Technical Editing & Production





Week 1

Kimball & Hawkins -- Chap 6. Type.

Typographic Dimensions and Conventional Wisdom

Basic typography

Intro to Typography Basics
Brief introduction to typography
An Introduction to Type (nav bar at top of page)
6 Easy Steps to Basic Typography

Universial principles of design

Week 2

The Rhetoric of Typography

Type-inspired interfaces

How people approach typography

Additional readings

Web Typography (left nav bar)

Scribus workshop

Week 1

Scribus master pages

Discussion Questions

Week 1


"Typography, layout, and graphic design" specifically mentions that small print in many documents is designed to prevent you from reading it. Brumgberger makes many arguments which supports the idea that you can hide information in plain sight by your design choices. Besides legal documents, it's common in many manuals with the warnings, limitations, etc. Even the use of long paragraphs, rather than lists or several short paragraphs could be work toward this hiding effect.What are the ethical considerations of doing so?

weak answer Document designers need to be aware and cautious of the ethical implications involved in document design. I suppose a company could justify the small text by claiming that the information was given to the user and it’s the user’s responsibility to read the document thoroughly. If the information is important in terms of a user’s safety or in order to continue using a document, it seems more like an obligation to present that information clearly.


Many people think that Microsoft has carefully researched out good typography when the default setting were chosen for Word. Do you think they did? Is Times New Roman highly readable? How about Calibri (default in Word 2007)? What about the margins and line spacing defaults they choose for Word? (Cute video with some Microsoft propogranda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_s13VtPpJQ)

Try creating a few 500 word texts and format them with different fonts (and maybe try all caps). Time how long it takes people to read them. Ask them to read at their normal reading speed and perhaps say there will be a quiz afterwards (but don't actually give one) to make them read at their normal rate. You can't have people read the same text twice, it will screw up the timining. Report your results on the discussion board.

Of course, you only measured the time to read the text. You didn't measure if the person comprehended the information and is able to use it. Which is more important: controling reading speed or improved comprehension? What if different fonts best support each? Which should you choose?

Week 2


In Brumberger’s The Rhetoric of Typography, she references the issue of typography being transparent.  She quotes Beatrice Ward (1956a) who believed that type should be invisible, “a ‘crystal goblet’ for verbal text”.  Yet, she goes on to state that recent arguments dispel that notion, “providing yet another important parallel to verbal language”.  She asserts that typography “serves not as a clear window into the verbal text, but rather as a prism that refracts the verbal message of a document”.  From our assigned readings, do you see typography as a crystal goblet – or as a prism that refracts?  Why?

weak answer I think that a well-chosen type should not be consciously recognized by readers because it should meet readers’ expectations. I believe that more times than not a reader will notice a type that is not fitting, instead of noticing a type that is very fitting. I’ve experienced times when a reader has complained that a type is not readable, but I’ve rarely heard anyone comment that a font and typeface was great and really increased the documents readability.


Discussion of other people's typography analysis.

Thoughts to ponder


"Typographic Dimensions" starts out by saying:

Two sources can help us make these decisions: published guidelines about typography and trained visual judgment. It takes time and effort to train visual judgment, so it is easier to consult and follow guidelines for the specification of typographic dimensions. Adhering to these guidelines should, according to their authors, lead to legible and attractive documents. However, many document developers who have to make decisions about type specifications struggle to apply these seemingly simple guidelines. And what is worse, following these guidelines may lead to results that are disappointing both functionally and aesthetically.

A major part of this course is to help you move from having to either just follow guidelines or "looks good to me" design, and being able to make informed decisions about how to communicate information.


At first glance, is this "Cleepy Creek" or "Sleepy Creek"?

Would it be a bigger problem is "Cleepy" was a valid English word?

cleepy or sleepy


"With the mono-spaced fonts that were common on early computer displays (e.g., Courier), the addition of extra spaces between words to create an even right margin (full justification) generally slows reading (Campbell, Marchetti, & Mewhort, 1981; Gregory & Poulton, 1970; Trollip & Sales, 1986). With the proportionally spaced fonts more commonly used today on web pages (e.g., Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana), the effects of full justification are not quite as clear. Fabrizio, Kaplan, and Teal (1967) found no effect of justification on reading speed or comprehension, while Muncer, Gorman, Gorman, and Bibel (1986) found that justification slowed reading performance. More recently, Baker (2005) found an interaction between justification and the width of the columns of text: justification slowed reading speed for narrow (30 characters) and wide (90 characters) columns, but improved reading speed for medium-width columns (45 characters)." And here are those references:

Baker, J. R. (2005). Is Multiple-Column Online Text Better? It Depends! Usability News, 7(2). http://www.surl.org/usabilitynews/72/columns.asp

Campbell, A. J., Marchetti, F. M., & Mewhort, D. J. K. (1981). Reading speed and test production: A note on right-justification techniques. Ergonomics(24), 127-136. Fabrizio, R., Kaplan, I., & Teal, G. (1967). Readability as a function of the straightness of right-hand margins. Journal of Typographic Research, 1(1).

Gregory, M., & Poulton, E. C. (1970). Even versus uneven right-hand margins and the rate of comprehension in reading. Ergonomics, 13, 427-434.

Muncer, S. J., Gorman, B. S., Gorman, S., & Bibel, D. (1986). Right is Wrong: an examination of the effect of right justification on reading. British Journal of Educational Technology, 17(1), 5-10.

Trollip, S. R., & Sales, G. (1986). Readability of computer-generated fill-justified text. Human Factors, 28, 159-163.

I think the study by Ryan Baker (part of his doctoral dissertation at Wichita State Univ, I believe) is particularly interesting because it showed an interaction between text justification and the number of columns of text.





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