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Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning and Finessing

Lesson 2 of 12

Format: Hyphens, Alignment, & Separators


Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning and Finessing

Lesson 2 of 12

Format: Hyphens, Alignment, & Separators


Lesson Info

Format: Hyphens, Alignment, & Separators

Hyphenation okay hyphenation is something that is very often but not always a necessary evil when setting type because if you have words that don't fit at the end of the line and the hyphenation is turned on in your software as it is by default you're going to get hyphenated words and that's something that a lot of people don't like but what's particularly bad is if you have a lot of hyphenation sze in a row um because it once again reduces readability so here's a setting with wow seven hyphens in a row that's crazy so that's not a good thing that's undesirable in well set typography it's not something that your your client or the end users going to find easy to read again it's a subliminal thing they might not go over so many hyphenation my eyes are getting tired and I'm going to put this book down you have to control these things so that they don't happen and people don't know why they happen okay so this is a much better solution um it does have a hyphenation I'm not it personally a...

gainst hyphenation but I will address the fact that some people are some clients don't want any hyphenation so this is a much more preferable setting way to deal with this on dh I I probably well what it also what did I do to change that how do you deal with hyphenation how do you control hyphenation well, in design has hyphenation settings that are very important to be aware of okay? And the main thing you should be aware of is there is going to be a default. This was the default at the time that I I took the screen shot it's possible in the version you have or the later version it might be different because I changed them all the time it's hard for me to go back to the original setting but the typical default hyphen hyphenation setting is number one hyphenation is turned on you see on the upper left you see it's checked um they allow words with five letters to be hyphenated the next three numbers or what I'm most concerned about it allows two letter hyphenation tze before the hyphen and it allows to letters after the hyphen and it also has no limit on how many hyphens you can have in a row and that's where it says hyphenation limit I'm not so concerned with hyphenation zone if you go below it, you might be concerned about some of these settings where it allows capitalized words to be hyphenated maybe that's not such a good idea it allows the last word to be hyphenated, which I don't think it's a good idea and across the column, you know there's other things that might be relevant to the work you're doing so my personal suggested settings okay, this is not the all encompassing rule of of typography, but this is my recommendation is that you change the settings so that the word should have at least six letters and no fewer than three letters before or after hyphen and most certainly no more than two hyphens in a row. I also like to de select hyphenate capitalized words and d select hyphenate last words I'm going to go back this might be your default this is my suggested settings and my personal settings ok note that if you're somebody that uses paragraph styles and character styles which is really a good tool if you're doing a lengthy copy and you have to make changes, you can't control the hyphenation from there as well. So you see, this is a paragraph style from the top if you look on the left you see all your different options that all your different settings okay, that you've seen before another in other panels I have hyphenation selected and circled and here you would want to imitate the same thing whatever it is that you want, whatever hyphenation setting that's what you would set here is well, okay, you know, I do a lot of workshops up in canada and it I have found over the years that more often than not they don't like hyphenation it all they normally turn it off, okay you might be that way, you might have a job that you're told that that's what's preferred, you know that that's fine, but here's what I suggest the problem with turning typhon it hyphenation off, and that would mean you would d select the hyphenate box on the upper left corner here. The problem with that is if you don't have a wide enough column with enough characters per line, and again, if you're using if you have copy that has long words it's very often going to result in a really bad rag. In other words, they're really a line will indented really deeply because it can't fit the word and you're telling it it can hyphenate so my suggestion to people or situations that say I don't like hyphenation, I like to turn it off is to be open to the possibility of adding the occasional manual hyphenation that you would add yourself making sure you have a dictionary, making sure you're reading the hyphen in the correct place as needed to fix any bad or very deep rags. Okay, yes, uh, manually edited letter spacing line spacing just to accommodate yeah, fascinations, yes, it is that I mean, I often get that question can you adjust the tracking or the current ng or the word spacing just to fill in the space so there's no so you don't have much of a deep rag. I'm often asked that, and I think sometimes