Dessert First: Bringhurst

The Justified Measure, no. 1

I figured that if the goal was to get better at a justified measure, I might as well start by figuring out how one of the best in the biz did it. Go big or go home. And so…Hello, Mr. Bringhust!


It’s clear that I’m going to have to revisit this project. I got some right, but it’s still off in places. Worst: I added soft returns in two places to help things match the original… I’m guessing those soft returns are not in the original. I’d love to be able to figure out how to do it without those returns.


What’s odd is that the matchiness is not off throughout, which leads me to believe that I have the H&J almost right…but that it’s ital tracking and things like Optical Margin or Punctuation Spaces (instead of hairlines, etc.) that are throwing me off. (Super cute: A Punctuation Space in InDesign’s “show hidden characters” looks like a chunky exclamation point. I’ve never used one before.)


About midway through, I laid my version over a warped scan of the original and then worked back and forth to experiment with the details. I think I’ll try not to depend on that so much next time. Sure, it’s quicker and it does develop the eye a bit, but probably not as much as just looking back and forth between mine and the original would have.



Here’s what I came up with for H&J.

It’s partly a cheat, since Bringhurst says right in the copy that the letter spacing is +/-3% and the glyph scaling is +/-2%.


He doesn’t specify the word spacing, though. I tried a bunch of options, but ended up back at the default. I was surprised that the word spacing was left at the default…but then remembered that the font is Minion Pro…and that’s an Adobe font, so perhaps its designer (Robert Slimbach) created the kerning table to work well with the default H&J settings of InDesign? Brilliant. I can’t wait to think that smart!


More on the specs in my next post…