THE NON-DESIGNER'S TYPE BOOK
A centered alignment also gives a particular look to text: a more formal,
sedate, and potentially more boring sort of look. People who are just begin¬
ning to work with text tend to center everything because it's safe. It's
symmetrical. It fills the space, everything balances automatically. However,
a centered alignment can create a dreadfully dull piece, and it often creates
an amateurish page.
A centered alignment has consistent letter and word spacing, but you have
to keep finding the beginning of the lines as you read so it is not the most
readable arrangement. But if you're going to do it, then do it. Make it clear
that the text is centered, not just poorly justified. Varying line lengths make
the page visually interesting. Also, a centered alignment gives you a chance
to group the lines into logical thoughts. And remember, there's never an
excuse for hyphenated words.
CA* uAttfi tfie tance ! oZetj\hj бе илшнфшм-,
yj/o j(eei) tii ними, wfieu, uo-utii/ cuuì uCeoau/ue.- и/teet
io cfuue tfie иимллілш fiüHHJ worn. Ruinu feet.
This is nice, but it doesn't have much strength or passion;
it's hard to tell the poem is centered.
CÂi wìtfi tfie cauce !
o¿et< Ъял te luicütc/iiieC;
/yo jíeep tit толлиі, wfieuy youtfv алла ptnujiui^ uicet
Lo cfuue tfie аимллшл fiou/u>
with /lyiuu /cet.
This layout has a much more intriguing shape.
Take advantage of the flexibility of centered lines.
Also read "Consider those phrases" on page 120.
When you justify text, the computer forces the lines to extend to a certain
length by adding or deleting space between the words, and sometimes
between the letters. Some programs let you specify the minimum and
maximum amounts the spacing can adjust, but the computer will override
your specifications if necessary.
The greatest problem with justified text, both in terms of readability and
aesthetics, is the uneven word spacing and letter spacing: some lines have
extra spacing, some less. This irregularity is visually disturbing and inter¬
rupts reading. The shorter the line length in relation to the size of the type,
the worse this problem becomes because there are fewer words between
which to add or delete space (see below).
One simple rule for determining whether a line length is "long enough" to
justify is this: The line length in picas should be twice the point size of the
type: if you're using 12-point type, the minimum line length before you
should try to justify is 24 picas (6 picas equal 1 inch). This line length you
are reading is 28p6 (28 picas, 6 points), and the type size is 11.6.
For many years, justified type reigned supreme as the way to set most text.
But the trend over the past couple of decades has been to allow the natural
spacing of flush left text to dominate, losing the structured look of the
"block" of text, but maximizing readability.
So sweet a kiss the
golden sun gives not to
those fresh morning
drops upon the rose, as
thy eye-beams, when
their fresh rays have
smote the night of dew
that on my cheeks down
flows: nor shines the
silver moon one half so
bright through the trans¬
parent bosom of the deep,
as doth thy face through
tears of mine give light;
thou shinest in every
tear that I do weep.
Loir's Labour's Last
So sweet a kiss the golden sun gives not to those fresh morning drops
upon the rose, as thy eye-beams, when their fresh rays have smote the
night of dew that on my cheeks down flows: nor shines the silver moon
one half so bright through the transparent bosom of the deep, as doth
thy face through tears of mine give light; thou shinest in every tear that
I do weep.
William Shakespeare, Lauti Labour's Last
Even with a long-enough line length, you will still
get uneven word spacing when you justify the text.
But notice how terrible the word spacing is in the
example to the left—hold the page at an angle,
squint, and you can see all the holes, and even
"rivers" of white space running through the type.
At least with a longer line, the gaps aren't so obvious.
Typeface is Bembo.