APP2: Typographic Improvements

For this blog post I will be discussing the typographic improvements I have been making to the St. Luke’s Church book since the first test print, which I discussed in my last blog post, where I was shown how to improve the quality of the typography.

My other design changes will be focused upon in my next blog post, when I do another test print.

Improving the quality of justified text:

One of the biggest problems I have had with justifying the text so far is that the word and character spacing it introduces is very unequal. My tutor pointed me in the direction of a video by Mike McHugh, where he discusses and explains how justified typography can be vastly improved by using a few techniques.

Putting these techniques into practice involves selecting the text on the page, and then, by clicking on the small icon at the top of the toolbar followed by selecting Justification in the drop-down list allows the values in the resulting dialog box to be changed. The default values are visible in the image below.

Justification default settings

I changed these values to what he recommends in the video, where he provides a full explanation, and this worked very well although there was one exception on the Iron Church page. To fix this, I re-opened the box and changed the Maximum Letter Spacing value from 5% to 3%, which bought everything closer together.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 16.05.06

Optical Margin Alignment:

Another feature the video discusses is Optical Margin Alignment.
It can be found by opening the Story palette (Window > Type & Tables > Story) By ticking the box in the palette it allows for punctuation to be placed over the edges of the bounding box for the text, allowing for the spacing to again be better realised. It makes a surprisingly noticeable difference as a comparison below highlights.

Not using Optical Margin Alignment
Using Optical Margin Alignment

Smart Quotes:

When looking for information into the correct grammatical terminology for using the different types of dashes/hyphens, I came across a great article by Smashing Magazine, that points out how to raise your typography to a higher level, which can be read here.

One point it makes is about smart quotes, where the ”  key does not place the appropriate character in for quotes or apostrophes, as can be seen in their example below. Instead the appropriate glyph should be used instead.

Smashing Magazine - Smart and Dumb quotes
Courtesy of Smashing Magazine

Below is an image I took that shows me changing over the ‘dumb quotes’ to smart ones, a time consuming, but satisfying process as it noticeably picked up the quality of the type.

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 20.28.03

Using the correct glyphs for measurement:

In the same Smashing Magazine article I discussed in the above section, they also mention how the & key used to represent measurement in feet and inches is also incorrect, and should be replaced instead by a prime and double-prime glyph.

Courtesy of Smashing Magazine

The St. Luke’s Church spread features a paragraph where the dimensions of the church’s internal space are discussed, so here it was important to put this advice into practice, as can be seen in the screenshot below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 20.32.32


Overall I am very pleased with the typographic improvements I have made to the St. Luke’s Church book, certainly I have learnt a lot about the finer details that make good typography excellent, and feel I can also take this knowledge forward to benefit future projects.