate a one-word last line). I’m nearly certain that copyfitting would bring that down to 34 pages and possibly to 33 pages–it will require a little more space, but not as much as you see here.

So: Opinions?

Oh, and if you know of a possible sponsor…that would be even more appreciated.

7 Responses to “Cites & Insights: Opinions Desired”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I think I like the Constantia better, but both versions are very readable, so I would still read C&I either way.

  2. Barbara Fister Says:

    I’m leaning toward Constantia too – I prefer the way the number 4 hangs down, whereas in Berkeley it looks as if it has short suspenders holding it up too high. Kind of an Erkel effect.

  3. Jason Griffey Says:

    I find Constantina easier to read…the increased boldness is quite nice. I’ll disagree, though, with Barbara, about the descenders on the numerals. They disjoint my reading a bit….not enough to make me stop, but I do find the 9s and the 3s a bit much.

  4. walt Says:

    Thanks. I’ll keep collecting opinions. Barbara: Interesting, because the Berkeley “4″ is pretty much typical of lining typefaces, that is, ones where all numbers are the same height and sit directly on the baseline. I find that, once you’ve seen non-lining typefaces, numbers in lining ones look a little odd–but, now, seeing Jason’s note, it’s clear that others disagree. (And, looking at what I’d consider semi-standard typefaces on my system, only Georgia and MS Reference Serif, of sans and serif typefaces, are non-lining. Well, and Venetian BT, if that’s a standard case.)

  5. walt Says:

    Actually, the boldness is part of my problem–to me, it’s a little dark on the page. But that may be me. (There’s the option of using Berkeley instead of Berkeley Book, which would be darker than Berkeley Book but a little lighter than Constantia…but there, I think I like the letterforms of Constantia a little better. Berkeley is a lining typeface, to be sure…)

  6. Mark Says:

    I prefer the Berkeley Book. The Constantia just seems busy to me somehow; not sure how to describe it. With the Berkeley Book my eye seems to flow along the lines and from line to line just fine, while with the Constantia it doesn’t quite know where to focus and move to. No doubt I would get used to it with more exposure over time.

    Same goes for non-lining numbers. Even though I see them frequently in the assorted genres and books from other countries that I read I don’t generally care for them.

    Either way, Walt, I will still read Cites & Insights if you write it. Wish I had the money to sponsor you.

  7. walt Says:

    Given the range of comments, and given one reason I suspect some people prefer Constantia–that is, Berkeley Book is a little light for on-screen PDF reading–I’ve added a third option. Please see this post.


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