people are told to do that by employers or whatever that's where anything that alters the overall color, texture, spacing of a typeface for for that kind of a reason, um, is bad because you're you're really do destroying what was originally determined by the type designer, and then if you look at it from afar, you're going to see some lines that looks sort of thin and and open and some lines that might look squishy. So it's almost like having bad justification it's kind of a cop out, you should never deal with it that way you shouldn't adjust, you know, again, I will talk later about when to use went to adjust tracking and current ing but it's for different reasons then to fake out a bad rag. Okay, so and again, I know a lot of people are they try it and they say, well, I just do it two or three percent there's no way I'm going to tell you that's, okay? I mean, if you're told by your boss and you have to do it and you feel you have no way out, well, you know what you do what you have to do but as a type expert you should always be striving for the best looking and the most correct, most professionally set typography and especially if it's not justified type the way to do that would be to add the occasional hyphenation or sometimes it's just going back and making manual making manual break so this one I might have said okay, there's that first hyphen I don't want that forward, so I'm just going to make you know ah emmanuelle break after the word push and see what happens after that so those are things that you couldn't do manually to try to improve it without having to resort to perhaps you won't need a hyphenation and perhaps you won't have to think that you need to stretch your squeeze ah words airlines okay alignment there are four basic kinds of alignment there's flush left what's, right centered and justified and of course that's a very poorly justified setting I did discuss ah justification in typography the fundamental so if you want to know more about that then that would be good to take that that course when you can the most common alignment in an hour in this country for english is flush left it's what we read the most it's what we read easiest because our eyes are going from from left to right um a flush left alignment is something that is useful sometimes depending upon the the layout it's not something you wouldn't want to set a whole book like that, because once again it makes it hard for your I took jump from the end of a line to another line if it's constantly changing, but it is a useful technique in certain designs, the center type you're not going to set a whole book and centered type is, well, it's a little harder to read, but it does set things off. It is used for things like um, um magazine titles or newspaper titles or newspaper covers. Oh, our invitations, poster's things like that in time you have a certain limited amount of copy that you want to be set off in a more symmetrical way. Okay and again justified type. It doesn't always have to look that bad, but I always like to show bad example so that you learn what they are and that you think twice before you said justify type this happens to be ah lovely poster where the a flush a flush right alignment works really well, I mean there's something it gives its symmetry, it gives it balance. The first thing you see is the illustration, which is fantastic on dh then you see the type the type doesn't overpower the rest because of the way it's arrange and because the colors are lighter again this speaks a little bit to something that was discussed in typography the fundamentals another course that I did for creative live in terms of typographic hierarchy so you know it's hard to just speak about one thing then and and not speak about other things as well because this is a very successful poster so for instance the alignment works great but if all the typography was in much darker colors it would compete with the image so that's understanding that the type although important is not playing the lead role in a sense in this particular poster something that I wanted teo to show you and to show you quite a number of examples because I think they're fantastic and their inspiring and in addition to just educating you I want to inspire you as well is the use of contour type and that's just setting type too it could be a random shape it could be a very specific shape but it can really do a lot for for design this is a really, really fun example because this is a quote if you can get a close up of this of you guys can see it's a quote from alice in wonderland and and what you see on the right is supposed to look like a tail ta I l and so what the copy says what the story says is mine is a long and a sad tale t a l e said the mouse turning to alice and sighing, it is a long tail t a I l okay, certainly said alice, and then it goes on about the tail. So even though I created this than the original book, this is how this little bit of copy had said it's set to look like a town so it's, very lovely it's, very whimsical. It appeals to children appeals to me, I appreciate you know, the cleverness of it. So these are things you could have fun with time, and I'm going to show you a number of examples where that very thing is taking place. Um, you have type set in a triangle against, um, some some round circles, it talks about a bat, so I guess that the circles might relate to the sonar, the abilities of bats to see the dark. I'm not really sure these things