A Typeface Designed for Lawyers

We’ve talked a bit before on Slaw about Matthew Butterick’s great book, Typography for Lawyers, copies of which should be found wherever lawyers’ thoughts are committed to print (digital or otherwise). Now Butterick’s created Equity, a typeface specifically for lawyers. He says, in an article in Co. Design, that he designed Equity:

to be every bit as space-efficient as TNR [Times New Roman], but eminently more readable—and a tad sexy. “I wanted Equity to be like a navy-blue Armani suit: a classic updated with contemporary virtues.”

The typeface includes 24 fonts—a face is a design and a font enables the expression of that design, in this case in two weights and six styles: regular, italic, bold, bold italic, regular caps, bold caps. As important, it comes with proper small caps to let you avoid the terrible result of using Word’s “small caps” feature.

You can see Equity in action in a PDF of various documents that use it.

If nothing else, considering whether or not to use this font in your work will mean that you’re paying attention to the fine details of your printed work, something that can only benefit those who want to read it.

Comments

  1. I like the font but I don’t like that some of the numbers are of different sizes – see the sample CV – the one (1) and seven (7) appear smaller than the other numbers and I don’t like the look of that. I would like to see if or how it handles accents on upper case letters and small caps , a peculiarly Canadian issue.

  2. I love the way it looks, however I would note that whenever you use ligatures (as in the example document’s first page with the ff in “Plaintiff”) you run into complications. Ligatures are the nifty marriage of two letters into one shape (e.g. from two ff -> ff, or Plaintiff to Plaintiff), that seems to confuse copy and paste function. So it’s fine if you are only printing hardcopy documents. I can just imagine the way this would interfere where people are using any form of digital process, however.

  3. There is a whole history of typography that is quite specialized but very intriguing. The Rare Book School at the University of Virginia supplies a selected reading list for those who want to follow up on this subject.

    I do take some issue with Butterick’s categorization of Gill Sans as a bad font, though; personally, I think it a brilliant font, as anyone who remembers seeing photographs of the “Flying Scotsman” railway locomotive pre second world war will recall – the lettering was Gill Sans – readable at distance and speed.