I was given a rather excellent little book by Enric Jardi with some basic hints on typography, split into 22 tips and 22 things you should never do. The general gist of it is that these are good rules for beginners, which can be broken when you know what you’re doing. As someone who has been dabbling with graphic design since first discovering this thing called the internet, it was a really interesting read.
So, here are the top five hints that I found most interesting:
Do not choose two typefaces that look too much alike
Unless they are very different, you do not need two typefaces. Using typefaces that are too similar is like wearing a sienna sweater and beige pants.
Do not make lines too long or too short
If you want a column that can be read easily, make sure it has about 65 spaces….never less than 35 spaces and never more that 75…when we are talking about spaces, we are talking about characters, punctuation, and spaces between words.
Do not leave words hanging
And avoid widows and orphans. Widows are lines of text that are at the end of a paragraph but the first in a new column. Orphans are lines of text which appear at the end of a column but are the start of a new paragraph that continues in a new column.
If they let you, range left
As a rule, make left-aligned, unjustified columns. If you have to, hyphenate words. To set justified paragraphs, you have to make the spaces between words and letters larger or smaller; there is no other way to go about it.
If you can use the original font, why use a copy? On the computers of today, a paradigmatic example is Arial…a substitute for the great classic Helvetica. If you want your pieces to have a distinctly professional aspect, avoid these fonts. (See Mark Simonson’s article “The Scourge of Arial”)
It makes me want to rethink all my web design stuff… and stop using Arial.
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