A World of Typographic Sin

David at Typographer.org points out the latest article that shows us how we’re doing it all wrong. He’s right; if you’re really concerned about such things, get The Elements of Typographic Style, and develop an informed opinion on how and when to break the rules, by learning those rules. As I’ve written before, one of the main reasons we use the typographic approximations we do is the keyboard itself, from its development in typewriters to today’s use with computers. If you would rather the world was divided cleanly between typesetters and those who type, then you will never be satisfied - it’s never going to happen. We live in a world of what we might term hybrid-typography, where we routinely use many typographic techniques and tools not available to the typist, but not all the ones available to the typesetter. We rely on Word (say) to convert three dots to an ellipsis, a dash to an em-dash, straight quotes to curved, but we don’t get interpuncts in prices, multiplication symbols in dimensions or true primes in measurements. Well, not most of the time anyway. We could try putting them in, but as many people have complained, many fonts don’t have primes, never mind mathematical symbols, interpuncts or even true degree symbols. Of course, that’s only if you’re using poor quality fonts*. Then, of course, we could just all use typewriters again, but unless you’re a first-year design student that…

type-type

* I use the term font, as distinct from typeface, here. The typeface may have the design of the symbol, but it’s not certain whether the font would.