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12 Rules of Desktop Publishing From Jacci Bear, http://desktoppub.about.com “Right and wrong do not exist in graphic design. There is only effective and non-effective communication.” — Peter Bilak - Illegibility 1. Use Only One Space After Punctuation Should you put one space or two spaces after a period? The debate over how much space to put between sentences (whether they end with a period or other punctuation) may seem petty, but often it’s the little details that make or break a design. I
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    www.ASLANSolutions.com Page 1 12 Rules of Desktop Publishing From Jacci Bear, http://desktoppub.about.com “Right and wrong do not exist in graphic design. There is only effective and non-effective communication.” — Peter Bilak - Illegibility    1.   Use Only One Space After Punctuation Should you put one space or two spaces after a period? The debate over how much space to put between sentences (whether they end with a period or other punctuation) may seem petty, but often it’s the little details that make or break a design. It is generally accepted that the practice of putting two spaces at the end of a sentence is a carryover from the days of typewriters with monospaced typefaces. Two spaces, it was believed, made it easier to see where one sentence ended and the next began. Most typeset text, both before and after the typewriter, used a single space. Today, with the prevalence of proportionally spaced fonts, some believe that the practice is no longer necessary and even detrimental to the appearance of text. With monospaced typefaces every character takes up the same amount of space on the page. M  uses the same amount of space as i . With proportionally spaced fonts, the characters take up an amount of space relative to their actual width - the i  needs less space than the M . (as illustrated by the graphic in the sidebar) The use of proportionally spaced type makes two spaces at the end of a sentence unnecessary (if they ever were). The extra spacing is often distracting and unattractive. It creates ‘holes’ in the middle of a block of text — trapped white space on a smaller scale. The Bottom line : Professional typesetters, designers, and desktop publishers should use one space only. Save the double spaces for typewriting, email, term papers, or personal correspondence. For everyone else, do whatever makes you feel good. 2.   Don’t Use Double-Hard Returns After Paragraphs With today’s word processors and page layout applications it is possible to precisely control the amount of space between paragraphs. There is no longer a need for the old typewriter style of putting double hard returns  to separate paragraphs (in computer terms that would be the equivalent of using the enter key to add space between lines). With typewriters the only way to increase the space between lines of type was to put two or more hard returns  at the end of a line. Typically, double hard returns  were used at the end of paragraphs to set one paragraph apart from the next. It put a blank space, the equivalent of one line of type, between each paragraph.    www.ASLANSolutions.com Page 2 Desktop publishing software and modern word processors use paragraph formatting to more precisely control spacing between paragraphs. But old habits die hard. One sign of a beginner in desktop publishing is the use of hard returns between paragraphs. Paragraph formatting allows the user to specify an amount of space to be placed before or after a paragraph. With paragraph formatting, spacing can be controlled in smaller increments in order to achieve the best appearance based on the font, leading, and other elements of the design. In the example at the top of the sidebar both columns use the same font size and leading (line spacing). However, the text on the right uses spacing after each paragraph that is slightly less than double hard returns would allow. Additionally, the subheading has a small amount of space added before it, to set that section apart from the preceding text without leaving the excessive empty space found on the left where triple hard returns are used. TIP : Although readability and appearance should be your overriding concerns, using paragraph formatting instead of hard returns can help you fit more text on the page. It’s one way to cheat at copyfitting, if applied consistently throughout a document. The Bottom line : Professional typesetters, designers, and desktop publishers should use paragraph formatting to put space between paragraphs. Save the hard returns for typewriting, email, term papers, personal correspondence, or manuscript submissions that specify typewriter-style formatting. For everyone else, do whatever makes you feel good. 3.   Use Fewer Fonts How many fonts are too many for one project and how do you know where to draw the line? A generally accepted practice is to limit the number of different typefaces to three or four. That doesn’t mean you can’t use more but be sure you have a good reason to do so. Be consistent in the use of fonts. A different font for every headline, for instance, is confusing and can give your design a cluttered look. You can usually get away with more fonts in longer documents with many different design elements where only two to three different fonts appear on any one page spread. Select a font for body copy and another for headlines. Use bold, italics, and different sizes of those fonts for captions, subheadings, decks, and other design elements. Depending on the design you might use a third font for initial caps, pull-quotes, or other selected items. You might add a fourth font for page numbers or as a secondary body font for sidebars, but usually two or three are sufficient. Don’t use more than four fonts in any one publication.  