Atypical text and math fonts for presentations

Now-a-days, almost everyone uses beamer for presentations (at least, the math heavy presentations that I tend see at conferences). Beamer is great; it provides a variety of styles, and all of them look professional. However, all of them use the same boring font — Computer Modern Sans Serif.

I want my presentations to look different. So, I have been looking at math fonts that look good for presentations. Stephen Harke has an excellent survey of free math fonts for TeX. Over time, I have cycled through most of them for my presentations and they were getting boring. So, I started looking for non-standard combinations.

The new TeX engines, XeTeX and luaTeX, make it easy to use OpenType fonts, giving rise to new options to try. Here are two combinations that I like.

GFS Artemisia with Euler

Euler by Hermann Zapf is one of the most elegant math fonts. It was designed to resemble the handwriting of a mathematician. Zapf created Euler to match the Concrete font which was used by Knuth in his book Concrete Mathematics. Although Concrete is a pleasant looking font, I find it too typewriterish for presentations. Euler also matches with two other excellent fonts, Palatino and Charter. But, for presentations I find both of them to be a bit too formal. A font that matches Euler in character without looking too formal or too arcane is GFS Artemisia. Here is how they look together.

Artemisia with Euler

Artemisia with Euler

In ConTeXt, the typescripts module by Wolfgang Schuster provides support for Artemisia (among many other fonts). Using that, the typescript for using Artemisia with Euler is really simple




\definetypeface   [mainface][rm][serif][artemisia]    [default]

\definetypeface   [mainface][ss][sans] [modern]       [default]

\definetypeface   [mainface][mm][math] [euler]        [default]   [text=rm]

\definetypeface   [mainface][tt][mono] [modern-vari]  [default]




The above image was generated by using ConTeXt MkII with XeTeX engine. Euler does not work with the current version of ConTeXt MkIV as ConTeXt MkIV does not contain a virtual font for Euler. I plan to get a working solution for Euler in MkIV soon.

Delicious with Cambria Math

Delicious by Jos Buivenga is a nice looking Sans Serif font. The slight zig-zag shape makes it look a bit informal, but not amateur. And it works surprising well with Cambria. Cambria is not free, but comes with Windows Vista and Microsoft Office. Here is how they look together.

Delicious with Cambria

Delicious with Cambria

Cambria is an OpenType Math font can only be used with luaTeX engine. ConTeXt comes with a typescript for Cambria, and Wolfgang’s typescript module provides support for Delicious. Here is the typescript for using Delicious with Cambria.




\definetypeface   [mainface][rm][serif][modern]       [default]

\definetypeface   [mainface][ss][sans] [delicious]    [default]

\definetypeface   [mainface][mm][math] [cambria]      [default, text=ss]

\definetypeface   [mainface][tt][mono] [modern-vari]  [default]




(Footnote: The integral sign in Cambria looks funny. This is because OpenType math specification does not fit with the TeX model completely. See this thread for details.)


One thought on “Atypical text and math fonts for presentations

  1. I’m a high school math teacher looking for a different font to use in my presentations: currently using Comic Sans for everything and SICK of it!

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