Becoming type-savvy is like learning to see in a new way. It takes learning, understanding, and digesting the basics, then lots of practice paying close attention to the type that is all around us. Details in the typography of ads, magazines, book covers, movie titles, and credits–even bus and subway posters–will become progressively more apparent to the eye. And details are key. You should never be comfortable with your type until all the details are fine-tuned and tweaked to perfection.

Once the actual type is formatted, it is time to make it visually appealing. The typography should look readable, inviting, and not be disrupted by typographic distractions, which, although seemingly insignificant, can make a huge difference in the appearance of your text.


Hyphenated words are a necessary evil in much typesetting. They allow for a better looking, tighter rag and help achieve a more natural block of justified type that needs less stretching and squeezing (the spaces, that is!). They also allow you to fit more words in a line.

It is generally considered acceptable to have two lines in a row ending in a hyphenated word–but no more. Be careful not to have too many hyphenated line endings in a paragraph, even if they are not in successive rows, as they affect readability. Most design software allows you to customize the hyphenation preferences to your liking. Familiarize yourself with this function, as it is essential to getting ...

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