Questions about PDFs/Desktop Publishing

Splitting off from the Realm Guard thread, since I think it’d be a good thread to have:

What kind of advice are you looking for, Illern? I’m not very good with Adobe InDesign and that’s about the only desktop publishing/PDF writer app I’ve used, but I’ll answer as best I can. Also, I think there are lots of people out there who know about it and layout and desktop publishing in general.

When I think of it I don’t think I’m looking for that much PDF advice as lay out advice. I usually use LATeX or the built-in PDF creation in Mac OS X accessible from any program. Many independant (and some professional too) games and other books are lay outed in a obvious bad way; nowhere to put your fingers without blocking the text, columns too close, too little space towards the binding so the text bends inward or even slightly disappear and so on but when you have gotten past the obvious bad aspects what makes the lay out to go from OK to good, from readable to easy to read? The most interesting aspect, I think, is readability. How close can one usually have columns? Whats the smallest recommended font, any optimal size (readability and saving space)? Any good fonts to recommend? Any really bad but common fonts to avoid (Times New Roman)? That kind of stuff.

Also, is there any common traps to avoid when making a PDF for print-on-demand?

Big questions, I know…

Start with a 10 pt font and 12 pt leading. It’s a good standard for readability. For added readability, try 13 pt leading.

For everything else, print out your pages and experiment with your values until you find the numbers that suit your eye.


This. Most definitely this. I just transitioned my stuff to digest size (5.5" x 8.5") and you gotta print that out to see what it actually looks like.

In terms of readability, Garamond is considered one of the most readable fonts out there. I like to go with a slightly stylized main font (Goudy, Garamond, etc) with a setting-specific header/subheader font (Ringbearer and Aniron, respectively, in the case of Realm Guard).

Thanks, just to be sure regarding english terms, ‘‘leading’’ is the distance between the lines?


This is good advice, especially for those of us who are new to the publishing/self-publishing arena.

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