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Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning and Finessing

Lesson 5 of 12

Finessing Your Type - Part 2


Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning and Finessing

Lesson 5 of 12

Finessing Your Type - Part 2


Lesson Info

Finessing Your Type - Part 2

Here's something you might not think is your job it all okay if you're setting a headline you're trying to fit it I believe a smart designer and a valuable designer will read the copy and sometimes want to make a manual line breaks to support the content so that it reads better. Okay, so do you think this reads well and if not, where would you put a line break between baby and end between okay and we think that'll do it. Okay, so is it typography? Well, it's a combination of it I mean, it is typography this might be something the editor might look at it the client might say I want you to break it here, but if you want to be a valuable designer you want to go and you're an intelligent designer and you have a situation like this you should not know it's not even about the widow it's about it's about line breaks for some to support the content, the context of the content. Okay, so these are all things that are going to make you so much more valuable to your client and everyone else and yo...

u might wind up running a studio on running a department because you know all these details that nobody else does and and my hope is that in a few years you're going to be teaching this stuff to somebody else so it's not my job I can get away without knowing this stuff is not going to get you very far in your career okay so this is critical stuff and I'm telling you the majority of designers don't know about these things they don't think it's their job and they don't know how to do it so that's why I want to give you all the ammunition I can possibly do to make you be a successful is you can and to make you grow in your career because that unknowingly happened to may I had no idea I was gonna work with me people who taught me all this stuff I never thought it was important I didn't know it existed okay so um you know I'm happy to pass this on to you okay here's another one of these fine to me kind of crazy things but I know you're gonna appreciate this okay I referred to in his glove positioning there are certain gl ifs or the characters most people for to them is characters in a in a font that are vertically positioned to center around characters they most commonly are used next to so for instance parentheses are centered around lower case because that's most often what they're used around okay but if you're setting something and the vertical lines or mine I'm sorry the horizontal lines are mine but if you're setting the same word mass and you're setting it in all caps what happens to the vertical position of the parentheses? They look too low, don't they? Okay. Is this important in a five hundred page manuscript? I doubt it is this important in and a headline is this important in a subhead? Is this important in an ad in a book cover where you see a lot of these kinds of things, any kind of thing that you're able, which doesn't take zillions zillions of pages and you're able to fix something. What you want to do is you want to use the baseline shift feature of your, um, software, which, again, if we have a few minutes, I will show you that you want to raise the baseline shifts so that it visually is centered around the word. Okay, this is one of these things honestly tries. May I see it all the time? Some of that horizontal vertical alignment you might might be hard for you to notice. I think this is something you're going to start to notice. I think it's more noticeable. Okay, another instance. Oh, here's one okay. And and and ashes are usually centered in the font to be centered around the lower case, but if it appears before a cap, it looks too low to me. In this case of course I thought the m dish was too wide so it changed it to an end ash but the thing I really want you to notice is that it is raised up it's centered on the cap which is what it's next to phone numbers if you're setting a phone number on a business card or on a commercial or on a website or on a graphic or you know I don't know what you're doing a website is there cliff positioning? I don't know if there's baseline shift on a website you probably have to convert it to an outline but anyway if you're setting a phone number in all lining figures the lining figures of light caps okay and you're using a hyphen you might want to raise the hyphen because the hyphens in a font our position to be centered to go well with lower case not caps and caps and lining figures or similar so this is what you want to do especially since it look so nice next to that that crotch of that three and middle part of the three okay or whatever you call that I don't know maybe it's a butt crack okay um a couple of more things um again really getting into the nitty gritty ah bullets when using bullets of any style carefully consider both the size and the vertical placement okay bullets come in different sizes and different fonts you want to adjust them if necessary okay. Um the bottom one to me is most appropriate if her general usage occasionally you might find a font that has a bullet that you think is larger than you need might find one that's really too small so you can you might be using a bullet or an ornament from a different font or something like that so you definitely want to make sir it's size appropriate and in proportion to the type that you're doing okay, but what the point of the more important point I want to make here is that the vertical position of the bullet is also something that you should be khun considering again when you're financing your type trying to set just your work apart from everyone else on dh just show your typographic sophistication and overall increase you know how how good