I never seen so many bleedin' Arials

A reader writes to ask:

The font I have been using for 10 years is Arial. I like it alot. Any comments. Should I check with Sheila Williams, the editor at Azimovs.

No. No. No. A thousand times no. Use Courier or Times New Roman. Do not use Arial, and do not bug Sheila about it. Do check the spelling of your intended market before you submit your manuscript. That is all.  

3 Comments

Sound advice for sure (unless s/he's referring to Izaac Azimov's magazine).

I usually write with Arial myself, but I'll convert to TNR before submitting to a publisher. I am curious about the preference for these two fonts (Times and Courier). Both Halvetica and Arial are straightforward typefaces with crisp, clean lines. Why do publishers so loathe sans-serif fonts?

Tradition is part of it, perhaps the biggest part. People are more accustomed to reading long texts in serif fonts. Some studies suggest that readability in print improves with serif fonts, though admittedly the data is a little ambiguous on that point.

Conventional wisdom holds that serif fonts are best in print (where the serifs help grab the eye) and sans-serif best for screen reading (where the clean lines are more forgiving of pixilation). I know that, personally, I find it more of a chore to read a book set in sans serif, so much so that I won't often try. But is that just because it's the way I've been trained to read? I don't know, but I think one should only buck that expectation if there's a damn good reason for doing so.

Sounds good to me. Good answer!