Calluna font

Calluna fontAs a professor and a coordinator for an academic unit in a state university, I often have to produce documents that must exist in different formats. For example, my class syllabus in available online in PDF format but I also need to print it out and pass to students in the first class. Other examples include student handbook, program information sheets, and many other documents. They all need to look good on-screen as PDF files and in print.

As someone who cares a lot about typography, I am in constant search of good text fonts. Because the documents I produced tend to be very text heavy, I want a good-looking text font that can perform well in small font size. For my purpose, I need the font to meet the following criteria:

  1. The font must look formal and authoritative. Because the documents I produce are official university documents, I need them to look official and authoritative. Therefore, anything that looks fun and funny are out.
  2. I want a font that does not look boring. If the first criterion is the only criterion, I can just use pre-installed Windows PC fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Cambria. Many people have done that and I have no objection on their choice. From my point of view, however, all those pre-installed fonts are overused and boring. I want a font that has some flare and more details but not outrageous. For example, even though I like Berkeley Oldstyle a lot, it to me has too much flare and decorations for a text font.
  3. I want a font that is not too expensive. I have a limited budget, so free would be my preference. If I have to buy the font, I want something that is not too expensive.

I have tried many different fonts and eventually I settled with two fonts: Adobe Minion and Calluna.

Minion fontAdobe Minion is a good-looking font and it looks very format and authoritative. The only problem is that it does not look very unique. It is true that in a quick glance most people would probably mistaken Adobe Minion for Times New Roman. However, I find Minion better looking than Times New Roman. The good thing about Minion is that its size is almost identical to Times New Roman, so you can replace Times New Roman with minimum changes to the overall layout.

Calluna is my new favorite text font. Its regular font is free to download. Calluna has a larger x-height thus make it easier to read in small font size compared to other popular text fonts such as Garamond. However, Calluna’s x-height is not too large as fonts aimed for screen reading. Many screen-reading-friendly fonts tend to look awkward in print because the x-height is too large. Calluna hits a very nice balance between screen reading friendly and looking good on paper. Calluna also has more details and flares that makes it look more distinguishable than fonts such as Minion and Times New Roman.

If you are looking for a text font and you have never tried Calluna, you should definitely give it a try.

 

My Research Focus

InterdisciplinaryToday I thought about a new way to describe my research focus:

My research focus is the study of college impacts and institutional effectiveness through an interdisciplinary approach.

When I say college impacts, I mean student learning in- and out-of-classrooms, online education, STEM education, student engagement, civic engagement, and moral and spiritual development of college students.

When I say institutional effectiveness, I mean assessment of student affairs practices, teaching evaluation, student satisfaction, and other measures of institutional competitiveness and effectiveness.

Many scholars study college impacts and institutional effectiveness, but my unique contributions come from the utilization of an interdisciplinary approach. I investigate college impacts and institutional effectiveness through psychological, sociological, and economic theories combining with the current literature in the field of education, business management, data sciences, and leadership.

Career Advice for New Academics

Career AdviceYesterday I saw a friend asking on the Facebook for career advice for new student affairs professionals. I am now into my 12th year working as a professional in academia. I thought about career advice for new academics and I have three:

  1. Treat everyone with respect and dignity especially to those you don’t like and those “black sheep”.
  2. Do not stop learning and improving your trade. This should be true for everyone but especially true for academics.
  3. Raise your hand and take on the task nobody wants, and you are on your way to become a leader.

喜愛的字型 – FF Scala & Whitney

Typography最近忙著改學生的報告和論文改得我團團轉。我不知道有多少教授現在還要求學生把報告印出來,我從兩年前就開始要求學生所有的報告都只交電子檔,而且要先經過Turnitin檢查看有沒有抄襲。每天改報告看著Time New Roman實在看到我的眼睛都快要脫窗了。Times New Roman如果印出來在紙上其實一個不錯看的字型。但是一來它實在是太氾濫了,二來Times New Roman在電腦螢幕上(特別是Microsoft Word裡面)真的很不好看,所以我現在收到學生的論文都先把字型換成別的再開始改。

兩年前我寫了一篇文章討論哪些字型適合用來寫英文報告,其中提到不少可以替代Times New Roman的字型。過去這幾年我自己寫的學術論文都是用Minion Pro。Minion Pro並不特別,它看起來方方正正的就像Times New Roman一樣。我相信很多不注意字型的人甚至不會發現Minion Pro和Times New Roman有什麼不同。但是在我的眼中看來,Minion Pro是比Times New Roman好看上很多倍,但是又不會太突出、太有個性,因此用來寫學術報告最是適合。

另外一個我這幾年常用的字型是Lyon Text。我用Lyon Text主要是在寫信函的時候使用,像是給學生的推薦信或是給期刊主編的cover letter。當初會知道這個字型是因為在網路上讀到Typography for Lawyers作者的推薦。Lyon Text比起Times New Roman和Minion Pro都來的豐滿。如果說Minion Pro像是標楷體,那Lyon Text就像是顏真卿的書法體。Lyon Text比起Minion Pro或Times New Roman更有個性。因此,Lyon Text用在長篇的學術論文可能會有點突兀,但是用在個人書信上感覺剛剛好。

