I wanted to reproduce (or get something close to) the style the Foreign Affairs magazine uses (link to a sample article below) using fontspec and XeLaTeX. Right off the bat I don't know what their font size, indent and line spacing are, any idea how one can get these numbers from a .pdf?

Link to pdf file of one of their articles: http://pagines.uab.cat/jbacaria/sites/pagines.uab.cat.jbacaria/files/16_Schwab_pp104_117_Blues.pdf

Their font size is definitely higher than 12pt but I don't know what it exactly can be, I do like the bracketed page numbers too but then again I don't know how to configure that.

  • The font looks Garamondesque, the page dims are 7in*10in, my guess for body font size is 14bp with 16bp leading. Typeblock width is somewhere around 30pc. – morbusg Mar 16 '13 at 8:18
  • 3
    The font is Caslon. It strikes me that the best approach would be to take exactly one page of text from the document and fiddle with the horizontal and vertical of the typeblock until it holds the text exactly as it does in the article. – D.S. Mar 16 '13 at 11:01

The body typeface is Caslon. The font comes from Adobe; it's Carol Twombly's rendition of Caslon, customized by Adobe for FA. For the headings, they're using FontBureau's Big Caslon, which I think comes with OS X. The lengths you're looking for you can measure pretty easily using a graphics tool of your choice (Inkscape, for example, should do I guess). Here's what Acrobat says:

  • leading: 15.5pt
  • par indent: 14.5pt
  • x-height: 6pt
  • cap height: 10pt
  • desc height: 3.6pt
  • measure: 128mm

that said, FA's typography, while it certainly goes well with their politics, isn't something I'd consider worth imitating. Okay, it is decent, overall, and imitating something like this might be a good idea to get familiar with the basics of classical book typography. But, there's room for improvement: There's better digital renditions of Caslon around (none of them comes close to the metal ones, though). There's too much going on in the footer. And a typeface with capitals that high certainly needs some more leading IMHO.

PS, the footer:


\cehead{\normalfont\emph{John Doe}}
\cohead{\normalfont\emph{Lorem Ipsum}}
\cfoot{\textsc{foreign affairs} · \emph{May/June 2013}}


you'll have a much harder time reproducing those little display boxes that appear on every other page; plus you won't be able to give the small capitals the proper spacing they require (even using microtype); and of course, it'll be a hell of a job to make your text stay in sync with the baseline grid (unless you're using ConTeXt). Just to give you an idea of the problems you'll run into further down the road. That's when you may start considering using a proper DTP application for this job, like they've done ;)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.