I'm not sure, if I read about this topic here on TeX.SX, but I read, that using the mathdesign package is discouraged.

I guess this is due to suboptimal spacing of the fonts. I created a sample figure, above is a snippet from the mathdesign manual, below the same formula typeset with Computer Modern.

enter image description here

I think that the spacing around the parenthesis and the binary operators is not as good as with Computer Modern.

Can someone summarize the pros and cons of the mathdesign package?

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    Are you thinking of the discussion of texlive’s failure to hold the mathdesign doings for non-free fonts? (I don’t recall any other issues being raised. I’ve not used any of the fonts, myself.) – wasteofspace Sep 19 '13 at 14:17
  • mathdesign is released under the terms of GPLv2, so that is not the problem. I added some sample output, to clarify my question. – Henri Menke Sep 19 '13 at 15:35
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    One argument for not using it could be that it is not very plesent to read text in that font. (At least I do not think so.) – Svend Tveskæg Sep 19 '13 at 15:41
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    What I know is that mathdesign's author is working on a new version, with new math fonts. – egreg Sep 19 '13 at 16:22
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    I'm interested in an answer too. Here it says they are defective but I don't see why. – marczellm Sep 21 '13 at 19:15

It's not really a matter of pros and cons. Like a lot of other font packages, mathdesign offers an alternative design for your document. Pros and cons depends on what type of document you want to produce.

With mathdesign fonts, the formulas will be more compact : There is less space around the operators, and the symbols are (most of the time) tinier than in Computer Modern.

But that is not specific to Mathdesign. Most of the recent fonts are in fact tighter than Computer Modern (which is, btw, especially loose).

If you want to use another font than Computer Modern, it is also important to verify that the new font covers all the symbols you need. Mathdesign are quite good at that (all the AMS symbols are present), but other fonts are good too.

If it's important for you to save space, then I suggest you use another font than Computer Modern. Of course, my favorite "other" fonts are Mathdesign, but many of the most recent are very good!

If legibility is you main concern, then CM is a very good choice, since everybody knows it well.

I suggest you look at some comparisons somewhere on the web (for example http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/) and do you own test.

Conclusion: mathdesign's spacing is not bad, it is just tighter than other fonts spacings.

  • Which tight font with math support (many symbols) could you recommend? – Dr. Manuel Kuehner Oct 2 '13 at 12:23
  • Mathdesign charter is my favorite... of course! ;-) – Paul Pichaureau Oct 4 '13 at 15:48

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