something looks so what you see on the looking on the left? Okay, this is the default position of this particular bullet um and the top line it's starting with a cap. Well, I guess it's okay, but I felt it could be lowered a little bit, so I lowered the one below it very slightly using the baseline shift and the very bottom example is if it were set with a lower case instead of a cap, you definitely would lower it and again I lowered it a little bit it's not I wouldn't say it's centered it's maybe it's may you know it might be aligned with the x height you have to use your judgment it's not really a science here the idea is to take notice of the size and the position of the bullet and then to do something about it. So what you see on the right is a listing starting with all caps and in that case I did use the position it did lower them very slightly and and just make sure they're all the same so when you get one that you like, I copy I usually copy and pasted for all of them I don't just do each one I'm always looking for shortcuts if you then you're gonna forget you're gonna have the three pages later and you're gonna go what did I do? Don't guess go back and see what you did and copy and pasted or some short cut like that and then the example below it is when everything all the points of bulleted points were set with lower case o of course I did the lower setting as well. Okay, again and I've said this before and I know I've said it in the other session on fundamentals ah lot of these things is not just about being oh picky yoon about things that that not everybody is going to notice it's training your eye to notice the details so that you'll be able to see the bigger details that you're working on is well it's going to help you be a better designer in every respect whether or not you remember every single detail if you start to see this stuff, you're going to start to see all kinds of things and your work's just going to get so much better this is the location if you're not familiar in in design in the character tab make sure your viewing all options and what I have circle there you see an a with a with an arrow above it that's where you would just baseline shift and if you're not sure where some of these things are what they mean if you place your cursor and your hover are you know over those it will in about a second or two it will tell you what it is so that's how you know when you go what is all this stuff anyway? I don't use more than two or three of them you should know what they are but this is a real important one, okay? And these are just some other options for bullets you don't always have to use circles these air different soft ding bats don't use all I mean just pick what you said it would be a real miss okay keep them simple and uncomplicated okay, this is something of a god. I wish this wasn't a big issue, but it is because we all have to said register marks trademark copyright symbols or not as much of an issue, but register and trademark, they're just so annoying, but this they're legalese and they're required, and yet it's, like ruins might design it doesn't look good on the logo. You don't have a choice, you have to put it in. The problem is that they're all different sizes and different fonts and annoys the heck out of me. So when I was doing typeface development for I see, um, I would size in the font, the register and trademark much, you know, smaller. So what? So the designer didn't have to do a work such as, you know, such as like the first one that's shown a copyright right tends to be closer to the height of the cap, but the others it's just very annoying every with some fonz, as you can see on the second one, the third one, the fourth one um, they're really large, and if you have to use the registered trademark next to text, that usually has to be said a lot smaller, okay, so, um, and then the ones on the right if you look at the last three there either it's too heavily designed or that the circle might be too heavy so one thing you should know you don't have to use the register or trademark from the font you're using okay if you're sending a lot of small type and you don't like the way it looks aside from one I'm going to tell you about how to position it okay you khun take helvetica or inari oh or you know a franklin gothic you could even use a sand saref register and trademark for everything if you like because it looks better and it's going to print better okay so that's one thing you do not have to stay within the same fun but whatever fund you use it's important that you size them properly and that you use your baseline shift to raise or position actually there's three things it's sizing them properly it's doing the correct vertical position and then you're probably going to need to use current in a cz well because sometimes it might not be in the right place so for instance just to give you an example um if you're setting if you look at the top and you're setting uh that the upper right which is very small if you're setting small text no of the proportions again this is more a concept you don't need to write you know memorise formulas okay but if you're sending something really small the register and trademark might be a third the size of of the of the height of the cap not saying a third of the point size because you know we don't know what scale it is compared to the rest so that's those settings are twelve point type and I said those particular um registered trademarks at five point okay because you know, they're really only about a third the height and I adjusted the height where I wanted it if it's a cap like I align it with the cap if it's a lower case it's really up to you in the client okay ah lot of times the client will want them bigger than what you think and because it's a marketing thing I mean, if you're doing a nike thing or something like that I've worked with companies where they say no we want the trademark symbol large