Re: Single Spacing, Double Spacing, and Doing It Ones Own Way

Subject: Re: Single Spacing, Double Spacing, and Doing It Ones Own Way
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- oddpost -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 18:18:26 -0700 (PDT)

As I have previously discussed off-list with Stephen, with well-designed proportional type a double space between sentences is somewhat against the intent of the type designer. In fact, in text that has many fairly short sentences, it winds up with somewhat unsightly "rivers" of white space that break up the look of the paragraph. (FYI, I even sent him a number of Web references on the subject some weeks ago. I must say, I admire his obduracy in the face of the overwhelming opinion of type designers and layout artists!).

Furthermore, to say it "doesn't look right" is merely to seek to amplify that one's eye is not particularly developed.

However, I, too, would agree that this is hardly a "deal breaker" so long as a prospective writer could and would follow a corporate style guide.

If, though, I were interviewing several writers for a position that involved writing marketing collateral or perhaps editing final versions of websites or newsletters--and the only apparent difference in skill and experience was that one "thought that double spacing looked better" and thus wished to set his own "convention" on the subject, I would hire the other one. Life is too short to be involved in such minutiae if there are no offsetting competencies on the part of the one who wishes to "go his own way" on such things, I believe.

At one time, when nearly all communication was either typewritten or produced by professional typesetters, I too became accustomed to a double space between sentences. Fortunately, I evolved along with the technology and my eye for design and typography improved along with it.

Regarding leading, I have found that few computer programs are particularly good at their default settings for leading. Most often, they seem merely to apply a multiplier to the point size of the selected face that is based upon some "average" set of specs. Because fonts vary so much in apparent size, and because other concerns such as line length must also be taken into account, I have found that such an "average" treatment generally yields distinctly "average" results. Consider the two most common fonts we find on computers today: Times (New) Roman and Arial. I am sure you have noticed that for any given point size, the visual appearance of the Arial is always much larger than that of Times. A leading based upon a multiple of that point size, therefore, looks quite different when using one as compared to using the other.


-----Original Message from "Wright, Lynne" <lwright -at- positron911 -dot- com>-----

As someone who spent a decade working as a typesetter, I can confirm that
the double space after a period convention went out of fashion when people
stopped using typewriters. Because letters were put on the page
mechanically, each character took up the same amount of horizontal space, so
a double-space was used after a period to help visually define the end of
sentences within a paragraph. ...


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Single Spacing, Double Spacing, and Doing It Ones Own Way: From: Wright, Lynne

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