As a general rule, when designing a publication I never use more than four fonts. Realistically, how many do you need? For a newsletter layout, you could use one font for headings, one for body text (which could also be used in italics or bold for captions) and one for subheadings. You may not even need that fourth one. — Stuart Gardoll’s Desktop Publishing Do’s and Don’ts  It is also wise to not make sudden typeface changes within a paragraph. Use the same typeface for body copy, using only bold or italics to add small amounts of emphasis, if necessary. If greater emphasis is required    www.ASLANSolutions.com Page 3 — create a pull-quote, set that copy in the margin, or create a sidebar using a different font to really set the information apart. The Bottom line : No hard and fast rule says you can’t use five, six, or even twenty different fonts in one document. However, consistency and readability are important to good design and too many font changes can distract and confuse the reader. Make your font choices carefully and consider how many typefaces will be seen together — longer, multi-page publications, such as magazines, can often tolerate a greater variety of typefaces. For brochures, ads, and other short documents, limit typefaces to one, two, or three. 4.   Use Ragged-Right or Fully Justified Text Appropriately If someone insists that fully justified text is better than left-aligned text, tell them they are wrong. If someone else tells you that left-aligned text is better than justified text, tell them they are wrong. If they are both wrong, then what’s right? Alignment is only a small piece of the puzzle. What works for one design might be totally inappropriate for another layout. As with all layouts, it depends on the purpose of the piece, the audience and its expectations, the fonts, the margins and white space, and other elements on the page. The most appropriate choice is the alignment that works for that particular design. About Fully-Justified Text      Often considered more formal, less friendly than left-aligned text.    Usually allows for more characters per line, packing more into the same amount of space (than the same text set left-aligned).    May require extra attention to word and character spacing and hyphenation to avoid unsightly rivers of white space running through the text.    May be more familiar to readers in some types of publications, such as books and newspapers.    Some people are naturally drawn to the “neatness” of text that lines up perfectly on the left and right. Traditionally many books, newsletters, and newspapers use full-justification as a means of packing as much information onto the page as possible to cut down on the number of pages needed. While the alignment was chosen out of necessity, it has become so familiar to us that those same types of publications set in left-aligned text would look odd, even unpleasant. You may find that fully-justified text is a necessity either due to space constraints or expectations of the audience. If possible though, try to break up dense blocks of texts with ample subheadings, margins, or graphics. About Left-Aligned Text      Often considered more informal, friendlier that justified text.    The ragged right edge adds an element of white space.    May require extra attention to hyphenation to keep right margin from being too ragged.    Generally type set left-aligned is easier to work with (i.e. requires less time, attention, and tweaking from the designer to make it look good).    www.ASLANSolutions.com Page 4 No matter what alignment you use, remember to pay close attention to hyphenation and word/character spacing as well to insure that your text is as readable as possible. There will undoubtedly be well-meaning friends, business associates, clients, and others who will question your choices. Be prepared to explain why you chose the alignment you did and be prepared to change it (and make necessary adjustments to keep it looking good) if the person with final approval still insists on something different. The Bottom line : There is no right or wrong way to align text. Use the alignment that makes the most sense for the design and that effectively communicates your message. 5.   Use Centered Text Sparingly There is nothing inherently wrong with centered text. As with ragged right or fully-justified text alignment, what works for one design might be totally inappropriate for another layout. There are simply fewer situations where centered text is  appropriate. When in doubt, don’t center it. As with all layouts, alignment depends on the purpose of the piece, the audience and its expectations, the fonts, the margins and white space, and other elements on the page. The most appropriate choice is the alignment that works for that particular design. About Centered Text      Lends a formal appearance to text, which is why it is often used in formal wedding invitations, certificates, and on plaques.    Generally harder to read long lines and multiple paragraphs of centered text.    Works best with fairly short lines and extra leading (space between lines of text).    Centered headlines work best over body text that is fully-justified. Centered text is harder to read because the starting position of each line changes, forcing the reader to work harder to find where each line begins to continue reading. For large blocks of text, try to avoid centered text. Numbered and bulleted lists should almost always be left-aligned as well to aid in quickly scanning the list. Save centering for invitations, greeting cards, and certificates. The Bottom line : There is no right or wrong way to align text. Use the alignment that makes the most sense for the design and that effectively communicates your message. However, for most body copy situations, avoid centered text. 6.   Balance Line Length with Type Size Lines of type that are too long or too short slow down reading and comprehension. Combine the wrong line length with the wrong type size and the problem is magnified. The shorter the line length, the smaller the font should be — allowing more words to the line. The longer the line, the larger the font can be. There is a four-step process that can help determine the best line length.

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Jul 24, 2017
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