18. THE NON-DESIGNER'S TYPE BOOK
Points and picas
When you're working with type, you need to work in points and picas. It's
just like using inches and feet, but the sizes are smaller—there are 12 inches
in a foot; there are 12 points in a pica. But like I said, points and picas are
much smaller—there are 6 picas in 1 inch (which makes 72 points, then, in
Even if you've never formally worked with points before, you have a pretty
good idea about how big 10-point type is as opposed to 24-point type
because you choose and use point sizes of type on your computer all the
time. So don't get nervous, just be conscious about those tiny sizes and try
to use them more often. When your software, for instance, gives you a
choice of using points or inches or lines, try using points. Once you start
doing it, you'll probably find that it is actually easier to use points. I have
a much clearer idea of how much space will be between the paragraphs if
I ask for 6 points than if I ask for .083 inches. And I get confused about
whether .083 inches is more or less than .072 inches, but I know darn well
that 10 points is more than 8 points. Try dividing an 11-inch page into
thirds. Ha! But change the measurement to picas, and the page is 66 picas,
which is much easier to divide into thirds.
In general, we measure type sizes in points, and the space between lines or
paragraphs in points. When measuring distances, such as the length of a
line or the depth of a block of text, we use picas. Combining the two
measurements is just like combining feet and inches: just as we write
6'2" (6 feet, 2 inches), we write 3p4 (3 picas, 4 points).
Just so you know, traditionally (before desktop publishing) 72 points did
not equal exactly 1 inch (it was a tiny smidgeon off). But when the
Macintosh was created with a screen resolution of exactly 72 pixels per
inch, our measurements for points became, on the Mac and then later on
the PC, exactly 72 points per inch. Some software will let you override this
standard, computerized amount and change it back to the traditional
amount, but it's just about never necessary to do that.
3n which we briejtu explore
the historu of the world ana
how it affects tupoaraphu,
ana how this in turn affects
mur tupoaraphic choices.
uont skip this chapter-----
manu references will ve made
to the categories of tupe
as described herein.