The Art and Science of Typesetting
When writing a book or other written project, we rarely think about how the words we write will look on the finished page.
That’s where typesetting comes in.
Typesetting is what our readers see. It’s a crucial aspect of the reading experience and helps your words make the biggest impact without distracting from what you’re trying to say.
So, what exactly is typesetting?
Typesetting is the arrangement of words on the page, alongside other elements like font type, font sizes, and line spacing.
But it’s not as simple as choosing a font and sticking with it. It’s about selecting the correct font size and corresponding font sizes for things like titles or chapter headings.
Typesetting also involves choosing a font that compliments the text and its intended audience. Think about it. Would a medical journal work if the font was Comic Sans?
How about a romance novel? You might think flowing, joined script would be the way to go, but that could cause serious readability issues for some readers.
If your typesetting is poor, you can guarantee your reader will notice because it will distract them. However, if your typesetting is good, it can complement the overall reading experience.
Typesetting is not a modern invention.
Think back to the first printing presses, you might have seen one in a TV show or film, where every individual letter was arranged into a frame, slathered with ink and pressed to create a print.
It was an arduous, time-consuming, expensive process, thankfully made much more accessible through modern technology and software solutions.
But there’s still a lot to consider.
When creating any document or piece of text, remember the five foundations of good typesetting:
tracking (space between letters)
padding (space between the text and the page margin)
hierarchy (how you’ll organise different sections of text)
To better understand what typesetting will best compliment your project, it pays to do your research. Be sure to look at other texts that match your topic, audience, or style and take notes. Alternatively, for a more professional output, consider hiring a professional typesetting service.