今天要介紹的則是我最近愛上的兩款字型。第一款是Martin Majoor所設計的FF Scala。我之前的文章中曾經提到過無襯線的FF Scala Sans,這次我要說的則是同一個字型家族中的襯線字體FF Scala。FF Scala當初是為了荷蘭的Vredenburg音樂廳所設計的。設計師Martin Majoor提到這個字型的設計靈感來自於十五世紀的字型Bembo與十八世紀的法國設計師Pierre Simon Fournier。我個人覺得FF Scala兼具古典與現代之美,很適合在電腦螢幕上閱讀,印出來也很好看。FF Scala唯一讓我對它有所保留的地方是它的數字1設計太過前衛,看起來像是大寫的英文字I。我並不是覺得這樣的設計不好看,只是擔心如果我用FF Scala來寫學術論文會有審稿人對於這個過於前衛的數字1感到過敏。

Scala

第二款我要介紹的字型則是由Tobias Frere-Jones所設計的Whitney。Whitney的由來跟FF Scala有點類似–紐約的Whitney Museum of American Art請設計師Tobias Frere-Jones幫他們設計一套字型,結果就是今天的Whitney。Whitney這款字型的特點是它能夠用在小字體的場合也可以用在大字體的場合。當初Whitney Museum of American Art對這款新字型的要求是它用在印刷刊物像是博物館的手冊或是雜誌的時候要好看,同時把它放大成博物館內部的路標或是其他大型標示的時候也要同樣好看。我個人的觀感是Whitney就是美。Whitney跟FF Scala一樣,在電腦螢幕上看起來很舒服。如果你需要把它印出來在紙上它也同樣的好看。

Whitney

總之,別再用Times New Roman了。

字型與排版(二):九項外國學生常犯的英文排版錯誤(上)

記得小學的時候我曾經對於句點的用法非常的困惑。那一段時期我寫的作文常常一整段裡面都是逗點,只有在整段結束的時候我才會放上句點。現在想想,我從小學開始學注音符號和寫字,但是老師似乎從來沒有教過我們標點符號的正確用法。同樣的,我相信有很多人英文學了很久,但是卻從來沒有仔細鑽研過英文標點符號的正確用法以及英文排版(typography)上該注意的事情。

看到這裡可能會有人想說英文排版跟寫報告有什麼關係?排版這種簡單的事情不是交給Microsoft Word來處理就好了嗎?至於那些複雜的排版不是只有學美編的人才用得到嗎?如果你真的這樣想,那你就大錯特錯了。

首先,Microsoft Word可以幫你做一些簡單的排版設定,但是當你有排版錯誤的時候Word不會提醒你。其次,一篇充滿排版錯誤的報告或是論文會大大的降低文章的可讀性,其造成的後果可能是成績的低落或是讓人看不起你的語文能力。所以,排版絕對不是專業的美編才需要懂的技能。

以下是十項在我經驗中外國學生常犯的英文排版錯誤(順序不代表重要性):

  1. 使用等寬字體(monospaced fonts)來寫報告。
    我看過很多國際學生寫英文報告的時候喜歡使用Courier New或是類似的等寬字型。我猜這些學生之所以使用Courier New不是因為這種字型容易閱讀而是因為這種字型的寬度讓他們的報告看起來長度比較長,頁數比較多。 如果你也是這樣的學生,請停止這樣做!等寬字體不會讓你的報告比較好讀。更甚者,每個教授都知道你用等寬字體的目的是什麼。你可以使用我在這篇文章中所推薦的任何一種字型。就算你都不喜歡我所推薦的字型,用Times New Roman或是Arial也勝過使用等寬字型。
  2. 字體太大或太小,或在同一篇報告中使用兩種或是更多不同的字型。
    上面提到有些人喜歡用等寬字體來增加報告的頁數,另外有些人則喜歡放大或是縮小字體來增減報告的長度。其實教授們對於這些伎倆都非常的熟悉,想當年我們也都做過學生。除非你有特別的原因,否則請使用大小為11或是12 points的字體來寫你的英文報告或是論文(大部分的教授喜歡12 points,畢竟年紀大了看小字比較吃力)。另外請注意不要在一篇文章中使用多種不同的字型,這會讓你的報告看起來非常的不專業。選擇一種字型,然後確定你的文章從頭到尾(包括頁碼和footnote)都使用同一種字型。
  3. 使用左右對齊(justified alignment)。
    很多人喜歡把報告設定成左右對齊。我想大部分的人這樣做的原因是看到報章雜誌和很多書籍這樣設定,而且那些雜誌書籍看起來都很美觀。問題是很多人忽略了一件事情:報章雜誌和書籍都是由專業的排版師設計師用專業的排版軟體排出來的。左右對齊要排的好看,每個英文字母之間的距離必須做非常精確的調整,這一點是Microsoft Word做不到的。使用Word左右對齊的結果是有些英文字會被拉得很開,有些又非常的擠,真的非常難看(請看本文開頭的那張圖片)。因此,當你在寫英文報告的時候(中文比較沒有這樣的問題),請記得使用靠左對齊而不是左右對齊。