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Spacing

Spacing

Description:

In this lesson you will learn about letter and line spacing and how it is used to make type more readable.

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Tutorial

Source: Image of Movable Type, Creative Commons Image of Typography Line Terms, Public Domain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Typography_Line_... Image of War, Public Domain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WAR_Kerning.svg

Video Transcription

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Hi everyone. My name is Mario and I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on Spacing. So in this lesson, we're going to learn about letter and line spacing and how it is used to make type more readable. So very important. So feel free as always to pause, fast forward, and rewind at your own pace and when you're ready to go, let's get started.

All right, so let's start off with paragraph. And paragraph is more than one line of type. So when you're reading stuff online or writing a paper, you can see how paragraphs are formed by multiple lines of type. Paragraphs can be distinguished by indentations, like you can see here. It can also be distinguished when there's space between the bodies of text like you see here.

So our key term that's spelled "leading" but it's pronounced "letting" is another term for line spacing and it refers to the non-digital printing technique of using strips of lead to create the space between lines. Back when they used to use movable type, like in this image here, the negative space between each line of type was leading. And as I mentioned, this referred to the non-digital printing since there's no metal or lead between each line of text when you do this digitally.

The way this is measured is by the ascender height and descender height. Basically, if you look at this image here, you have your ascender height, which is the max height of the character here. And you can see that the h is a little taller and the p sets the descender height. So it's going to take both of those heights into account when it's setting leading.

So let's take a look at this example and you can see the difference how the leading is different in each column and it really affects the readability of each one. By default, leading in most page layout software is 20% of the size type but you can change leading or line spacing to fit your needs but it's best when it creates a comfortable reading experience. And as I mentioned, this works with ascenders and descenders in mind because you don't want them touching one another and overlapping. If we look at lines of text in blocks, this will be easier to really see how this works, you can really see the leading or line spacing between each line of text, that negative white area there.

So moving on to kerning. Kerning is the spacing between letter pairs and a headline, often adjusted to make the white space visually even. We have our example here of kerning and you can see that the spacing between the w and the a have a lot of negative space surrounding it up top here. So if you auto adjust it, it provides something similar to what you see here in the middle. And if you manually adjust it, then you have a bit more control over the spacing like you do in the bottom here. Here's another look at the negative space between letters. It's a minor adjustment, I know, but kerning really does change the look of headings and it's actually a pet peeve of mine, it really bugs me when I see headlines that haven't been adjusted. It's just one of those things.

So lastly, we have tracking. Tracking is the spacing over a range of letters and words in body copy, often adjusted for fit or style. And you can see that the spacing changes in each line here. And this is not to be confused with kerning. Tracking refers to the overall spacing of a word or line of text and it affects the overall spacing or density and readability of that particular block of text, whereas kerning is specific to spacing adjustments of two particular characters that don't appear equally spaced, like we saw with our war example, where the a and the r were equally spaced but the w and the a were too far apart and it just didn't appear unified. It didn't appear balanced.

Well everyone, that concludes today's lesson. We'll end with our key terms. Key terms for today-- paragraph, linespacing, leading, letterspacing, kerning, and tracking. Hope you've enjoyed this lesson with me today on spacing. My name is Mario and I will see you next lesson.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Tracking

    The spacing over a range of letters and words in body copy, often adjusted for fit or style.

  • Kerning

    The spacing between letter pairs in a headline, often adjusted to make the white space visually even.

  • Letterspacing

    The spacing between letter pairs.

  • Leading

    Pronounced "ledding", another term for linespacing, refers to the non-digital printing technique of using strips of lead to create the space between lines.

  • Linespacing

    The space between lines of type, usually measured in points. In computer program settings, the number used is the amount of linespacing added to the size of the type.

  • Paragraph

    More than one line of type.