Monday, January 14, 2013

Type is Process

Design is one of those careers that everyday is practice, type especially. Anyone can plaster Helvetica in all caps on a page, but type takes year to be a true master. Type takes into consideration various details of type style, kerning, leading, word spacing, type size, and alignment. Mastering typography is not easy, and it will be something I will be working towards the rest of my life. Today is just another day of practice.

"Proper" kerning is to make consistent spacing between letters, visually, not necessarily measurable spacing. Line spacing is something else that is also considered in its best form when consistent through a paragraph and optimized for best legibility. Both of these terms come from back in printing press days. Leading, is the bars of lead that is used between lines of text.

In metal typesetting

The word kerning is a cognate of corner (that is, the two words have a common root). In the days when all type was cast metal, a corner was notched to a consistent height on one or both sides of a letter-piece. Such notched pieces were only set against one another, not against unnotched ones, which had straight sides. The corner allowed for a character's features to reach into the area normally taken up by the next character, for example the top bar of the T , or the right diagonal stroke of the V to hang over the top left corner of an a .

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