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Old 11-15-2005, 05:30 PM   #1
BobRoosth
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Default Optimum (more or less) font size

I am working on a more or less academic journal in ID (CS not CS2). Page size is 8.5x11 trimmed. Duplicating last year's layout, I ended up with three 14 p columns, 1p6 gutters. 10/13 American Garamond. Justified. This doesn't leave a lot of white space on the pages.

Should I increase the outside margins (and narrow the columns)? Is this a reasonable font size/leading combo for this column size? Should I modify ID's default H&J settings? Should I consider another font?

All are questions I should have asked before laying out a bunch of pages, but it is nowhere near done.
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Old 11-15-2005, 07:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRoosth
I am working on a more or less academic journal in ID (CS not CS2). Page size is 8.5x11 trimmed. Duplicating last year's layout, I ended up with three 14 p columns, 1p6 gutters. 10/13 American Garamond. Justified. This doesn't leave a lot of white space on the pages.

Should I increase the outside margins (and narrow the columns)? Is this a reasonable font size/leading combo for this column size? Should I modify ID's default H&J settings? Should I consider another font?
Doesn’t sound like a standard sort of academic journal, which normally would have two columns and fairly wide margins.

Here are some rules of thumb, assuming justified text:

Leave 1 pica gutter between columns.

The text area should be about 50% of the page area. Typically, the margins vary, with the narrowest at the spine, wider at the top, still wider on the outside, and widest at the bottom. Running headers or footers fit in the margins. The spine margin should be wide enough that it is easy to read the pages — probably 3/4 inch or so, depending on binding.

I would use two columns, and select type size so that you fit an average of 60 characters (no fewer than 55, no more than 70) per column line.

I would choose a typeface designed in the desktop digital era. Adobe Garamond would be better than American Garamond, for example. (I would probably use Miller, just because of its exquisite fit.) The leading would depend — if you end up using 10 point type, then 13 might work (depends on the face).

You often need to modify any application’s default H&Js, based on the font you are using. Older fonts (which originated in metal type eras) are likely to have excessively wide word spaces. If you were using American Garamond (which is a Bitstream knockoff of Garamond No. 3, or ATF Garamond) is a bit wide. For that I would try Min 67% / Desired 80% / Max 130%. For Miller Text, which is more closely spaced to begin with, try 75% / 85% / 133% (and maybe even 80% / 90% / 125%). And use Metrics (not Optical) spacing.

Set a couple of paragraphs and look. You want very narrow word spaces, but not so narrow as to obscure word shapes.

I prefer to let the computer hyphenate as often as it needs to — then I go through manually and fiddle to reduce these to a dull roar; but if it takes having 4 hypens or even 5 in a row to preserve even spacing, that’s okay.

InDesign’s Paragraph Composer does a pretty good job.

Does this help?

   
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Old 11-15-2005, 09:51 PM   #3
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You are so good. Thanks. The current font is, indeed, Bitstream's AmeriGaramond. I also have Adobe Garamond and Adobe Garamond Pro. I rather like the idea of using Pro becuase it has two additoinal weights and the added ligatures. If I switch to the 67/80/130, it sets about the same number of characters/line. Don't have Miller.

I didn't see the Adobe versions because they sort under G and American Garamond sorts under A. It didn't register that AGaramond is Adobe, not Ameircan.....

As it is, I am under you optimal count, so switching to two column would make sense. Might make a lot of things easier to deal with.
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Old 11-16-2005, 06:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by BobRoosth
I also have Adobe Garamond and Adobe Garamond Pro. I rather like the idea of using Pro becuase it has two additoinal weights and the added ligatures. If I switch to the 67/80/130, it sets about the same number of characters/line.
You might be better off at 67/78/100.

These adjustments are not designed to control the number of characters/line — they are meant to produce properly (tightly) set text. However, if you set them as tight as I have suggested here, you will need to fuss more, and the job may not warrant that much work. Letter spacing is always set to 0/0/0.

I just set examples in 10/12 and 11/13, and I find the 11 point more comfortable to read and about right for a two-column arrangement. Or 10.5 might work.

   
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Old 11-16-2005, 04:39 PM   #5
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I am going to reset a couple of pages two column in a couple of fonts and I'll play with 10, 10.5 and 11. I have had a complaint that the current type is a bit small. I know it prints light on my laser printer, but is an OLD HP LJ4. And the toner cart is on its last pages.
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Old 11-16-2005, 05:48 AM   #6
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Kathleen,

Can you arrange to have this pinned on the wall of every new/young graphic designer?!

Best wishes, Adrian
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Old 11-16-2005, 11:37 AM   #7
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Can you arrange to have this pinned on the wall of every new/young graphic designer?!
Now that is an amusing notion! (Does it have to be on the wall?

   
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Old 11-16-2005, 08:04 AM   #8
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KT, you casually threw in "Use Metrics (not Optical) spacing. Would you elaborate? I have no clue when to use one or the other, or why.

   
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Old 11-16-2005, 10:42 AM   #9
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The metrics are built into the font and manually defined by the designer of the font. Optical spacing is algorithmically calculated by the application (InDesign) based on the shapes of the letters. Metric spacing will invariably be better for standard text sizes - assuming a professionally designed font of course. Optical spacing is useful when using different fonts together on the same word or line (e.g. roman and italic) that obviously can't contain mutual kerning/spacing info - or perhaps unusual (read 'foreign') letter combinations not anticipated by the designer. It's also useful for headlines that differ widely from the font's design size.

   
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Old 11-18-2005, 07:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Petersen
The metrics are built into the font and manually defined by the designer of the font. Optical spacing is algorithmically calculated by the application (InDesign) based on the shapes of the letters. Metric spacing will invariably be better for standard text sizes - assuming a professionally designed font of course. Optical spacing is useful when using different fonts together on the same word or line (e.g. roman and italic) that obviously can't contain mutual kerning/spacing info - or perhaps unusual (read 'foreign') letter combinations not anticipated by the designer. It's also useful for headlines that differ widely from the font's design size.
Thank you! Very simply put and I now understand.

   
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