Chapter: Typographic Rules

Glossary of Typograhic Rules

name of your book, your name University of Kansas, 2023

(Colophon: Add to the beginning or end of the book.)
Designed by Your Name. Class project for Typographic Systems at the University of Kansas, 2023. The text was compiled from the following sources: Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst, Getting it Right with Type: the Do's and Don'ts of Typography by Victoria Square, Mac is Not A Typewriter by Robin Williams. This book is not to be sold to the public and to only be used by the designer for their reference and student design portfolio.

All the content below must be in your workbook. However you can organize it in any way you want. Each section can be a chapter or you can organize the content into groups and those become chapters.


01 rules check sheet
02 glossary of typographic rules

03 special characters
04 column width and hyphenation
05 hyphens and dashes  
06 quotes and apostrophes
07 kerning

08 figures and tabular tables
09 justification, letterspacing, word spacing
10 paragraph breaks

11 anatomy of type
12 typographic color
13 font classifications
14 glossary of terms (optional)

02. Glossary of Typograhic Rules
︎︎︎notes to the designer. when designing this section develop an interesting way to show the list, do you show examples? how much text do you have on a page? are some more important than others -- could they be larger or in color or treated a different way? you can use as many or as few pages for this section.

1. Insert only a single space after all punctuation
Inserting two spaces after a period was common when using a typewriter. Monospace typefaces were designed to occupy the same amount of space no matter the width of the character. Therefore, two spaces were needed to identify the end of a sentence and the beginning of another sentence. With the introduction of the Mac and digital type, characters are designed proportionately, which allows for the correct practice of using one space after all punctuation.

2. Use proper ‘em’ dashes, ‘en’ dashes, and hyphens 
An em is a unit of measure equal to the point size that you are using. An em dash is a type of punctuation used to offset clauses in a sentence or to indicate an abrupt change in thought. An en dash is equal to half the length of an em dash. En dashes are used to denote duration (time.)

3. Use proper quote and apostrophe marks
Use true quotation marks and apostrophes instead of using inch marks and feet marks. Place all punctuations inside the quotation marks.

4. Use true small caps
When setting text that contains acronyms, select a typeface with small caps as a family. Selecting small caps from the style menus is a poor choice because the compute reduces the overall size of the type by 80%. This changes the stroke weight and the feel of the font. Expert sets in the Adobe Type Library have small caps options.

5. Add letter spacing to capitalized text and small caps
Letterspacing is the amount of space between characters in a word. Some software programs caller letterspacing tracking. Use positive number values (to about 2 or 3) to open up letterspacing to capitalized text and small caps, except when periods are used between characters.

6. Use old style figures when appropriate
Old style figures, also known as non-lining figures do not line up on the baseline as regular or lining numerals do. They can be found in various fonts. If the body text has a significant amount of numbers, research a font family where they are included. If non-lining numerals are not available, use a slightly smaller point size for the lining numbers. Think of lining numbers as upper case numbers and non-lining numbers as lower case numbers.

7. Use caps properly
With options given to you by almost any type family (bold, point size, etc) you will seldom need to use all caps to draw attention to your text. Not all typefaces are legible when set in all caps; esp. true for script and decorative typefaces. Short headlines may be the once exception to this rule.

8. Use copyright, register, and trademark marks properly
The copyright, register, and trademark characters need to be reduced to work with body text. At times, depending on the typeface, you may need to reduce the mark between 50% and 70%. The goal is to match the x-height. The copyright mark should be approximately 70% of the surrounding text. Unlike the ™ symbol, the © should NOT be superscripted and should remain on the baseline. ™ is usually superscripted for the chosen font. ™ and ® are normally set higher then other marks. If you choose to superscript ®, reduce it to about 60% of the size.

9. Ellipsis Character
Use the ellipsis character and NOT three periods. You can access the ellipsis by typing Option + : (colon). Allow a small amount of space before and after. However if it is not crowding the text, leave no space at all. 10. Avoid underlined text This was useful back in the days of the typewriter to draw attention to the text. With digital type and their families, you should not need to use underlined text.