can be very challenging, because it's in, in essence, is justified type. So you're starting with the word we, the second line says are and you might say, but I lean the r is so openly spaced and you say that is bad justification. Well, sometimes you have to weigh things okay, actually to get and the effectiveness of this piece is maurin how it looks, perhaps, than what the message is okay, so it's just very clever and I catching and I will tell you that very often and I've worked out a lot of layouts like this in my days with upper and lower case a lot of times you need to request the copy b edited slightly so that you can start with a two letter word and then go to another word on dh you might think I can't change the copy I won every one don't think that all you can do is ask if you explain to a client teo you know a co worker or whomever what you're trying to achieve visually and get them on board and get them excited a lot of times they will be happy to attempt to change the copy to fit your layout so just don't go changing words yourself if you have a suggestion for changes that's fine to say you know what? If we change it to this, what do you think? They will appreciate that but again it's a lot about educating people on what you're trying to do and how what you're doing is going to be helping solved their problem, sell their product, make people read their book made people want their magazine and so on this was actually done by a student of mine at a desk for a different class than than my class he was doing probably an editorial class ah, but he done this if you know anything about he also did the illustration. So you know it's a great short story by franz kafka so he did the illustration and then he set the type to to mirror what's going on on the illustration so the type becomes an illustration of sorts. This is actually a type specimen book designed by by the designer of this typeface of typefaces called cola c h o l l a and rather than to type specimen books or things or type specimens used to exist more commonly when foundries had more money and we're printing things out and now ah, lot of times you'll find these thatyou khun downloaded on a website um and so what she did this this particular typeface has many different versions there's a unique case there's a wide there's a narrow so she very cleverly and very beautifully set kind of random alignments you could call it I would call this contour type even though it's it's just a fight contoured ok, but you could be incredibly creative and create exciting graphics with typography if you think a little bit out of the box when it comes to the alignment a nice poster yes, I would say this is justified it's successfully justified because it's using a type family that has many different withs there's condensed there's wide there's average different types sizes so this begosh this probably took like a week to do or something but it's effective it's beautiful striking okay, this isn't really so much the alignment of the type as the angle of the columns but again I like to show things that that are inspiring to people this is something that our chandra did ah while ago and you see a lot of things on angles it is that the typography is sort of traditional in that it's flush left rag right columns um but it's the way it's positioned on the page my all time favorite piece it's for ah veda I just I just love it. I love the whimsical nature of the image and how the type is set to become the hair looks easy I as I said I've done these things before. It is very time consuming but it's very rewarding because you have to constantly play with the shape of the type and probably change the size of the type changed the amount of letting sometimes the size of the type of the amount of letting is in fractional value. So don'tjust go by halves if you have to manually, you know go by tents or something to get something toe work, then do it because this's killer this's I mean isn't this a beautiful piece it's very striking and not complicated visually these are some spreads that were done for upper and lower case I was still working that the upper and lower case was a publication ah I worked on for many years it's actually where I learned a lot of what I know which was put out by t c international type fees corporation it was originally written and edited by her by her blue ballon but upon his passing it moved to I t see and other people were involved in the editing and I had originally started off doing production eventually became creative director to this on dh then I stepped into the type development department so whether people were working on the actual layout but here you have got I'm going to show you another one to where it's really a clever layout where thie the typography is poured into the shape of a bottle to mirror that the content of the story the content of the type is the content of the bond like this also challenging to do correctly um another another clever one even if you ask people to add it you're not you can't people not going to take out chunks of type I mean they're not gonna majorly change an article usually but very clever not just the outside of that contour but the way it wraps around the code wraps around on the right page you know I don't know it's a six pack or whatever it is um it's all justified so everything has to work nicely and you're not going to see too many bad justified lines like I showed you um earlier this is ah random shape for