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Type Pitfalls Head

KernProse's Common Typographic Pitfalls

The advent of the Macintosh has put tools that were previously unheard of into everyone's hands. In many ways this has brought about a type of a renaissance, creatively; tools, which were once the domain of an elite, trained, few are now available to anyone who can afford a computer. For this reason, more than ever before, the typesetter needs to be aware of principle that will help them avoid the most common typographic pitfalls.

However, good layout and design is more than simply being able to move elements around on a page, adding decorative blends and throwing in every imaginable font. Good typography never was, and still isn't an accident.
Excellent typography isn't self-serving; it's goal is to produce documents that aid readability. Ignoring guidelines that have been developed over the years by professional typographers, will proove to be one of those typographic pitfalls that can result in a document that is not only less attractive but also less readable than intended.

LINE LENGTH One of the, perhaps more surprising detractors of readability is line length. The rule of thumb is that the line of set type should not be longer than 11/2 the size of the cap-set alphabet in that font. For example if you were to set the full cap alphabet of Century Schoolbook in 18 point type, and it sets to 5.25" wide, then the maximum line of set type should be approximately 7.875". Keep in mind that these are only guidelines and that "Creative License" really allows for violation of any “rules”

Headline Font:
Attempt to choose the typeface that matches the message. While admittedly a bit subjective, attempt to “feel” the mood of the face your choosing. For example many san-serif fonts lend themselves to more corporate messages, while serif fonts can tend to be “warmer”.

Body Font:
Most body type should be in a regular, or “Roman” font. Too much bold or italic — except when used as a specific design convention — can dilute their purpose.

CAP USAGE All Display is no display. Be careful about setting large amounts of type in all caps in order to create emphasis — you may end up with no emphasis at all.

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