7 Typography Mistakes You Can Easily Eliminate
4. Space Between Lines or Leading
Linespacing or leading can dramatically help improve the readability of large copy blocks. Readers can follow lines of copy more easily without losing their place with the right amount of linespacing. Too little will make it feel cramped, too much can make fall apart.
Font choice can also make big difference here as well. Because of this, there’s no set formula for the “right” spacing — each font will read differently due to varying heights in letterforms and font weights. This means you’ll need to pay attention to the linespacing while keeping readability and look in mind.
5. Letter Spacing or Tracking
Like linespacing, letterspacing or tracking can also make your copy easier or harder to read. We read type not only by its shape, but also by the space around it or its negative space. If this space is too tight or too loose, it’ll make your copy more difficult to read.
6. Line Length
This is an area where many people do not pay enough attention. It happens quite a bit with websites. Long lines of type can cause eye fatigue for your readers because they need to work harder to follow the long line across the page. They’re forced to physically move their head and eyes more going from line to line.
The general rule of thumb: keep lines of text under 50 to 60 characters long. Ever notice how legal copy is always set in very wide line lengths — I wonder if they really don’t want us to read this copy.
7. Orphans and Widows
No I’m not talking about children without parent or wives without husbands. I’m referring to the typographic use of these two words.
Widows are usually one word, part of a hyphenated word, or depending on the line lengths, a couple of words at the end of a paragraph on their own line. A widow leaves too much white space between paragraphs, can interrupt the flow of copy and is considered poor typography.
Orphans are also one word, part of a hyphenated word, or words at the end of a paragraph on their own line except it appears at the beginning of the next column or a page. This creates an awkward white space at the top of a column or page and is also considered poor typography.
Don't Be an "Inferior Type"
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the typographic errors made everyday. With the advent of programs like Quark, InDesign and Word, we started to do our own typesetting and began the slow death of the typographer. Too bad, perhaps. But that doesn’t mean you still can't be the "superior type." Just take the time to review for these simple type mistakes that you can easily fix.
Patrick Fultz is the President/CCO of DM Creative Group, a creative marketing firm producing work across all media. He’s an art-side creative, marketing strategist, designer and lover of all things type. His credentials include a degree from Parsons School of Design with 15 years of teaching at his alma mater, over 40 industry creative awards, and he previously served as President of the John Caples International Awards. Always an innovator, Fultz was credited with creating the first 4-color variable data direct mail piece ever produced. He continues to look for innovative ways to tap the powerful synergy of direct mail, the web, digital and social media.