Typography & Formatting

November 2, 2019

Kiperman by Harbor Type

Kiperman by Harbor Type

Anyone familiar with my ramblings about typefaces knows that I love a good serif. It’s the serif that carries the weight of a print book and even an ebook. The problem with finding a strong serif that can be used in both print and ebooks is that it’s damn near impossible. You have a better chance of finding a unicorn in the wild than finding a typeface that works well in both mediums. And this is by design. The characteristics you want for a typeface in print are vastly different from the characteristics that make a typeface great for screens. This is why Georgia is perfect for ebooks and websites, but should never ever be used in a print book, no matter what anyone claims. Kiperman might be one of those typefaces that moves easily between print and ebooks.

As an added bonus, Kiperman has probably one of the most romantic origins. Harbor Type was commissioned by the publishing house Grupo A in honor of their founder. What an amazing posthumous honor. In Kiperman, the designers Henrique Beier and Ana Laydner ensured the publisher will live on forever in the pages of books.

So let’s cover some of the practical features of Kiperman. It’s a serif (which we all knew) and an Old Style (perfect for print books!). The strokes have enough contrast to keep the reading experience comfortable without being jarring. In fact, Kiperman fades into the page and becomes invisible. It doesn’t distract from the words. That’s a good thing. You want the tyepface to showcase your words, not for your words to showcase the typeface.

I haven’t yet set a book with this typeface, but I have set a sample chapter. I enjoy the way the letters flow across the page. Setting a page with a trim size of 5″ x 8″, I used a font size of 11 pt and a leading of 13.5 pt (if you’re using Word, use exact line spacing). The characters are narrower compared to a typeface like Garamond, but they don’t feel scrunched. The Justification settings need to be tweaked and I leaned toward more spacing (setting the letter spacing to a maximum of 133%, which is the most I usually recommend). Overall, the page looks nice. I especially enjoy the way the italics follow the flow of the body text.

A quick note about this image, it does not represent the font size or leading I recommended, this is an image created from Illustrator to give an approximate representation. 

The above image is a sample paragraph using Kiperman in regular, italic, and bold. Take a close look at the italics. The slant is only eight degrees, but the character spacing doesn’t have to be adjusted at all to make the italics more legible.

Kiperman is a perfect neutral serif. If you tend to use Minion as your goto serif for print books, you might want to consider Kiperman. Without a lot more testing and playing around, I wouldn’t call it a no-fail font, but if you are looking for a typeface that fills Minion’s role, but is still different, Kiperman is a great choice.

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