Typography

29 June 2008

The graphic design students who have joined our work experience programme so far have been taught little or no typography. This seems extraordinary, so Phil has written down some basic principles. Students are now being asked to design and set this text, and then print it on the proofing press. Here is what it says:

Six guidelines for good typography

The most important function of typography is to make the author’s message as clear and easy to read as possible. These guidelines will help.

Serifs help the eye move along the line, so serifed type is generally easier to read than sans serif.

Word spaces should be as small as possible, usually a thin, and visually even.

Word spaces should be reduced to accommodate sloping characters like W and Y.

There should be 10-12 words per line for optimum legibility. 

The visual space between lines should be greater than the visual space between words.

Words set in CAPITALS should be letterspaced for visual evenness.

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2 Responses to “Typography”

  1. Sam Neal Says:

    The meaning of the below statement may seem obvious to typographers, but it doesn’t read well in plain English. You do mean that word spaces should be about the width of a small comma, right?

    > Word spaces should be as small as possible, usually a thin, and visually even.

  2. Phil Abel Says:

    In each size of type spaces are named as follows:
    Em: a square of the size of the body of the type, e.g. a twelve point em measures 12 x 12 point.
    En: half an em
    Thick: one third of an em
    Mid: one quarter of an em
    Thin: one fifth of an em

    Apologies for not making this clear in the first place.


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