What do you mean, I don’t kern enough?

When I first started working in the production department of the corrugated box shop, I knew what point size meant, I knew what CMYK meant and I might of known what  the plate process entailed. BUT, I was fresh out of college having just earned my degree in computer graphic design, what more could I need to know? Just click here, drop there and DONE! NOT!

When typesetting, there are terms you must keep in mind. These terms affect the flow and feel of your layout like a good outfit on an interview…first impressions.

Serif: The best way to explain this term is referring to the ornate stems and flourishes on lower case and upper case letters. Times Roman is a perfect example of serif type. This form of type is usually used in editorial print media and advertising. According to Wiki, this style was used since Roman times where carvings and brush strokes when print was composed on documents by hand.

Sans-serif: Is the opposite of serif type in the sense that type is very geometric in structure and “without” flourish. This a more modern form of type usually used in print media and preferred in website text for its ease of readability. Historically, according to Wiki, sans-serif type has been seen used in some Greek and Latin texts. It’s also a more modern “feeling” type and usually appeals to all markets because it’s easier to read and work with.

Typeface: According to Wiki (they better explain it) a typeface is a set of one or more fonts, in one or more sizes, designed with stylistic unity, each comprising a coordinated set of glyphs. A typeface usually comprises an alphabet of letters, numerals, and punctuation marks; it may also include ideograms and symbols, or consist entirely of them, for example, mathematical or map-making symbols. Times New Roman is an example of a typeface.

Kerning: Adjusting the space between characters to make text visually readable.

Leading: The spacing between lines of type (sentences). Usually rule of thumb is a point size or two wider than the overall type-size.

Greeking: The typesetter may need to proof layouts with Greek type or nonsense type which is either in latin or a mix of letters to show how the overall layout will look without the actual text. To repeat the same sentence over and over will not work in some cases because the word spacing will not accurately depict an actual paragraph of text.

Gutter: The column of space between columns of type. Too tight a gutter can cause confusion so usually I leave a 1/4 inch space between columns. Also need to leave, in most cases depending on the layout, a 1/4 inch on either side of a column of type.

My experiences working in the production department and at the newspaper (worked after leaving the production department) have give me the experience to understand and work with type. I have more terms to write about in future blogs but this should help you understand when discussing future jobs with your graphic designer.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to comment below.