Type Alignment

Type Alignment


In this lesson, you will be able to define and recognize type alignments and best practices for their use.

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Visual Communications

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Video Transcription

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario. And I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on type alignment.

So today, we will learn to define and recognize type alignment and the best practices for their use. So as always, feel free to pause, fast forward, and rewind, as you see fit. And then, when you're ready to go, let's begin.

Let's start off by talking a little bit about alignment. And we'll touch on different types of alignments in just a minute. But for now, let's stick with it. And alignment is important, because in the Western world, you read from left to right. So finding the beginning of each line is very important for easy reading.

It's basic, I know, but just stick with me as we move on to margins, which is a white space which frames the elements in a page layout. So here's an example of margins. And this is a common 8 1/2 by 11 sheet, with a half inch margin, which is quite common, as well as an inch and 3/4s.

Now let's jump back a bit and talk about alignment again and how text is aligned. In lines of text type can align on a margin, as seen here. And type alignment is typically considered a paragraph attribute. So text type can be aligned together either with left alignment, as you can see here-- left side-- right alignment-- so back towards the right-- centered alignment-- straight down the middle-- justified-- more square-- and finally, free form alignment. So various types of alignment.

Now, left aligned and justified alignments are easier and less tiring to read, which is why they are most common. And if we look at these examples, the red highlight represents your eye flow, and the blue dot is the starting point, and the green is the ending point. And you can see the shape that starts to develop as your eye scans the page.

So left aligned, as seen here, and justified have the most uniform shape. It's tidier and it almost completely creates this kind of square rectangular form. And it creates a smoother eye flow, compared to the centered and right alignments, as you see here.

This creates more kind of like a corkscrew. And this is just kind of this like odd shape. It almost looks like a hand with fingers. So typically these alignments are used in moderation for this reason. It's just not as easy on your eyes.

Now, it's also worth noting that alignments with right edges like this, where you have all these-- it's just not very tidy, it's kind of messy edges-- is considered informal. Whereas, justified is considered formal. So you might have submitted a few papers in school that had to be set with a justified alignment at some point in time for some something, some sort of project either in high school or college, and overall looks a lot tidier and is easier to read on top of it.

So everyone, that ends today's lesson. We'll conclude with our key terms, quite a bit today-- margins, eye flow, free form, left alignment, right alignment, centered alignment, and justified alignment. So I hope you've enjoyed this lesson with me today. My name is Mario. And I will see you next lesson.

  • Margins

    White space which frames the elements in a page layout.

  • Eye Flow

    The path of a viewer's eye.

  • Free Form

    Lines of type which do not appear to follow a strict justified or right, left or centered alignment.

  • Left Alignment

    Lines of type which are aligned to a left margin and ragged on the right.

  • Right Alignment

    Lines of type which align to right margin and are ragged on the left.

  • Centered Alignment 

    Lines of type which are aligned along a central axis.

  • Justified Alignment

    Lines of type which are spaced to align along both a left and a right margin, creating a block.