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Finer Points in the Spacing and Arrangement of Type Paperback – 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Point Roberts [WA]: Hartley & Marks Publishers, 1995. (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881790869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881790863
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,637,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a brief book, under 60 pages, dedicated to just one topic: visual spacing of type. Within that field, it addresses mostly the visual spacing of body text. It's not a wide range to cover, but Dowding covers it in detail, with many instructive examples.

Just about everything in this booklet derives from one principle: obeying the visual mass of the letterforms. That usually means, for example, spacing the letter T as if it were narrower than the spindly arms at the top. When justifying columns of text, it means that periods, commas, and single-quotes may extend beyond the normal border of the text block. Those sorts have so much white in the piece of the line they occupy, that they have almost no visual mass all.

The biggest part of the discussion centers on word spacing and letter spacing. Dowding is adamant about tight spacing within words and even, narrow spacing between words. Given the vagaries of word length and line length, this means that the typographer should be able to choose whether to use contractions or not, to choose '&' instead of 'and', and so on as needed to adjust the line density.

Dowding presents a number of bad examples, not all of them intentionally. On p.17 near the bottom, for example, a few consecutive lines end in punctuation, justified with the text. That unintended indentation looks a little like a car with a dented fender. P.35 shows an ambiguity between the running titles and a section title - the kind of ambiguity that typography should resolve. And repeatedly, p.5 for example, it may take a few moments to realize that one is reading sample text, not the exposition itself.
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