PHOTOSHOP DOWN & DIRTY TRICKS TOUR Lesson 2.1 Ten Typography Essentials

Lesson 2.1
Ten Typography Essentials
Ten Typography Essentials
1. Tracking/Controlling tracking
2. Kerning
3. Leading
4. Choosing the proper justification
5. Using the right dashes
6. Hanging punctuation
7. The single space rule
8. Use ligatures
9. Superscript when appropriate
10. Use proper inch and feet marks
 Tracking refers to the space between all of
the letters in a line
 Adjusting tracking produces letters that are
spaced further apart
 Usually you do not want to reduce tracking unless
you’ve already increased it
 If you reduce tracking too much, text appears too
dark to many readers
 Tracking is measured in 1/1000 em
 Em is relative to the current type size
 In a 12-point font, 1 em = 12 points
 In a 10-point font, 1 em = 10 points
 To give characters dramatic spacing, you need to
enter fairly high numbers in the Tracking box—at
least 300
 Positive tracking increases the space between letters
 Negative tracking reduces the space between letters
 Step 1: Tightening Space
 Tightening the space between letters in a word, or a
group of words, or adding more space between letters
in a word, or a group of words
 Most of the time, you’ll be tightening space to make
your type look better when you create type at larger
point sizes
 You generally don’t apply any tracking when your point
size is < 12 because the fonts are designed where the
spacing for type at < 12 pt. looks correct
 As a general rule, tighten the tracking for all type > 18
pts. (except script fonts, which are designed so they don’t
need tracking at all)
 How much tracking do you apply?
 Tighten a small amount (like around -10 for 18 or
24 pt. type, & a little more for 36 or 48 pt. (app. 25) & when you get to 72 pt., 100 pt  -50 or -60
 The goal is to leave a small gap bet. letters at large
sizes, w/o the letters actually touching
 In print advertising and TV, it’s not uncommon to
have very tight tracking where the letters actually
touch just a little bit (AKA “kiss” tracking) because
you tighten the letters up enough until they just
about kiss
 Most Photoshop users leave the tracking set
at zero (0) all the time, but a pro would never
set 60 point text with (0) tracking
 Step 2: Adding Space
 Add space bet. letters (increasing the amount of
tracking) when you want to add an air of elegance
to your type as an effect—adding space tends to
make your type look open & airy
 Adjusting the space between 2 letters w/in a
 In the past, computer-generated text left gaps
between letter pairs that naturally create spacing
 Necessary when type sizes get really large or
where pairs of letters end up next to each other—
these letter pairs include Pa, Ta, We, and Yo
 The gap between these letters is larger than the
gap between other letter pairs, such as na
 Modern software corrects kerning for you
 Metrics kerning automatically adjusts the space
between a set of letter pairs defined for each font
 Optical kerning automatically adjusts the space
between letters based on their shapes
 By default, InDesign applies metrics kerning
to your text
 Metrics kerning automatically adjusts the
spacing between letters so letter pairs that
produce gaps have spacing consistent with
letter pairs that do not produce gaps
 Type designers have created special spacing
allowances (called “Kerning Pairs”) to help
overcome this—they are included with most
 Even with this, it’s still almost always
necessary to apply kerning to large-sized type
 Good kerning is an art & takes practice to
develop your eye!
 For fonts that do not include such pairs
(which is rare), you can use optical kerning
 Optical kerning is also useful when you use 2
different typefaces or sizes in 1+ words on a
 You might also want to adjust kerning manually
 Usually, audiences will only notice kerningrelated gaps in larger font sizes
 Some designers also use kerning to achieve the
effect of tightly spaced letters
 Tight kerning was especially popular in the immediate
post-war period, from 1950-1980
 If you’ve seen advertisements from that era, you may
recall headings with letters that were tightly spaced
[kerning applied]
 The amount of vertical space bet. lines of text
 It’s pronounced “led-ing” after the strips of
lead used to separate lines of text)
 Photoshop uses “auto leading”
 Applies 120% space against the size of your type
(meaning if you set your type at 10 point, then
Photoshop applies 12 points of leading (20%
 When & Why?
 Using Auto Leading isn’t bad or good – it’s the default so it
won’t look bad – but it won’t look great (like a pro) either!
 Too little leading can make a block of text appear too dark
& difficult to read
 Too much leading can make text appear too light & is also
difficult to read
 Add more space when legibility is a concern, or if you want
to make your type more elegant
 Ex: wedding invitations
 For body copy, many designers use a leading of at least the
font size + 2 points
 A great combination for books & magazines is a 10 pt. font
with 14 pt. leading
 Warning: Don’t let the descenders of the
letters on the top line touch any on the line
beneath it
 Descenders are part of letters that extend below
the invisible baseline that your type sits on
 EX: j, g, p, q, y
 You can make it snug, but don’t let them touch!
