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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "system fonts")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Avoid if you can, choose wisely if you can't}
As professional writers, lawyers ought to rely on professional fonts. Theyre the quickest and easiest way to upgrade your typography. More about that in xref{font recommendations}.
But professional fonts arent always an option. Certain projects demand em{system fonts}, which are the fonts already installed on your computer. In printed documents, they present three problems.
em{Many system fonts arent good}. The Windows and Mac OS libraries have improved, but theyre still minefields of awful fonts. I wont name names, but my least favorite rhymes with Barial.
margin-note{Moreover, fonts
like Georgia were optimized for the
coarse monochrome screens of the 1990s. As we shift into the
age of high-resolution color screens, these fonts have a declining
comparative advantage.}
em{Many system fonts have been optimized for the screen, not print}. This comes at the cost of design details, which have been sanded off because they dont reproduce well on screen. Screen-optimized fonts look clunky on the printed page.
indented{image[#:border #f "georgia-miller-comparison.svg"]}
Compare the two fonts above. In basic appearance, theyre sim- ilar. But Georgia was optimized for the screen; Miller was opti- mized for print. See the difference?
em{All system fonts are overexposed}. Because these fonts are included with billions of computers, theyre used all the time. Not every typography project demands novelty. But if yours does, look elsewhere. For instance, please dont adopt the slogan A Law Firm Unlike Any Other and then set it in Helvetica.
If youre limited to system fonts, consult this chart and choose wisely. For print, the A list is best. For screen display, like presentations and websites, the A and B lists are fine. Theyre also suitable for sharing draft documents. Avoid the C list if you can. F list, kapu.