Typography is defined as:

  • The art or process of setting and arranging types and printing from them.

The style and appearance of printed matter. So you’re an “out-of-the-box thinker?” Learn to look beyond the shape, design and juxtaposition of typography on a page. Typography and font usage is so much more than just that. Find the order in creativity.

Here’s some information on typography/type setting and some common grammatical mistakes you’ll want to look for in your company’s designed materials and particularly in publication design (magazines, articles, annual reports).

  • When you have columns of information, you’ll want to use serifed fonts.(Times New Roman, Garamond, Palatino are some examples of serifed fonts.) These are the fonts that carry little squiggles (for lack of a better descriptor) darting from the tops and bottoms of letters. The reason is that the serifs provide a break in the white spaces between the lines of text, AKA “leading.” If you insist on using sans-serif fonts (fonts without squiggles) like Arial, Verdana, Georgia, for publication design make sure there is extra leading space so the readers’ eyes are given time to adjust.
  • Keep your columns to 12-14 words or about 45 characters in width.This will also prevent “tired eyes.” If a reader’s eyes have to work too hard to get to the end of a line of text, they are more likely to stop reading.
  • Break your text and columns up using block quotes — again to prevent tired eyes.Enlarge the fonts and put it between columns to add visual interest.
  • Hyphens, En Dashes and Em Dashes*Hyphens are typically used when indicating a phone number. Ex: 847-991-2766.*En dashes (half the length of an Em dash) are typically used to separate dates.*Em dashes are the length of an “m” and are used when expressing a quick change of thought.
    Ex: Em dashes are frequently used to indicate a change of thought — or addition of a new thought — like this.
  • Elipses Elipses indicate missing text. Ex: It was an incredibly interesting story…and when ending a sentence, an extra period should be used….
    These are only a few of the many, many type-setting rules to follow in creating excellent publication design. If your designer implements these and creates interesting page design, I guarantee the odds of your articles being read — and passed on — will drastically increase. A designer with both left and right-brained talents will make all the difference; and if your designer isn’t familiar with these notes, I encourage you to find an editor who is.I hope this is helpful! If you have anything to add — or a question to ask — I’d love to hear it!

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November 4, 2012

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