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Spacing Considerations

Lesson 6 from: Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning and Finessing

Ilene Strizver

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Lesson Info

6. Spacing Considerations

Next Lesson: Advanced Spacing

Lesson Info

Spacing Considerations

We're getting down to the line on some of this very detailed information. Um, I hope you're all finding it, um, useful you're learning things you didn't even know existed things you didn't even know you should be looking for and that's going to continue. So now we're going to talk about a few remaining issues related to spacing, okay, one of them is word spacing or the spacing between the words in type. Ah, and we're starting off looking a text. Ah lot of designers don't think that this is even an issue, because basically, when you user purchase of font, it comes with the built in words spacing, okay, so you would think I, y o do I even have to be concerned about that? The way the spacing has done? Is it's actually a character in the digital data and the designer, the type designer, adjust that spacing, hopefully in proportion to the rest of the typeface, but there are some typefaces that do not have perfect spacing, okay, for aa lot of reasons, and probably the most common reason is t...

hat, as I might have mentioned before, most type designers air not professionally trained there's not a lot of places to go to learn to become a type designer, there are maybe three that I know of in the world and most people are not going there because it's just a question of logistics so many type designers are self taught even though they lead many of them wind up being fantastic designers and most type designers concentrate on the actual shape of the letter forms ah lot of times they're not as comfortable with or they might not know as much about things like how much words spacing should I put in this typeface or also the overall spacing and the current pairs which are also going to be talking about so in some cases you might be using a typeface that you think or you might think after this session it's there were space is a little too tight or actually more common is a typeface where the word spacing is a little bit too open okay so how much words spacing should there be while in text a good guideline for proper words spacing is the word spacing in a typeface should approximate the width of the cliff the lower case in or oh okay so it's not something you have to take out measure and blow up its and think you would eyeball okay on the reason for those two characters is because proper words spacing should be in proportion to the overall proportions of the typeface so if you have a condensed typeface the word spacing should be less and if you have an expanded typeface, the words patient spacing should be should be wider. Okay, so this example that we see on the left is an example of two little words spacing, so the amount, as it even says, the amount of space between words should not be so little that the words start to run into each other, okay, because then it becomes hard to re clearly the readability of suffering here because you can't separate one word from the next very easily. Okay, it does happen sometimes in justified text, but we're talking about unjustified text flush left rag, right on the right. You see an example where the word spacing is is really too much, and I have to say, there might be a number of people that look at that and say, I don't know looks okay to me, and the reason that happens is because there are more typefaces that have too much ward spacing than have too little typically so people some people become accustomed to seeing that, but the reality is, if you do, what I tell you often is to squint your eyes down and look at that text. You start to see the white a sort of blobs of space in between, which, when you read, creates a visual hesitation and can slow down reading ultimately okay, so we like to when necessary, um, adjust the word spacing if it needs to be adjusted, which, you know, you might never find that toe happen. I have to say I look back, um, and a lot of my library of typefaces and I have quite a large library of typefaces because I've done work for most major foundries and most of them are getting it right these days. But five, ten years ago, when I was looking at some of the older fonts, perhaps the pri open type fonts before they maybe went back and fixed some of the problems I would see a lot of typeface is a lot of fonts that had too much words spacing, and I would typically tell people that a lot of commercial funds needed less words spacing um and I really can't say that anymore, but there are still some you might have some faces that require that, but most importantly, as with everything else we're doing, I want you to become aware of these details so you can do the best that you can have a better understanding of the type you're using so you can select the best fun when you're looking to make a selection, make a purchase, something like that. S so that's one more thing to sort of pay attention to which over time is going to become normal okay all the things that I've been talking about they're likely it's like learning another sport learning and exercise learning an instrument the more you practice looking for the things that I've been talking about both in this session and the session called the fundamentals it's going to get easier because I know a lot of people are going oh my god this is so much stuff and now she's getting to such minutia I mean it's just crazy but it gets I'm telling you it gets easier it becomes matter of fact okay, so this example on the bottom is a much better word space sing so there is enough space between the words so that you can read it with ease and there's not so much that it creates thes sort of spotty in the spotty text with lots of white in it so you know that the next question one would