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18 Rules for Using Text

18 Rules Using Text for If there's text in your document, follow the rules. pessimistic Every font has a personality. And people like some personalities better than others. So what's the rule here? Know know the font's personality your audience, know your document's purpose, and pick a font that matches your audience's expectations and your document's purpose. Get this rule wrong, and you've ruined the entire document. conservative childish important professional If you use the default font in Word or InDesign, you're telling the world that you didn't know there are any other options. Times New Roman is stale. avojd the. default fonts Calibri is uninteresting. Times New Roman and Calibri aren't bad Minion Pro is lackluster. fonts. They are just overused. Go back to Rule #1 and think about personality. Arial is void of character. Could there be something better than the default? In most cases, the answer is yes. steer clear of Some fonts have gained so much Papyrus is hokey. dichés and uglies popularity that we can consider them clichés-overused and kind of obnoxious. Comic sans is icky. This happens because most computers have many of the same fonts. If you can't find a font on your computer that meets TRAJAN PRO IS GETTING OLD. your document's personality and isn't cliché or ugly, then install a new font. It's Curlz MI isn't as cute as it looks. easy and it can make all the difference. Most documents look better if you use Good Example 4 use tWo fonts See how using two different fonts here makes this paragraph look nice? Two non-conflicting fonts can make a document go from bland to professional. more than one font. But few look good if you use more than three. So what do you need to remember? No matter what the document is, try using two fonts-one font for the headings and another font for the body text. It will make your document Bad Example See how using the same font twice just doesn't have the same appeal as the paragraph above? pop so much more than just using one. This rule applies to all documents, from proposals to résumés to business cards. While it is good to use two fonts, it is Like This contrast 5 fant, families bad to use two fonts that look like each The contrast here between the heading and the text is good. They are clearly other. So pick two fonts that come from different different font families-serifs (like Times New Roman), sans serifs (like Arial), script (anything that looks like handwriting), or decorative. Make sure fonts look very Not Like This Here, the heading is Garamond and the body text is Minion Pro. Yuck. It looks different from each other. like an accident. 9. Because 12-point font was the MS Word default for so long, many of us began 7-point font is okay for business cards. pay attention to size 10-point font is good for reading paragraphs. to think that 12-point is the best size for reading. But our eyes can actually read smaller just fine. 10-point fonts look better in most documents. And you can 12-point is usually a bit ugly for reading paragraphs. even go down to a 7- or 8- point font on a business card. Also, headings should be larger than body text and the most important thing on the document should be the biggest. Big looks important. We read words in shapes. That's how our brain reads so fast. But when we write words in ALL CAPS, the shapes go don't use WHEN WE WRITE WORDS IN ALL CAPS ALL CAPS, THE SHAPES GO AWAY-WORDS ALL TURN INTO away-words all turn into rectangles. So RECTANGLES. SO WHEN YOU when you write out a bunch of words in WRITE OUT A BUNCH OF WORDS all caps, it slows down reading. To the IN ALL CAPS, IT SLOWS DOWN person reading, all caps also looks like you're yelling at them. READING. TO THE PERSON READING, ALL CAPS ALSO LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE YELLING AT THEM. 8 be careful with Reverse type means you put a light color yellow on orange is bad. reverse type of text on a dark background or vice versa. Reverse type is good for headings and titles but not much else. If you use reverse blue on red is really bad. type, be sure to have highly contrasting fancy fonts are hard to read colors, never use blue on red, don't use thick, simple fonts are good fonts with narrow or fancy features, and use fonts with heavy weights. „creatę an ideal Line length refers to the width of a line 9 line length of text on a single line. If a line length is too long, text becomes difficult to read. Line lengths can be long if the font size is ideal line length in large, but if you use a small font size (like, inches say, 10pt), your line length shouldn't be more than about 3.5 inches. Calculate an ideal line length by taking your font size, doubling that number, and creating a line length about that long in picas (there Font Point Size x 2 are six picas in one inch). So, if you have a 12-point font, for example, your line length would be about 24 picas, or four 6 inches. Note that the default in Microsoft Word is 11-point Calibri with 1" margins on an 8-1/2" wide paper. This means the line length is 6-1/2", which is too large. Ost your spacing In this paragraph, the font size is 10pt and the leading is 12pt. It looks a little crowded. If this were Line spacing, also called leading, is 10 the space between lines. Most often, fonts are designed with line spacing