4 tricks of the eye to master typesetting

Going beyond the common typesetting rules, we have pulled together the latest in psychology research to advise how best to typeset your copy, for both your readers and their eyes.

Typesetting and in particular tracking plays a huge part in ensuring your copy is legible. The temptation to track back copy to fit it into one page can cause illegible, and well, ugly typesetting. When tracking is used alongside research into the familiarity of words[^n], size of text[^n] and whether the copy is set in a serif or sans serif[^n], some small but important differences arise.

1. Familiarity of words

If you are writing about more complex concepts and unfamiliar words keep tracking wider. The reading speed and comprehension of unfamiliar words are more affected when they are condensed. This is compounded when using serif typefaces.[^n]

2. Size of text

In a study by Yu-Chi Tai, an Associate Professor of Visual Science, the default spacing of typefaces appears to be just large enough to remove the influence of letter crowding. At smaller type sizes, this is not the case. For smaller typefaces – 10pt and below, wider tracking is recommended to maintain letter clarity and word comprehension.[^n] Wider tracking enhances readability of a word and comprehension. To drop into the science of why; this is due to less crowding in the retinal display - the eye[^n] and less competition in the visual cortex of the brain during comprehsnsion.[^n] [^n]

3. Serifs

Serifs carry the horizontal line of the eye along the path of reading, making them easier to read[^n]. When condensed however, serif legibility drops significantly. With the character of the letters appearing the merge into one. This reduces the ability to quickly distinguish letters and slows comprehension. Serif fonts also suffered more from condensed spacing at smaller sizes than sans serif fonts

4. Rhythm

The cognition behind the process of reading prefers inputs at a constant rhythm. The eye subconsciously adapts its behaviour and movements (saccades) to adapt to different work tracking and the rhythm of the text.

The ideal typography should aim to construct text layout to hook reader’s attention and facilitate a regular, rhythmical eye movements and reading rate.”

To aid this rhythm, preference left justified text, be conscious of line orphans and widows, hanging quotes, rivers of white in copy and ragged edges. Notice the huge differences between the two samples below, one set in default settings, the other adjusted to optimise typesetting for your readers.

__ References [^1]: Tai, Y-C. The Magic of Spacing in Text Display. In Evaluation of Fonts for Digital Publishing and Display 2011

[^3]: Bex, P.J., Dakin, S.C., & Simmers, A.J. The shape and size of crowding for moving targets. 2003 [^4]: Tai, Y-C. The Magic of Spacing in Text Display. In Evaluation of Fonts for Digital Publishing and Display 2011

[^6]: Flom, M.C., Weymouth, F.W., & Kahneman, D. Visual Resolution and Contour Interaction. 1963 [^7]: He, S., Cavanagh, P., & Intriligator, J. Attentional resolution and the locus of visual awareness. 1996 [^8]: Bex, P.J., Dakin, S.C., & Simmers, A.J. (2003). The shape and size of crowding for moving targets [^9]: Perfect, C. Austen, J. The complete typographer: A manual for designing with type. 1992.

 
 
Screenshot 2019-04-13 at 11.56.14.png

Pellentesque sodales molestie orci, sit amet tincidunt urna maximus sed. Curabitur maximus ornare ullamcorper. Donec pharetra, lectus ut fermentum dignissim, justo nunc dignissim augue, nec molestie dolor felis at lacus. Morbi ut tortor erat. Integer hendrerit euismod augue, sed ultricies magna iaculis a. Nullam lectus enim, congue eu mi ut, auctor posuere tortor. Cras sapien elit, tempor a tempor egestas, elementum in lorem. Vestibulum eu odio bibendum, tincidunt nunc a, iaculis felis. Aenean ac purus eros. Donec egestas, urna non ullamcorper pulvinar, dui eros vehicula velit, iaculis hendrerit felis justo sed turpis. Nunc iaculis magna placerat elit imperdiet posuere. Curabitur vel auctor lorem, eget fermentum lectus. Maecenas aliquam eros sed pellentesque tempor. Pellentesque blandit ultrices dapibus. Vivamus venenatis lacinia felis. Aliquam ipsum metus, ullamcorper quis luctus eget, iaculis et est.

dffdgdfg fdgd fgfdg dfgdfgfdg
Screenshot 2019-04-13 at 11.56.14.png

Pellentesque sodales molestie orci, sit amet tincidunt urna maximus sed. Curabitur maximus ornare ullamcorper. Donec pharetra, lectus ut fermentum dignissim, justo nunc dignissim augue, nec molestie dolor felis at lacus. Morbi ut tortor erat. Integer hendrerit euismod augue, sed ultricies magna iaculis a. Nullam lectus enim, congue eu mi ut, auctor posuere tortor. Cras sapien elit, tempor a tempor egestas, elementum in lorem. Vestibulum eu odio bibendum, tincidunt nunc a, iaculis felis. Aenean ac purus eros. Donec egestas, urna non ullamcorper pulvinar, dui eros vehicula velit, iaculis hendrerit felis justo sed turpis. Nunc iaculis magna placerat elit imperdiet posuere. Curabitur vel auctor lorem, eget fermentum lectus. Maecenas aliquam eros sed pellentesque tempor. Pellentesque blandit ultrices dapibus. Vivamus venenatis lacinia felis. Aliquam ipsum metus, ullamcorper quis luctus eget, iaculis et est.

 
 
Screenshot 2019-04-13 at 11.55.49.png