 For headings, especially headings in all
capital letters, you can apply leading more
 Adjusting leading produces different design
 For headings, you should adjust leading manually
 With all-caps, you can decrease leading down to
almost nothing with little loss in legibility
 Left Justified Text
 all the type lines up on the left side, & the right
side doesn’t line up perfectly
 Is considered a very casual style
 Used in many conversational style magazines like
People, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly
 Justified Text
 Is much more formal
 Used in many legal documents & articles in more
formal magazines, like National Geographic or
 It’s a signal to the reader that you are a serious
journalist writing an important article
 Center Justification
 Is used for wedding invitations, flyers, business
cards, etc., that use short lines of texts, rather
than long paragraphs
 Right Justified Text
 Is used often in restaurant menus for pricing,
where all the pricing needs to line up, or on
website navigation bars, or when you want to
create a design statement
 Probably the least used form of justification
 Hyphen
 Only use to hyphenate words like step-by-step or
when Photoshop automatically hyphenates a
word because it was too long to fit on 1 line
 EN Dash
 A longer dash (- vs –) [press Alt-Dash]
 Use primarily to indicate a length of time
 EX: “12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.” or “for 7 – 10 year olds”
 Technically it doesn’t have a space on either side
of it, but it is commonly used that way
 Use is subtle – but it is the little things that add up
to change the page and make you a pro!
 EM Dash
 Used primarily within a sentence to separate a
thought or indicate a change in thought w/o using
a comma, colon, or a period
 EX: “The new backpacks are now in stock—they’re
 Technically shouldn’t have spaces on either side
although is often used that way
 EX: January—February
 EX: January — February
 Hanging Punctuation (Roman Hanging Punctuation)
 The punctuation of a callout or pull quote should be
“outside” of the first letters of each line – i.e., hanging
punctuation that hangs off the paragraph
 EX:
“Good typography has a lot to do with the timelessness of
the piece”
 EX:
“Good typography has a lot to do with the timelessness of
the piece”
 On a typewriter, it is proper to put 2 spaces
bet. sentences because typewriter fonts are
monospaced (meaning each letter takes up
exactly the same space)
 When using fonts in typography, a “W” takes
up a lot more space than an “i” because it
uses proportional spacing which is 1 of the
reasons real type looks so much better than
typewriter type
 When 2 letters collide (like the top of a small
“f” and the dot on a lowercase “i”
 Built into nearly all typefaces are special
characters called ligatures which are
essentially a separate character that is a
perfect combination of 2 characters that
touch, to create 1 character
 To shrink the point size (app. 50%) & move
upward to align the top of the letters
 EX: 1st
 EX: $24.00  $2400
 Photoshop makes “curly marks” for you
automatically AKA smart quotes
 Not professional use for inch & feet marks
 EX: 5’ 3”
 Contrast – 1 of the key design concepts used
for the basic building blocks of page layout &
 Weight
 Scale
 Letter Spacing
 Contrasting Form
 Weight
 Varying the weight of fonts is an easy way to
create instant contrast
 EX: Use a very thick typeface with a very thin one
 It’s almost a guarantee that a combination will work
if you use 2 fonts, with vastly different weights, from
the same type family
 EX: Match Futura Light with Futura Extra Bold
 When it comes to type, the heavier the weight the
more important the message
 EX: Website – what is important is where you are
on the site
 EX: Print – the headline is the most important
thing on the page, so it would get the heaviest
weight of the typeface, i.e., use Helvetica Black
for the headline, Helvetica Bold for the
subheading, and Helvetica Regular for the rest of
the page
 Scale
 Mix the scale where 1 word is huge & the other
word is much smaller
 Very effective & very popular
 Letter Spacing
 Visually separates 2 blocks of text
 Extra space is a trick used to add elegance
 The more space between letters, the more luxurious
the logo appears
 Combine a tightly tracked name, with a loosely
tracked subhead or tagline & it creates great
contrast & gives added elegance
 Contrasting Form
 Mixing 1 word with all uppercase letters with
another word (or phrase) in all lowercase – or vice
 Using Ascenders & Descenders as Design Helpers
 Ascenders – parts of lowercase letters that extend above
the lowercase letter’s x-height (or centerline)
 Can also make artificial ascenders by using larger capital
letters to start a word
 Descenders – parts of lowercase letters that descend
below the invisible baseline that type sits upon
 Use the ‘holders’ (d, y, j, g, p, b) for secondary lines of
 Can also use a ‘stacking’ technique where each word is
expanded in size to match the word below it
 Unlock the design power of open type
 Open-type fonts have the word “Pro” at the
end of them
 Custom Distress
 A weathering effect – can still read the text
 Creating Your Own Custom Type