The Editorial Apartment

The spaces in and around words

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When I review final copy that has been poured into a design, i.e., when I’m looking at something in the layout stage, I don’t just reread the text. I look at the spacing around and within the text too. Is the text being cut off? Is the text readable?

At this point, the designer may have played with some of the copy, especially the headline, which can become a graphical element within the design. The designer has leeway and may even forgo some punctuation marks. As long as the text is readable and the message isn’t lost, this is fine and interesting to see.

Kerning is especially important (where there are no special effects applied). I may not know how to perfect kerning, but I notice and will point out where it seems too tight or too open, making words and sentences unreadable and slowing the reader down. I’ve come to believe that if there are no such kerning (or leading and awkward line break) problems, it is one mark of a good designer or production artist.

Experiment with kerning yourself with this online game called Kern Type.


Author: copyeditorgwen

I am a copy editor and my office is my apartment. I copyedit or proofread a wide range of digital and print marketing communications, as well as books and textbooks. Contact me if you need editorial help. My rates are reasonable, my work thorough, my turnaround fast. Visit my WordPress website:

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