Month: January 2018

Settling the Widow and Orphan debate

There seem to be different opinions on what is called an orphan and a widow. The Chicago Manual of Style and Robert Bringhurst in the Elements of Typographic Style agree:

Widow: A paragraph-ending line that falls at the beginning of the following page or column, thus separated from the rest of the text. (They have a past but no future.)

Orphan: A paragraph-opening line that appears by itself at the bottom of a page or column, thus separated from the rest of the text. (They have no past but a future.)

Single word at the end of a paragraph sometimes referred to as a runt: also a problem for the reader and needs to be resolved.

You can call them whatever you want, maybe widphans or ordows? They are a problem and need to be fixed!



Butterick’s Practical Typography is a wonderful resource. If you are in a hurry it gives you what you need to know about type in ten minutes, but it also serves as an interactive text book covering the basics and specifics in clickable bits.

Good ty­pog­ra­phy is mea­sured by how well it re­in­forces the mean­ing of the text, not by some ab­stract scale of merit.

Here is a sampling of what you will find.

  1. The four most im­por­tant ty­po­graphic choices you make in any doc­u­ment are point sizeline spac­ingline length, and font, be­cause those choices de­ter­mine how the body text looks.
  2. point size should be 10–12 points in printed doc­u­ments, 15-25 pix­els on the web.
  3. line spac­ing should be 120–145% of the point size.
  4. The av­er­age line length should be 45–90 char­ac­ters (in­clud­ing spaces).
  5. The eas­i­est and most vis­i­ble im­prove­ment you can make to your ty­pog­ra­phy is to use a pro­fes­sional font, like those found in font rec­om­men­da­tions.
  6. Avoid goofy fontsmono­spaced fonts, and sys­tem fonts, es­pe­cially times new ro­man and Arial.
  7. Use curly quo­ta­tion marks, not straight ones (see straight and curly quotes).
  8. Put only one space be­tween sen­tences.
  9. Don’t use mul­ti­ple word spaces or other white-space char­ac­ters in a row.
  10. Never use un­der­lin­ing, un­less it’s a hyperlink.
  11. Use cen­tered text sparingly.
  12. Use bold or italic as lit­tle as possible.
  13. all caps are fine for less than one line of text.
  14. If you don’t have real small caps, don’t use them at all.
  15. Use 5–12% ex­tra let­terspac­ing with all caps and small caps.
  16. kern­ing should al­ways be turned on.
  17. Use first-line in­dents that are one to four times the point size of the text, or use 4–10 points of space be­tween para­graphs. But don’t use both.
  18. If you use jus­ti­fied text, also turn on hy­phen­ation.
  19. Don’t con­fuse hy­phens and dashes, and don’t use mul­ti­ple hy­phens as a dash.
  20. Use am­per­sands spar­ingly, un­less in­cluded in a proper name.
  21. In a doc­u­ment longer than three pages, one ex­cla­ma­tion point is plenty (see ques­tion marks and ex­cla­ma­tion points).
  22. Use proper trade­mark and copy­right sym­bols—not al­pha­betic approximations.
  23. Put a non­break­ing space af­ter para­graph and sec­tion marks.
  24. Make el­lipses us­ing the proper char­ac­ter, not pe­ri­ods and spaces.
  25. Make sure apos­tro­phes point downward.
  26. Make sure foot and inch marks are straight, not curly.


Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 6.25.18 PM



Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning). The term typography is also applied to the style, arrangement, and appearance of the letters, numbers, and symbols.

Information Design

Information design is the practice of presenting information in a way that fosters efficient and effective understanding of it. The term has come to be used specifically for graphic design for displaying information effectively, rather than just attractively or for artistic expression. Information design is closely related to the field of data visualization.

Link toTypography and Information Design Syllabus:

Type & Info Des Syllabus – Koren 2018