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Common Typesetting Errors to Avoid
and Proper Typography Fundamentals
Sometimes a graphic designer throws caution to the wind and "breaks all the rules" on purpose, but this should be rare.
There are hard-and-fast rules of correct typography, grammar, punctuation, and just "good taste" that should be followed for professional presentations.
- Use only one space after punctuation
remember that typesetting does not follow the rules of typing
- Don't use double-hard returns after paragraphs
professional use "space before paragraph" and "space after paragraph" instead
- Do not use hyphens as a substitute for
the en dash and em dash
- Use proper typographical punctuation
use single and double quotation marks (“a” NOT "a")
- Avoid "widows" and "orphans"
a widow is paragraph-ending line that falls at the beginning of the following
page/column, thus separated from the remainder of the text;
an orphan is a paragraph-opening line that appears by itself at the bottom of a page/column
or a word, part of a word, or very short line that appears by itself at the
end of a paragraph
- Periods, commas and quote marks
(in the USA) periods and commas go INSIDE quotation marks:
incorrect: “after”, correct: “before,” closing quotation marks
- Use fewer fonts
You should stick to one serif font (like Times or Courier) and one sans serif font
(like Arial or Helvetica) unless your are versed in professional typography.
Mixing too many font faces and styles looks garish and is the mark of an amateur
- Use plenty of white space
leave lots of white space for easy reading
- Use italics sparingly
- Use ALL CAPS and bold sparingly
Over-use of all capitals and bold type appear as if they are yelling at the reader
- Use flush left type (ragged-right) & fully justified type (more formal)
choose type alignment carefully; use centered text sparingly, there are only a few
instances where centering type works well, such as an invitation
- Never use script fonts in all caps
- Using italics, not underlining
underlining is the way people who type a manuscript indicate to the typesetter
that certain words or phrases should be italicized
By taking care to avoid these common typesetting errors and following traditional typography methods your documents will have a much more polished and professional appearance.