slightly larger than their point size (if you have a 10-point font, the default is probably 12-point leading). Typically, copy in a brochure, people wouldn't like to read it as much. that looks crowded with large bodies of In this paragraph, the font size is text. Consider increasing line spacing to 10pt and the leading is 16pt. If this improve readability (but don't increase it too much). copy were in a brochure, people would be much more likely to read it. 11 pay attention to Readability refers to how well large For better readability, 1 readability quantities of text (entire paragraphs) +Use serif and sans serif fonts read. Readability is affected by font size, +Don't use script or decorative fonts font type, leading (space between lines), kerning (space between letters), and line length. +Increase leading a bit +Adjust kerning, if necessary +Use an ideal line length 12 Legibility, as opposed to readability, refers to how well short bursts of text (like watch the ) lity annie a logo or name) reads. For words that are legible because it is (legibility) common important to be understood, legibility is critical. On a résumé, for example, you'll illegible because it is a unique spelling want to use a typeface that is legible for your name. Note that legibility is affected by the actual letters in a word. Sometimes one word will read perfectly fine in a particular font, but another word Jessyka will be difficult to read in the same font. If a name or word is uncommon or spelled uniquely, you won't want to choose a typeface that is difficult to read. an improvement in legibility 13 make correct use of Small caps, like all caps, have a Sara used to work for the FBI, but SMALL CAPS now she works for the NCAA. readability problem when used for large sections of text. However, small caps I woke up at 3:00AM again. should be used for abbreviations so that undue attention isn't drawn to the NCE UPON A TIME IN A LAND Ooh, so far away, there lived abbreviation. Also, use small caps for AM and PM. You can also use small caps for the first line of a new chapter in a book, a monkey... just for visual interest. get rid of Line breaks refer to when a word at See how ugly and utterly tacky the 14) lihe bre- aks the end of a line is broken into two and hyphenated words in this oth- hyphenated to lead the reader to the next erwise wonderfully constructed line. The reality is, line breaks are bad for readability and they are just plain ugly. Adjust your desktop publishing program to get rid of them because they are rarely paragraph look? Avoid the pitfall of making your reader unnec- essarily hang in suspense. Plus, getting rid of the hyphens will a good design choice. remove some of the visual noise. don't leave Orphans refer to single words that All the hippopotamus ever wanted to 15 orphans are left by themselves at the end of a do was ride a skateboard, but it became paragraph. In the word of words, it is especially bad to leave orphans that are particularly little. If a tiny little word ends a paragraph all by itself, reword the sentence to get the little guy back up with his family. obvious that he'd never be able to do it. orphan Highlighting text is an important part of readability and scannability. The general rule, though, is to never highlight know how to Highlight with italics. 16 highlight Highlight with boldface. (and how not to) Highlight with color. more than 10% of a page. If everything is highlighted, nothing becomes highlighted. Also, only use two or three highlighting techniques at once. Don't, in other words, use color, italics, boldface, Highlight with underlining. Highlight with font change. Highlight with SİZe. font change, size, and underlining all at Highlight with multiple techniques. Don't use too many techniques. the same time. çonşider using 17 Old style figures refer to numbers that Sid Style Figures 123456789 Ironically, June was born on July 1, 2014. The cute little thing weighed 7 pounds and was 19 inches long. old style figures look better are written with elements that go above and below the baseline (the imaginary line upon which text sits), just like letters. Often, if you use old style figures, numbers tronically, June was born on July 1, 2014. The cute little thing weighed 7 pounds and was 19 inches long. will blend in better with the text. understand your, Punctuation has a powerful visual 18) punctuation! impact. While you should know how to use all fifteen punctuation marks we use in English, you should also know that you can break the rules with them. Consider Coca-Cola Enjoy how Coca-Cola used the period after fragments to make its message more pithy (and interesting). Use punctuation to break up sentences, offer personality and asides, develop personality, and It's the real thing. Coke. create interest. Sources The Non-Designer's Type Book. Robin Williams. Peachpit Press. 2008. Universal Principles of Design. Lidwell, Holden, & Butler. Rockport. 2010. How to Design Cool Stuff. John McWade. Peachpit Press. 2010. TheVisualCommunicationGuy.com | 2014

18 Rules for Using Text

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When you write, do you you just follow the defaults? Or are you taking the time to adjust fonts, spacing, and line length? Knowing how to make your content look professional is often just a matter of ...

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