Guidelines for Good Typography

Good typography is about good document design, and is mainly a combination of common sense and keeping things simple. Look at attractive examples of documents that are similar to what you’re trying to create. The following list provides some basic guidelines.

  • Long lines of text are hard to read. Generally, a line should have 55 to 60 characters, or 9 to 10 words. Try multiple columns or, if you are stuck with a long line length, increase the leading (line spacing) slightly to make it easier for the eye to move from line to line.
  • White space on the page makes your document cleaner and easier to read.Use indents and bullets to highlight important points.
  • Use headings and subheadings to help your readers find the information they’re interested in.
  • Avoid using more than two type families on a page. Generally, one serif and one sans serif makes a nice mix. Using the sans serif for headlines and the serif for body text is a common and familiar formula.
  • Use italics and bold to highlight words and phrases, rather than using all uppercase — all uppercase is more difficult to read.
  • Left aligned (ragged right) text can be easier to read and looks less formal than full justification. Pick the alignment that matches the tone of your document.

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