something done for black mountain college which is known for its experimental authors and writings and so the designer chose to take a path that helped to help to represent that that position and it doesn't have that might look like a person but you could do a random shape and do interesting things with typography as well putting type on different angles this was done by a student I believe and I included this in in uh fourth edition of my book because I just thought it was such a phenomenal piece so things don't have to be on right angles again this is not so much about alignment is angles but I do like to help you get inspired to see some other pieces that just sort of make you think outside of the box okay on to paragraph separators, which is what somebody in our audience I brought something up about I don't call them in dense because even though I'm going to talk about in dense not every way to divide a paragraph is by using an actual ended so I describe paragraph separators as in dense and other paragraphs separator techniques um are graphic techniques used to create a visual separation of thought or of thoughts in text so the most common one we see is just the sort of the regular in dent which I'd like to say most commonly or most professionally, you will only see on the paragraphs following the first paragraph. Although that's not always true newspapers, I noticed you're still in denting the first paragraph and it's not that it's wrong it's just that it's unnecessary because the point off an indent is to create a visual division from what came before it. So if it's the first paragraph there's nothing it needs to separate from okay, so it is not necessary and to my eyes because I was taught early on never to do this. It looks wrong to me to put it in dent in that first paragraph, I'm not saying it's wrong I'm not saying it's a type crime, I'm just saying it's a personal thing, but there is no need to put an invent in the very first paragraph. In fact, sometimes you do other techniques to signify the beginning of the paragraph, which you're going to talk a little bit about in a few minutes. So this is a typical in dan. You should determine how much it should be indented and just don't you know, don't use your tab and hit the tab and go buy whatever the default is in dense should be set specifically to what you I would like them to be, and what that is is going to be in relation to the width of a column in the size of the type, okay, if you're just going for kind of a standard in den, this is called an extreme in dent, and although you don't see it that often it's, a technique that could add some drama and visual interest to a page, you wouldn't set a whole book like this clearly it's a decorative technique you might do in on a feature in the magazine, you might do it, and in a brochure or an annual report or something like that, it doesn't have to be exactly like this. It could be one line, it doesn't have to be two lines, it could be three lines that air indented you, khun in debt to the center of the column all of those things air variables, and it might look kind of odd because this is such a short amount of text, but you get the idea. I just want to bring across the idea that you have different choices, here's another one, this is an out dent, okay? It sounds like we're talking about dental floss or something, but thiss could also be this is this is also very dramatic and be very striking. It might just be the first page of a brochure it might be an introduction it might be the you know, the letter from the editor in in a magazine just to make something look a little more um, you know, I catching an eye popping make the typography pop a little bit more certainly does bring attention to the paragraphs you can always not use an actual in dent and separate paragraphs with a ding bat a little bit like I showed you in the earlier example and that's fine as well, I don't know that you would do want to do a whole book that way, although I mean it's possible islam, we wouldn't do a novel that way really, because it probably would get a little bit tiring and people are not used to it, so ah, but it's very decorative it sort it looks good and more is kind of historic treatments or more formal treatments just make sure you size the ornament appropriately and shouldn't be too big shouldn't be too small should have just the right amount of space and might mean might have to use baseline shift to raise it or lower it a little bit okay, what about putting a line space between paragraphs? Ah that's something we more commonly seeing correspondents I think it's great for emails because it helps you to read you might see it more on the web. Because people read on the web differently than they do in print, they tend to have short attention spans and, like text to be in chunks, so to speak. Um, you're not going to see it so much in magazines and books, because it really does. First of all, it takes more space, but it's it's creates a constant visual interruption of the reading process. So it's. Not something that you would use all the time. Um, one thing you definitely don't want to do is you don't want to combine the line space with it, and then you pick one or the other. Okay, then, it's, it's really overkill, and you're not helping the reader at all. And it's, not considered professor professional, approached to setting, uh, creating separations between paragraphs.

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.