that's our branding we want everyone to see it so in instances like that there's nothing what you could do you have to go along with what they want but if you have control over and you have running copy then you definitely want to size it vertically position it and horizontally position just where you wanted below it you have type a little larger where it says thirty six on ten actually you can see that a little bit better um and something like the register after the h there I have it kind of aligned with the x height. I think on the one above it, I happen to put it a little bit taller. It's it's a visual thing. It's a personal thing. It's a design thing and it's a client requirement thing. Okay, but the biggest challenge you're going to face again is that the r's and the t m's are different every fun and you need to notice them and, you know, and then size and position them. So the last one that you see on this page is the word lab and I would consider that to be displayed type so proportionally the register mark that I have, there is a lot smaller, maybe it's an eighth or a tenth the size of the camp, I where is the others, you know, are proportionately larger. So you get your getting that the whole concept? I mean, you know this this isn't fun stuff, but the more you notice it, the more you do, it had become second nature, and then it becomes very irritating not to do it, not to see it, not to fix it. I mean, we have some questions that came in and some of these questions may benefit to have, you know, you want to do a demo something way we'll see this well, some of these questions will involved in design so it may be something where you want to jump on the computer to illustrate your answer to the question but we'll see how it goes we'll start with this one cam devi says you showed us examples of text and several different shapes like that bug shape in the caca article is there a tool and in design that automatically adjust lines to create these shapes like that or is that something that you need to do manual you know what? I'm not a software expert so it's it's really hard hard to say I do believe you probably can do so many things in in design that you used to only be able to do an illustrator where you can create a manual shape on dh then you can wrap the text you can pour the text in it so I believe that you can but you could always do it an illustrator and then bring it in so you'd have to do a little homework on that okay well and we have a couple of more it might be a similar answer for this one is they're setting in design to avoid widows and orphans all together or is that something where you have to manually yeah there's never anything there is actually nothing that addresses that you know the paragraph composer was trying to make a good rag there's nothing that can do that because it works within the constraints of your type your point size the only way they could yeah there the answer is no eyes no because no, this is what gives all of you and us value as designers because computers do not replace people ok? They are just tools that we use okay uh now we have a question here I've heard that people read a page in a z pattern that their eyes were going in a z pattern on the page are there any tricks or rules when it comes to laying out text properly on a page that helps t make the most of that z pattern of people's eyes? I think that concept relates more to when you have a lot of different elements on a page I mean if you if you're talking about a book with salla text there they're going to read line line by line by line but I do but I think that's probably an important concept it has to do with composition and high typographic hierarchy and information hierarchy that we did I did talk about in typography the fundamentals a previous session if people dan tend to start at the upper left okay and they will tend I'm not so sure about the z I think a lot of that really depends on where you lead them with how you design the page that might be how they normally do it and if you subscribed to that and you believe that that's so then you might want to design within consideration but the more important point is that you want to design in such a way that you're leading your reader through the most important element down through the least important element and that you entice them to continue like in the fundamental session we had a poster that it was all type and I had a little red radish at the end okay? And somehow that helped draw the reader so that is the job of the designer to properly lay out a page with the type and the image to keep your reader involved and keep them from leaving so that no is there a trick no it's experience and understanding how to evaluate the design and composition of a page. Okay, all right, let's see and we have a little time to show you some of these. Okay? All right, so again I'm just going to show you I love this nike and reset these little tricks I went years without knowing how to do some of these things and then on my cock this is great. Okay, so this is the optical margin alignment I told you is my favorite feature okay, these air to exactly the same uh no, they're not. This is flush left and this is justified, okay, so as you can see the hung punctuation is not really hanging this kind of a visual hole here okay so if I high like this or technically if I think it should work if I just put a cursor and there you want to go to story I happen to have story here because I'm using the laying of the at work space the typography workspace but I very often can't find it I looked for it here so it's under type you go here and you open it as you can see we just move it up by default it is not turned on okay thanks bye click it okay I want to see if it'll work let's just say if I just put a cursor in there hey so here it's easier to see that's what I thought should happen now you can see doesn't matter where I put it turn it on turn it off