I'm recently re-doing a couple of company forms. These used to be just regular PDFs, which would have to be printed and then filled out.

With the move to a more paper-less office environment, I was tasked with making them state of the art, which includes making them editable, Since the originals were done with vector graphing programs, and not all made by the same person (and pre-dating company paperwork style guidelines), they're not all alike when it comes to style, and especially - typography.

I have a "standard set" of typefaces, encompassing around 400 typefaces, most of them designed for screen reading.

My standard go-to font when creating forms is Akzidenz Grotesk. This is a rather classic sans serif font, which I feel makes the best printed forms. Now that these are supposed to be mainly edited on-screen and then saved and archived digitally, I'm not so sure anymore. I have a condensed version of Ak.Gr. which may or may not be better for this.

Of course my almost immediate thinking is Helvetica Neue. But I see it everywhere, and I'm not even entirely sure if it's the best choice for this use-case.

My requirements are: Not too outlandish, and should be a grotesque font, no serifs, etc. Should be easy to read at smaller sizes. The text written in this typeface, won't be long, usually three to five lines at most, rarely more than that. Quite often each line will be on its own at the top of a text field or similar.

  • Are editable PDF's state of the art? Perhaps more state of the art would be to use webpages
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:17
  • @joojaa - They can be if you take them to the max including digital signatures, distribution control, even government spec etc. It's pretty dry stuff! Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:19
  • Whatever you choose, ensure that you have the proper license to embed the font into the PDF forms you produce for distribution.
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 6, 2017 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


I've made many a form (interactive, and generally with LiveCycle) and Univers has never let me down. It has an incredible variety of weights, maintains legibility at very small sizes and has very tight compression.

  • Univers is actually a really good tip. I'm also thinking about FF Meta and Thesis (TheSans), as well as Frutiger. The problem is: they don't look right in small sizes. Vectora is a contender, though, I'll do a couple prints with Univers, though.
    – polemon
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 8:56
  • Glad I could help Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 10:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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