ask his watch how do I change the word spacing? Yes, we know not all funds come with proper a word spacing and again what you're looking for in text is word spaces that approximate the lower case and roo I didn't mention this but display type should have tighter words basing so if you're looking at large type especially book covers things like that magazine headlines that might be quite large they tend to should have ah smaller words spacing because as you're going to hear me say a lot this uh this session this segment um as type gets larger spacing tends to look to open whether it's letter spacing words basing or whatever so as type it's larger spacing of everything should tend to be tighter and subsequently as type gets smaller the spacing of many things ten tends to need to be a little bit more open okay, so here's the big secret I call in an industry secret ah the word spacing of any font or any setting of text even non justify type can be adjusted from the justification panel so how does that work? Okay here's the justification panel of in design which is located off the paragraph tab okay, what you see it says justification and now I'm not talking about justified type I'm talking about flush left flush right centered whatever okay um what you see on the left you see words spacing ignore letter space english scaling for the moment all we're talking about his words spacing and then above those columns you see minimum desired and maximum yes, normally those air settings that can be used to control how type is justified but as I said earlier in the previous segment I don't really discuss we're not talking about justification okay even though that's the panel here the secret is where it says desired desired words spacing is where you can adjust the word spacing of any text it's not necessarily the most useful method for display if you just have a few words spaces, but for overall text if it's a paragraph if it's a whole article, if it's a whole blood, a lot of text box is what you want to dio is you want to change the value in the desired field to whatever you want it to be so let's say you want to try ninety and then you want to try eighty whatever's let's see you try ninety first, okay, you would put ninety and desired and if you have preview clicked and you've already selected the text, all of a sudden you're going to see things move can you going to see all that word spacing reduce? What if you want something like eighty? Okay, this is just kind of a math thing the way it is now, it's not going to accept eighty and desired unless you changed minimum two eighty or less, because whatever number it does minimum maximum don't matter in terms of what your type looks like been in order for the desired words spacing field to accept the number it has to be in between the minimum and maximum, even though minimum and maximum have no effect on unjustified texts were just talking about the word spacing so I have to keep you know, saying that because you're in a place that you don't think you'd have to go to change words spacing okay, so um I will do a little demo of this just to show you because it's really cool to see how how that happens and uh it's also something that most people don't know so here's actually that you know, kind of the one of the most extreme examples I could find of something really I mean, I could have faked examples like I did at the beginning these air not, um you know, the things I showed you here I had to make that artificially to tighten artificially and I had to use that on my own setting that I showed you to make the first two top examples not look good because the bottom is actually how it looks so it's not easy anymore to find really extreme examples of fonts that need need their worth spacing fixed so I had to go back to a really old font that I have, which is this one it's skill sands condensed okay? And this is quite this was this was made quite a while ago when they weren't I get maybe they weren't finessing the tech technology the way they should or they were just sort of pouring data into ah font format but when I look at this I see really open word spacing if you can squint your eyes down or not notice that there's a lot a lot big space is and if you think about what I said which is the guideline that the word space for text should approximate the width of the lower case and or oh you can see that it the's a really wide okay in fact my guests for why this is so wide is that they probably took what we call the metrics a ll that bits of information and word spacing from the gill sands regular fun which was a wider font and maybe this is when I like I said early in development they might have placed the cliffs for the condensed version in that font without changing I'm just guessing I mean, you know what? Why it's so open but basically in order to make it look better, I actually reduce the word spacing to sixty percent of what the fun actually has given me and uh you can and so it overall has a better color and texture it overall if you look at them together, can you see how that sort of the texture looks better? It doesn't have those white bloody spots um you might find things that don't look good because this this is an artificial way to that's a that's a drastic spacing change for words so I'm not saying that this type looks perfect but I'm just demonstrating that this happens to be a font where at extreme reduction in words spacing I can't approve it so and you might never find another font like this or you might and like I said sometimes eighty eighty five is all it takes for some funds that have really opened word spacing just to correct it make it look better okay oh how important his words spacing well guess what? What if you had a business card for a massage therapist and you put a little too much space or somehow that turned up I mean, that that's really not good uh and you know, I think I've seen this example actually the next example uh wow kids sex change