so you'll notice not only is that first line moving but the fourth line with the eye is also moving okay but if I don't like if I don't feel that it's moving enough and I wanted to align you don't need to pull a guideline but if I wanted to just see what was going on with that okay so I might say okay, well what's that size is this type just curious okay it's eighteen so I might start it eighteen okay that's hiding, hiding all the guides or I might want to go more I could just keep clicking on this and go ok that's where I want it ok happens to be thirty four and the type is eighteen okay, so what happens if I do it to justify text so you're not only looking at the left margin you're looking at the right but notice how you know it's I can't tell you oh it's like better than pizza nice screen. Okay, so it's um it's also changing some of the line lance if you notice it's making room and so you see the bottom look how we used to have three words now it says now dears without doing it it says you now dear and so somewhere a linus changing it's actually okay it's this year this was hyphenated okay, when I turn it on it's changing things a little bit so that um it's now changing line lance a little but this is a little notice if I pull a guideline okay, you can see they could see how they're hanging a little bit. Okay, do you notice that, um it helps with rivers sometimes to do this optical alignment on justified text it helps with turbo remove the like if if you have a piece of justified text that has rivers what you mean a river river I think perhaps with river it's an accident because it's just accidentally changing some line lanes and it might fix it that's more helped by that opt by paragraph composer that we talked about then this is that's not the intention of this okay yeah only work if the paragraph composer respond no this is this feature has nothing to do with paragraph composer it doesn't matter if it's set to paragraph for individual line this is only about optical margin alignment so anything else khun b happening or turned on or turned off and this will always work okay, so so that's that's a very cool feature okay, let's see what else? Weekend all right, so here's a cliff positioning eso as I said, um actually in this typeface which is half ler text unlike, um the other one the parentheses air centered nicely around the caps. Okay, but if I set them around lower case they look too too tall, so well, I'm gonna do is I'm gonna highlight went to warn him in time. So you remember when I said, if you see if you hover see if you harvard says baseline shift okay, so all of these things, if you hover, you'll see what it is oh, you don't want that one forget that, okay, so I'm going to move it down and you will go by fractions if you put a fraction inner if you set references to go by quarter of a point or something okay, I like that I obviously can't copy and paste it it's a different character I mean, I could do that if you wanted to do this and then copy and paste that when you know he could do is all kinds of ways that to do that what didn't work maybe okay did work yeah, it did you know or you could just do them both manually. Well, I did that one too much. All right, so this one is seven point so you just have to find what do you think it looks better hopes you notice it's a minus number? Well okay, all right. So here's that phone number it's a little bit too low for my liking. Okay, so I like that in this one with a raise you see things jump on your screen I don't know if you're seeing what I see but it's just because of the did digitization there you know there's a low amount off of pixels on a screen so sometimes things appeared to jump and do other things it's not really happening in the printed page, okay it's just a resolution so that's what I would do with this what at least I might raise it a little bit more so now it's plus six so that's what I would do with that so that's cliff positioning ok bullets same story let's just raise this up so we make this a larger so you can see it oops they're easy just highlight thes highland okay use your baseline shift and it's easier to do it large but I mean it's large enough here so I mean that looks good to me so you can either copy and paste or just do each one minus three I do copy command see command based okay, I didn't didn't change the size I'm really just showing you the baseline ship. Okay it's pretty simple but ah lot of people aren't used to using baseline shift um okay, so here's all will make this one bigger so this one and these are all the same size this is a legacy sarah pro and this all thirty six points so what I would do with this? Okay, so I use keyboard commands if you ask me what they are probably would you know what if you put a keyboard in front of me it becomes automatic so because keyboard commands really I mean for a lot of things they just work better so I'm going to reduce this okay let's say it's let's say I like it there and then I'm going to use baseline shift and I like it there I think that's fine and I think it's positioned fine if I felt it was too far or too close again, I'm using keyboard commands recurring ing I think that's fine, but now I'm thinking it's a little bit too high, so you might want to lower a little bit. Okay, so that one is good. This is a different typeface, mrs johnston johnston, I don't mind the size, but I think it's too far and too high let's say I wanted to make it closer and lower, so I'm going to use baseline shift, drop it, maybe to there and then I'm gonna use turning maybe make it a little closer. This looks fine at this size, but in text it might all be too small, too tight. Whatever I'm just trying to show you this is it really makes sense to learn the keyboard commands, but you don't really have to it all. I just want you to understand the visual of of how this is working and how it's important to really pay attention to these things and, you know, your