Archive for the ‘Typography’ Category

Why Oh Why… Do Some People Still Use Double Spaces After a Period?!

November 9, 2009

The double spaces after a period argument has been debated ad nauseum, just do a quick search and you’ll see. Even the “experts” disagree on this topic. Which is why, as someone who grew up using typewriters and the first word-processors, and as both a grammar/punctuation fanatic and a professional designer and business owner, I’m here to clear it up!

Back when typewriters were the only alternative to hand-written pages, type was mono spaced. This means that every key took up the same amount of space, whether it was an “i” or an “m.” It sometimes made it difficult to visually determine a pause in a sentence, which is indicated by a comma, from the end of a sentence, indicated with a period. It also meant that sometimes there were larger and smaller spaces between letters. So, for no other reason than to improve visual readability, it became common practice to use two spaces after a period when using a typewriter. The space following all other punctuation was still a single-space.

offset_printingIt’s important to note here, that in offset printing, no double spaces were used. Older printing was “set” using individual letter blocks that were set one-by-one in a press. These letter blocks already accommodated for the differences in the width of letters and appropriate spacing after punctuation, so no double-spacing was required. The double spacing was solely for the purpose of legibility on typewriters. Additionally, having a single space shortened the overall text, and decreased printing and paper costs. Some say this also lead to the adoption of single-spacing.

Along came the first word-processors. Some of which were glorified typewriters with some automated functionality, but they quickly evolved into something that closely resembles the word processing we use today. And here’s why that’s important – word processors and the computers we use today have proportional type. Proportional type means that the computer font already accounts for both the width of each individual letter, and the appropriate visual spacing after punctuation. So there is no longer any need to add that old-fashioned double space. In fact, because it is already accounted for, adding a double space is adding much more space than is visually necessary and creates visual “rivers” through a block of type. (more…)

How to :: NOT use a font

April 7, 2009

Email blast design is just like every other technology — dangerous in the hands of those who don’t know how to use it. Here on Long Island there’s a wonderful organization called the LIA. However, the email blasts they send are less than wonderful. In fact, they’re simply awful.

We can forgive the cheesy headline, the many fonts used throughout, even the squished photo. What we can not excuse is the use of an all caps, italic, calligraphic font!

Why oh why? How does anyone think all caps, calligraphic font use looks good?

Why oh why? How does anyone think all caps, calligraphic font use looks good?

If you read our blog, you already know my position on Zapf Chancery. Well Monotype Corsiva is similarly abused. It’s just less accessible to everyday computer users. But the same rule applies: Just. Don’t. Use. It. However, if your font choices are limited, and you simply MUST use a “fancy” font, and the only font that will do is Monotype Corsiva, please, please, please, (for the sake of all our senses), don’t use it in all caps, or even with initial caps. It just wasn’t designed to work that way and it’s painful to look at.

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More font madness :: are these the 7 worst fonts?

March 24, 2009

On LMNOP’s blog, there is a post that is near and dear to my heart. It’s called America’s Most Fonted: The 7 Worst Fonts. Check out the link for their top 7 picks. I have to point out tho, that they missed my top pick: Zapf Chancery!

And after my post about the disaster that is Zapf Chancery, all kind of other disastrous fonts came to mind, like Tekton, Dom Casual, and Papyrus. (Unless you are an architect, and you are working in AutoCAD, and you are adding text to your blueprints, you should never, ever, ever use Tekton.)

And then when I wondered if this was perhaps too harsh, I found this post as well, Are We Being too Mean to Bad Fonts? Perhaps we are. The truth is we love type! Maybe too much. It’s not malicious. It’s just the experienced, critical eye of a designer slash typophile tirelessly searching for meaningful design.