Typesetting: There is so much we can learn from tradition

InDesign can do a lot automatically. And that could actually be good enough. Sometimes…for some projects.

But with longer texts of quality, good enough isn’t good enough. When you need the reader to be able to find what they’re looking for (display type) and then to be fully absorbed in reading (body copy), a reliable font and InDesign’s default H&J settings aren’t going to get you there.

It takes skill and knowledge and even experimentation, since every text is different.

I like to look back to see how typesetters used to do it. How did they (sometimes) achieve a smooth, even page that was inviting and yet somehow disappeared as you were reading it, so it was just you and the story…no words visible?

A traditional page grid makes a good place to practice this skill. My video above shows what that looks like in action.

...use type in ways that are more readable, more beautiful, and, most importantly, more expressive of their graphic intent.—Betty Binns, a woman who really know how to do it!