just didn't know that was happening yet all it needed was a little space. You know, the funny thing is this is people have seen a real live examples of these kinds of things in sign ege and I'm just sort of imitating what is it really out there? You know, sometimes they know sometimes you get rid of a word space and sign it because you think the colors can can I come substitute for that, but you've got to be really careful into bed, so you come up with this, okay, uh this is this is a good one is another topic that I really like and I don't think most people know and I like talking like teaching it and it has I promised earlier it has to do with telling you and teaching you about when to use tracking um appropriately to improve the appearance of certain typefaces at certain sizes okay, the main place to start is that typefaces are designed and space for specific size range okay, so if somebody is designing a typeface they're thinking it's going to be used for text they're going to space it fairly tight so that it looks good at eight ten twelve fourteen point okay if they're going to be designing a display tight face typeface they're goingto have mohr tighter spacing because as I mentioned earlier as type gets larger things optically look to open and they naturally needs to be tightened up okay and as I said earlier again conversely if something is meant for large settings and it gets smaller if it's appropriate it's goingto look too tight so it needs to be opened up so I'm talking about the tracking feature in your software which allows for the global addition and reduction of spaces between characters it's not turning current ing is thie addition or reduction of space between a pair of characters either two different features of your software so now that we know typefaces air designed in space for specifics a size range when used outside of this size range tracking can be used to adjust the overall letter spacing to approve its appearance and readability okay, so here's an example before we go into this I will once again mentioned something I have mentioned before and that is going back to metal type um one of the the advantages of the days of metal type was that each point size had to be cut individually so nine point was one thought that's that was a metal version of a fun it was a set of characters at nine point a set of characters a ten point and the beauty of that was the punch cutter was able to make subtle adjustments in both the design and the spacing of the characters to accommodate what happens as type got got larger so as they would take the same type face and when they would go from nine to maybe to twelve to fourteen the letter forms the thins might get a little thinner but the spacing might get a little tighter and probably did so that every size that you use it was optimized for that size we've lost that in most cases with digital type so this is why I'm trying t give you a tool to use the typeface is that you feel can appropriately be used both for text and display except something's wrong they don't they just don't look right okay so here's a typeface um berkeley old style, which is meant for tax especially in this way and the smaller the small sis size is actually twelve point, which means nothing when you're looking at it on the screen or even at home. But it's just a relative number. Okay? It's intended to space well and look good at that size. And I can tell you that if you print that out, if I print that out in twelve point it's spaces beautifully. Okay, now what if you want to use that typeface large because you can I mean, it actually looks nice. What happens to that spacing kind of open? Okay, you would think that I opened the tracking, but I did nothing it's exactly the same here. I reduced the tracking two minus thirty to get I didn't do any current ing or anything. All I did was globally reduced the tracking to try to improve the appearance of this typeface at a much larger size. Okay, yeah, over the difference again between tracking and kearney. Okay, tracking is the global but global meaning you do more than one character. You can highlight as many characters as you want or you can click on a text box, and when you track out type or track type, you can globally increase or reduce the spacing between all of those characters where is current ing? Is the additional reduction of space between two characters and that's? Why you'll hear me refer shortly and the rest of the session to current in pairs, we refer to current in pairs, because a current in pair is two characters that need to be made more open or closed toe look better. Okay, thank you, sure.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Creating Type Solutions.mp4
Ilene Strizver - Typographic Checklist.pdf
Ilene Strizver - Type Rules - Chapter 2 and Glossary.pdf

bonus material with Purchase

Ilene Strizver - Chester - What Makes a Good TypeFace.pdf
Ilene Strizver - Oldrichium - What Makes a Good TypeFace.pdf.pdf
Ilene Strizver - Typequiz.pdf
Ilene Strizver - Typography - Fine Tuning and Finessing Syllabus.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Ilene's courses on Typography are jam-packed with excellent information that will elevate the quality of your work in print. She knows what';s current, but also what's important in long-time standards, and why. Just an incredible amount of information! you will enjoy watching, but you will want to purchase because of the sheer amount of useful content.

Nelson Mueller

Wonderful course! I enjoyed it from the beginning until the end, just like the fundamentals course. I wish there was even more of her. Hopefully in the future.


I bought this and the intro class and love them both! I had no idea fonts, typefaces and typesetting could be so interesting and detailed. Ilene is a clear and informative teacher. I love that she teaches why things are done, not simply "do this". I learn faster and remember better with her style of instruction.

Student Work