10. Increase line spacing to improve readability in body text
Line spacing (aka leading) refers to the space between lines of text. It is important for readability and appearance. Leading is measured from baseline to baseline. As a rule of thumb, allow leading that is 120% of the point size. For sans serif, you may need 130% or more. When setting headlines, solid leading (leading = point size, 12/12) or negative leading (leading =< point size, 12/10) may be appropriate.

11. Body copy size
Body text is set anywhere from 9-12 points. When you print text, it is usually larger than what it looked like on the screen. So, print out your text before finalizing your layout. Type studies will help you determine the proper size before you proceed with your layout.

12. Altering fonts
Don’t alter the original typeface by stretching or condensing the letters improperly. Certain type families provide you with a lot of flexibility, so you should not need to destroy/alter text.

13. Legibility of fonts
Sans serif typefaces work well for headlines and to set text that is aligned to vertical/horizontal lines. Certain sans serif typefaces which are not very geometrical work well for body copy (i.e. Frutiger, Meta, Scala Sans, etc.)

14. Decrease line length and increase margins
Line length is a measure of text on one line. Any measure between 45 and 75 characters is comfortable for single column widths. The ideal measure for body text length is 66 characters (counting both letters, punctuation, and spaces.) For multiple columns, a measure between 40 and 50 characters is ideal.

15. Avoid letterspacing lowercase body copy
Don’t letterspace body copy as it really hampers legibility. Use letterspacing when working with caps. small caps, numbers and display text where looser type spacing may increase legibility.

16. Word spacing should be fairly close
For text meant for extended reading, the amount of space between words in a paragraph should be fairly close–about the width of a lowercase “i.” If the word spacing is too close, it appears as one giant word and legibility is decreased. Keep the spaces between words fairly thin, consistent and even!

17. Ideal column width
For single-column pages, 4.25 inches is ideal. For two-column width, columns can be as narrow as 2 inches. Turning on the hyphenation feature can improve word spacing.

18. Justification of text
Justification can be appropriate in certain places. However, it can create certain problems such as rivers and word spacing. Adjusting size of margins, decreasing body copy size, turning on auto hyphenation and manually hyphenating the text are all examples of possible solutions.

19. Choose the alignment that fits
Make sure the alignment chosen for all areas of text are legible and consistent with the design and guidelines. Left-aligned text is easier to read and set. Justified text is harder to set w/o inevitable word spacing problems. Right-aligned and centered are generally not used for body copy.

20. Rules of hyphenation
Don’t rely on the software to judge where hyphens should be placed. At the end of lines, leave at least two characters behind and take at least three forward. For example, “ele-gantly” is acceptable, but “elegant-ly” is not because it takes too little of the word to the next line. Avoid leaving the stub end of a hyphenated word or any word shorter then four letters as the last line of a paragraph. Avoid more then 3 consecutive hyphenated lines. Avoid hyphenating or breaking proper names and titles. Creating a non-breaking space before and after the name will ensure that the name will not break.

21. Avoid beginning three consecutive lines with the same word
Since software programs deal with line breaks automatically based upon a number of variables, it is possible to have paragraphs with consecutive lines beginning with the same word. When this happens simply adjust the text to avoid/fix the problem.

22. Always spell check!
Once you are finished with your design, spell check the text using both of the following: a. Use spell=check option that comes with the software you are using for the project. b. Print the document and read it. The monitor and design of the document will make text look perfect when it may not be. Even if text is given to you by a client, check it. Never ever assume that it is correct. Keep a dictionary close as well.

23. Avoid widows and orphans
Widows are either single words alone on a line or single sentences alone on a new page. Orphans are single lines of copy alone at the end of a page.

24. Kerning in headlines
Adjust the space between two particular letters to allow for more consistent negative space.

25. Indents
In continuous text, mark all paragraphs after the first with an indent of at least one “em” (3 spaces). Do NOT use three spaces but rather use the tabs or indents option in your software.