text formatting

Specimen of fonts offered by William Caslon, 1728.

When I tell peo­ple I write about typog­ra­phy, they often say,Oh, you mean fonts?”

Yes and no. Sure, fonts are an impor­tant part of typog­ra­phy. But as you’ve been find­ing out, there’s much more to typog­ra­phy than fonts.

Sim­i­larly, there’s more to text for­mat­ting than what font to use. Text for­mat­ting includes every­thing that affects the appear­ance of the char­ac­ters on the page—not just fonts, but also point size, bold or italic styles, and letterspacing.

The first part of this chap­ter cov­ers basic and advanced for­mat­ting rules. The sec­ond part is a gallery of font recommendations —for those ready to look beyond the lim­i­ta­tions of system fonts.

In this chap­ter, there aren’t as many bright lines between cor­rect and incor­rect habits as in the last chap­ter. You won’t be able to get by on rote appli­ca­tion of rules. You’ll need to start mak­ing typo­graphic judg­ments of your own.