work will definitely definitely improved. So does it help you to actually see it? I mean, it's one thing to show you a screenshot, but I'm a real person doing this all the time and that's what you are too, so okay, great. Good well we had we had a couple of questions coming here there's one good question here that that I've been wanting to get to a little bit on the personal side but question here how is it that you know so much about the intricacies of setting type I've been working as a designer for eight years and never know any of the stuff that you're covering any insight how you've gotten to this point well, you know I consider myself really lucky because most of this stuff is most people know you you don't learn in school I did start I was taking a class it s the school of visual arts in new york and I was lucky enough to take a class with a headband get who's still one of the greatest living type designers and you can look him up b e n g u I e t and um I was taking a class in comp lettering and he had a job opening working with him on his typefaces at photo lettering which one is which was one of the preeminent typesetting shops at the time and which was also part owned by eitc international type fees corporation so I was hired by ed and so he's might my primary mentor I worked basically at his elbow for two years helping him with his typefaces but also helping him put together type specimen book material and because he's such a specialist he taught me to see the way I'm trying to teach you. He taught me about spacing current ng periods and, you know, not all of this stuff, but a lot of this stuff, basically the importance of it. And then shortly after that, after those two years, I moved to the eitc headquarters, who were publishing into opera lower case, which was the publication designed and edited by her blue balan for the sole purpose of promoting and marketing the typefaces that eitc was designing. So all of a sudden I became the production artist on one of the preeminent typography journals on the planet at the time. So I had people standing over me, including aaron burns, who was the part owner of that company and a phenomenal person, very big in the industry at that time. And I was doing the paper mechanicals, which I showed in the first session on the fundamentals, if if you want to catch that one, I showed a little bit about that. And so I was working with type with wax on paper with exacto blades, and he and other people would stand over my shoulder. We get the type proves from the type shop, and he'd say, eileen, can you move the period over a quarter of a point, I had actually cut a quarter point of paper with wax and moved and do crazy things like this so I was incredibly lucky and this this was what I did for years okay, so I at will was a type user and I was lucky enough to have the masters of typography teach me all these things that most people don't know because even the typographer sze were doing them well enough for his taste okay, I'm shortly after that or a number of years after that I wound up becoming creative director of upper and lower case so at that point I was overseeing different designers who were hired to work on the publication but I was still overseeing the production and the production was what I was doing and other and I had a staff of other people, so I then had to teach them all these things and whether it's the hung punctuation or make the period here or we'll all these things I'm talking about takes some space out of the lines they don't look even like I said, I don't know how I don't know who's pulling the strings up there, but I was very lucky to work with all these people and eventually so I was a big type user okay a number of years after that, I got involved in the typeface development aspect of I t c and eventually I learned from alan haley, who I was working with and eventually I became the director of typeface development, and I see so I was no longer a type user. I was working with type makers, so I was basically in charge of overseeing the typefaces that were accepted into the library by people from all over the world that we're submitting their designs. I was working with them to to art direct and edit their actual designs. And then once we became more involved in digitizing, I helped them to help, to learn how to properly digitize there typeface how to space it. I tried to teach them how to current the typeface, but in most cases, because it's very hard, I wound up doing a lot of that myself. So I had such a broad experience as a type user and a type maker that I come out typography from a totally different aspect than a lot of people might have even learned in school. And, you know, as I said, I'm extremely grateful for that, but that's, why I love this so much it's, so satisfying to be able to work this way that I have a tremendous passion and that's why I'm trying to pass it on to you guys.

Class Description

Master the typographic skills that are rarely taught or fully understood by design professionals from acclaimed author, educator, and type expert, Ilene Strizver.

In Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning & Finessing you will learn advanced typographic skills and aesthetics every serious designer needs to know. Ilene will share practical tips you can use to visibly improve the readability and effectiveness of your type, including:

  • How to fine-tune your type
  • Tracking and word spacing tips and tricks
  • Custom kerning
  • Working with figures and fractions
  • Text kerning

Professional typography sets your designs apart, while attracting and holding your audience’s attention. Learn how to set type without fear – develop your skills and build your confidence in with insights from Ilene in Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning & Finessing.

Check out Ilene's related course, Typography Fundamentals


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.