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May 9, 2012 / becca shayne

more typographical advice

So it turns out that was page two. I found page one! Here is the rest of Doug’s typography advice. (I was wondering why he left em and en dashes out). Again, my thoughts are added in italic.

when reversing type (white type on a color) consider a slightly bolder (semibold) weight, and also slightly letterspace.

in ragged text setting, make a pleasing rag without large, odd negative shapes; consider alternating long and short lines, that are not too regular, also use minimal hyphenation. avoid more than three hyphenated lines in a row.

re-rag or edit text to avoid widows and orphans.

in justified setting, in the paragraph window [of inDesign], under ‘justification,’ change the word spacing parameters to: minimum 75%, desired 93%, maximum 105%, this will give you much tighter spacing. adjust as needed. avoid rivers.

hyphens are for word breaks and compound hyphenated words. check The Chicago Manual of Style for other uses.

en dashes are for connecting numbers and words to show duration/to, such as 1947–2012, or Paris–London train. [option+dash on a Mac] it can also be used to set off a phrase (British usage) in a sentence with a space on either side. see The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst and The Chicago Manual of Style for other uses.

em dashes [shift+option+dash] can be used to set off a phrase (American usage). see The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst and The Chicago Manual of Style for other uses.

both em and en dashes benefit from using thin or hair spaces on both sides. adjust depending on the natural space around the letter or numbers on either side. (such as a 1 vs a 0). White spaces are in the type menu, at the bottom, below insert special character.

use the baseline shift to raise or lower dashes, slashes, parentheses, brackets, etc. to be optically centered around the type instead of on the same baseline.

kern letters that seem too far apart visually. letters such as Y, W, T, V often need a bit of kerning. display setting of titles and headlines always need kerning. also kern around dashes, punctuation, parentheses, and roman–italic shifts, bold–regular, two contrasting types, etc. you can’t always rely on the automatic settings, especially if the type is really big.

in display settings, avoid unnecessary punctuation. consider breaking the lines by sense, try to keep prepositional phrases together.

consider hanging quotation marks and other punctuation marks outside the column. you can do this by checking ‘optical margin alignment’ under ‘story’ in the type window or adding aspace before the mark and change the kerning to a negative amount until it looks right.

when setting paragraphs, be consistent. it is usually unnecessary to indent the first paragraph unless there is an overriding form reason.

always make sure everything is spelled correctly. my friend didn’t find his typo in the “dadication” until the book was printed and bound. (sorry Alex! yours was still the best book in the class! and English isn’t your first language)

I recommend using points and picas as a measurement preference. as opposed to inches or the metric system

well there you have it. A small piece of wisdom from Doug Scott. By the way, I recommend you purchase those two books that are linked. You’ll use them the rest of your life because some typographical rules just won’t change. That’s all for now. Hope you learned something today!

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