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#1
burwelbo

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Hello

I am putting together a map that is intended to be a poster (36 x 42). The scale is 250,000. I have been struggling with finding fonts I like and was just wondering if anyone had some good font suggestions for this size map. What would be nice is some recommendations on font sizes also. What are good fonts for rivers, lakes, roads and place names with associated sizes? I have looked at TypeBrewer but most of those fonts are not included in Windows.

Thanks
Bruce Burwell
GIS Analyst
Saudi Aramco

#2
Agnar Renolen

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For a general discussion about type and cartography, you may find the following page useful:

http://www.linotype....6/cisalpin.html

...although that doesn't mean that I recommend you to purchase the Cisalpin font.

Personally, I have yet to find a typeface that I'm 100% pleased with. What I look for is:

  • sans serif or grotesque typefaces
  • open counters
  • a two story a in italics
  • a wide range of weights to facilitate a text hierarchy (thin to heavy)
  • not to wide (a condensed or semi-condensed makes things easier in cramped areas)

For me it is important that each character is distinct to enhance legibilty in small sizes. For example, an italic single story "a" is easy to mix up with the "o". Recall that map labels are not known words so you get the letter from the context.

Her is a list of font families that I would recommend:

  • Frutiger
  • Myriad Pro
  • Gill Sans
  • Futura
  • Optima

Avoid Helvetica because it comes in many versions which can lead to unpredictable results (Helvetica neue is a safer alternative).

#3
François Goulet

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You could find some precious information on Gretchen Peterson's blog about typography. She has a 3 parts entry about typefaces for maps as well as a couple of examples.

#4
Gretchen Peterson

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I like Delicious Italics for water features. It's free from exljbris here. For text size at a viewing distance of about 2 meters I would say point size can range from 24pt to 36pt while a closer viewing distance of 1 meters text is readable at 18 to 24 point (I've tested these in the past). For 2 meter viewing distance, titles in a sans-serif should be 72-100pt, at a distance of 1 meter titles can be 48-60 pt. Hope that helps.

#5
François Goulet

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I like Delicious Italics for water features. It's free from exljbris here. For text size at a viewing distance of about 2 meters I would say point size can range from 24pt to 36pt while a closer viewing distance of 1 meters text is readable at 18 to 24 point (I've tested these in the past). For 2 meter viewing distance, titles in a sans-serif should be 72-100pt, at a distance of 1 meter titles can be 48-60 pt. Hope that helps.


There's also the Guidelines for minimum size for text and symbols on maps from the ESRI Mapping Center.

But Gretchen's experience is more than enough for me ;)

#6
Gretchen Peterson

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I like Delicious Italics for water features. It's free from exljbris here. For text size at a viewing distance of about 2 meters I would say point size can range from 24pt to 36pt while a closer viewing distance of 1 meters text is readable at 18 to 24 point (I've tested these in the past). For 2 meter viewing distance, titles in a sans-serif should be 72-100pt, at a distance of 1 meter titles can be 48-60 pt. Hope that helps.


There's also the Guidelines for minimum size for text and symbols on maps from the ESRI Mapping Center.

But Gretchen's experience is more than enough for me ;)


Thank you!

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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There's also this thread on cartography fonts.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#8
Matthew Hampton

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I think it's informative for users looking into cartographic font selection to check out TypeBrewer.

It offers an interactive way to help understand and explore typefaces in regards to cartography.

Oregon Metro - Portland, OR
www.oregonmetro.gov


#9
Dennis McClendon

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I have looked at TypeBrewer but most of those fonts are not included in Windows.


All of them, of course, can be purchased for Windows.

We have no way of knowing what fonts are included with your particular installation of Windows, so it's hard to give recommendations. I think Myriad (sans-serif) and Minion (serif) are now pretty easy to come by, and those are good well-designed options for clear readable typefaces.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#10
burwelbo

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This is all good information. I had known that much about fonts. I have a couple of other questions.

1. What size fonts would you use for natural features such as lakes, rivers and creeks? I know it depends on the font. This is for a printed poster. I have been using 6 or 7 for creeks and and maybe 8 for lakes and rivers. When I zoom in to 100% in ArcMAp it looks good but I am concerned how it will look printed off.
2. I have read that you should use a San Serif font for natural features and a Serif font for labels, places, etc.. How many fonts should you have in a map? Should one usually be Serif and the other San Serif?

Good to have some general guidelines.

Thanks
Bruce
GIS Analyst
Saudi Aramco

#11
Hans van der Maarel

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1. What size fonts would you use for natural features such as lakes, rivers and creeks? I know it depends on the font. This is for a printed poster. I have been using 6 or 7 for creeks and and maybe 8 for lakes and rivers. When I zoom in to 100% in ArcMAp it looks good but I am concerned how it will look printed off.


Also depends on the size of the feature and complexness of the map at that particular location. I tend to not use any text smaller than 5 pt since that's on the edge of readability. 6 or 7 pt would be a good default size, and then make them larger if possible, or smaller if necessary.

2. I have read that you should use a San Serif font for natural features and a Serif font for labels, places, etc.. How many fonts should you have in a map? Should one usually be Serif and the other San Serif?


I actually use it the other way around, sans serif for manmade features and serif for natural. One or two fonts per map is ideal, but again it depends on the actual map.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
Email: hans@redgeographics.com / Twitter: @redgeographics

#12
Charles Syrett

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I basically agree with Hans, and it's certainly true that serifs are more often used for natural features than for man-made. However, many maps also use sans serif only, for all features. To do this well, you have to make sure that the distinction is still evident. Usually, in this case, natural features are italicized. It's also best to stay within one font family that has many variations, such as Myriad or Univers.

Size also depends on the size of the feature. Suppose, for example, that a quarter of your map was covered by one lake. The label for such a feature would have to break out of whatever size rules you're using so that the name "matches" the feature size.

The best way to get a feel for this is just to look at a lot of maps and atlases, especially at the size, scale, and detail level that you will have on your own map.

Charles Syrett
Map Graphics
http://www.mapgraphics.com




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