THE NON-DESIGNER'S TYPE BOOK
This is a law: neuer use the underline feature. An underline means
one thing: italicize this word. I know you were taught to underline
titles of books, but that's because the typewriter (or your teacher)
couldn't set italics. And underlining italic text is one of the most
redundant things you can do in life. I know you sometimes under¬
lined to emphasize a headline or a word, but that's because you
didn't know how to make the type bolder or bigger or a different
face. Now you know. Now you have no excuse.
Drawing a rule ("rule" means line) under text is very different from
hitting the underline keystroke. When you draw a rule you have
control over how thick it is, how long it is, and how far below the
type it sits. But when you tell your computer to underline, the line
bumps into the letters, obscures the descenders, is a clunky thick¬
ness, and looks dumb.
13. All caps
All caps are more difficult to read. That's just a fact: we recognize
a word not only by its letters, but by the shape of the whole word.
When text is in all caps, every word has the same shape so we have
to go back to reading letter by letter.
All caps are fine sometimes, when you consciously choose to accept
their lower readability because you need the look of all caps. But
when you're setting headlines, subheads, lists in a parts directory,
catalog entries, or other items that need to be skimmed and
absorbed quickly, all are read more easily and quickly if they are in
lowercase. If you use all caps because you want the words to stand
out, or because it makes them appear larger and you think it's easier
to read, THINK AGAIN. Find an alternate solution, such as bold
lowercase, more space surrounding the text, a difiere III fypefiiee, a rule
beneath," [Ior above the text.
32: TELLTALE SIGNS OF DESKTOP PUBLISHING
And of course no one reading this book would ever put a font like
Zapf Chancery in all caps. And outlined and shadowed. Score
fifty-one points for yourself if you do. The capital letters in script
faces are always more elaborate because they are meant as swash
characters to introduce a word. When you set these froufrou letters
in all caps, they bump into each other, overlap where they
shouldn't, fit poorly together, and generally look stupid. Add the
outline and shadow and you have the worst possible typography on
earth, worse than any grunge type you may cringe at.
If you scored above three points, don't worry. Creating professional-level
type is mainly a matter of becoming more aware of details. It usually
doesn't take any more time to do it "right," and it is certainly not difficult
to gain control over these details. If you scored less than three, then
congratulations, and consider it your obligation to gently teach others the
things you know.