Thursday, November 01, 2007

Notes to writers...

... from a print designer: do not put a double space after a full stop.

Since the advent of computer word processing, we have developed digital typefaces with advanced kerning* and double spaces are no longer necessary, to the extent that it is generally considered incorrect.

More importantly, what often happens is that you get sentences being indented by one space from the left margin (where the line break has come between the two spaces), so we designers have to go through removing all of your double-spaces and—even though we can automate this procedure—it's a bore.

* Apart from in monospaced typefaces, but you should not really be using those in print documents anyway.

9 comments:

Sam said...

Since the advent of computer word processing, we have developed the ability to treat any amount of consecutive whitespace as one space, and insert the appropriate amount of space at the end of a sentence.

If your software is stupid enough to break a line between a pair of spaces, I don't see how this is my problem. In fact, if your software does that, I'd put money on its output looking like crap whether or not it ends up trying to start a line with a space.

Charles Pooter said...

What can I say, it's a habit. I've stopped smoking, but not putting two spaces after a full stop? I don't think so.

wildgoose said...

Yes, I always put two spaces after a full stop as well - although LyX (for all us LaTeX users) just ignores the extra press of the space bar, throwing it away. What can I say? My mother used to teach typing...

Nick Housewife said...

Seconded by a sub-editor. Hunting down double spaces on print proofs is very tedious.

Could writers also start researching their own work rather than leaving almost every detail out in favour of 'XXX: SUB TO CHECK'? If you're writing about Al Pacino, you should probably know his name...

Chuck Unsworth said...

Oh God. 'Print Designer'. I've dealt with a few in my time. Most are just not even capable of spelling, let alone punctuating, correctly.

And have they never used a 'find and replace' option in their lives? Maybe they've 'never been taught' about that.

Ian said...

Double spaces are still necessary, being a geek it's nice to be able to search for text at the beginning of a sentence, and, being a geek, I often type in monospaced font anyway, to allow for code snippets.

I can't break the habit, I learnt RSA Typewriting skills early on in my programming career.

As a programmer, I'd think that if you are using "advanced kerning" software and it can't cope with a double space, i.e. effectively reduce it to one space, then it's probably not as "advanced" as you were told by the salesperson.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Sam, I use professional DTP software (InDesign at present, although I have used just about every professional package around at one point or another).

There are, as you say, ways to insert non-breaking spaces, but most people do not use them: they just hit the space bar twice.

Chuck, you are quite probably right about print designers. However, some designers, like myself, can spell and punctuate. And, yes, I have used Find and Replace many, many times.

Although it is not so much of a problem now, F&R on double-spaces on documents of thousands of words led all too many times to the software crashing and one having to start all over again.

Ian, the point of kerning is that you should not put the double-space in: by doing so, you are over-riding the kerning (which actually inserts a 1.5 space). Why is this difficult to understand?

Look, you guys can keep on doing it, and we designers will keep on correcting it as we have done since the year dot. It would just make our lives easier if you didn't.

DK

Shug Niggurath said...

I agree with the general gist of your point, but from someone who worked in a print environment for several years can I also add that print-designers really should stop mixing their PMS and CMYK files too....

Making sure your Adobe Illustrator documents have a preset dpi is useful too if the 'designer' has been doing web and print graphics on the same machine.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Shug,

I worked as a designer in two printhouses, so I am aware of these problems, believe me.

The thing that really gripped my shit was when I had to explain to a "print designer" what a spot colour was. She had ordered a two colour print job and then set it as CMYK.

Fucking chimp.

DK