How to choose the font type for your dissertation?

It’s time for the design: your texts are finished and have been approved by your reading committee. One of the most important elements of a good layout is the font type. How do you choose a suitable font type for your manuscript? In this article, we will give you some tips and tricks!

Appearance of the font

The first thing to keep in mind when choosing a font type, is the general appearance/feeling you would like your thesis to have. Are you going for a modern appearance or would you like a more classical style? We’d like to refer you to see some examples of different styles of design. Once you have made your decision regarding the appearance of your dissertation, you are ready to choose a font type that matches this style. If you have an example that you like that’s not from our website, your designer with us can always check if we know what font it is.

Modern font

If you want a more modern feel to your thesis, we recommend you opt for a sans serif font type. This means no serifs have been placed on the letters. More specifically, this results in letters without any thin dashes on the ends of the vertical and horizontal beams of a letter.

Some sans serif font types that are often used are:

Classic font

For a more classic appearance, we recommend you go for a font type that does have serifs. These font types will give your dissertation a classic appearance, comparable to older scientific publications and novels.

Popular serif font types that can be found in theses more often are:


Now you have decided whether you would like a font type with or without serifs, you are ready to go through enormous lists of possibilities. We would have liked to give you some more tips and guidelines, however that is not possible anymore. The choice for a certain font type is very personal and totally depends on your taste. We do have some last points of attentions that might help you in finding the perfect font type for your dissertation.

  • How many variants does the font type have?

Most font types have many variants like italic, bold, light (a slim version) etc. This number of variants is important for your designer, because this will offer more possibilities in designing the lay-out. Almost every thesis has bolds and italics, so they’re often also simply necessary in the design. Therefore, we recommend you to always choose a font type with several variants; or at least one with ‘regular’, ‘italic’ and ‘bold’.

  • Is it a free font or are you required to pay for a license?

Perhaps you already knew this, but fonts can be really expensive. Every variant of a certain font type could come at additional costs between ten and hundred euros. Therefore, please ask us if we already have your desired font type in our database. This could save you a lot of money!

  • Already have a nice font in your Word-file?

If you are used to working with a specific font type – especially if you’ve written your thesis in it for several years – you will probably be very accustomed with the way it looks. Because of your habituation with this specific font type, it might be that you will disapprove of other font types without good consideration. Many doctoral students opt for Calibri because they’ve got accustomed to it, even though this font was originally designed for good screen readability (for example in Word) and not for print specifically. But because it’s so familiar, it’s a very popular choice for doctoral students’ theses.

Are you not yet sure which font would suit your thesis, to make sure the readability and design are the best they can be? Don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re happy to think along with you. Sometimes the best font depends on the content, tables or data in your thesis, so we can always advise you personally.

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