Type in Use-Effective Typography for Electronic Publishing

Article excerpt

Type in Use - effective typography for electronic publishing ALEX W. WHITE New York: W.W. Norton, 208 pages, $26.95 ISBN 0-393-73034-4

"...From headlines to captions, print to web type and folios to footlines Type in Use explains the principles of designing pages with type and shows carefully selected examples from a wide variety of current publications. Type in Use is an accessible guide to effective editorial typography that will widen the horizons of typographic possibilities for the experienced designer and elucidate the principles of good design for the beginner."

Introduction

Picking up this book for the first time and glancing at the title Type in Use-effective typography for electronic publishing, you might

be forgiven in thinking this is a book dealing with the universal problem of finding answers to the designing of a wide range of publications, a view emphasized when reading the three page inroduction.

Although this book is primarily offered as a guide for effective typography for electronic publishing, the all-embracing term publishing used to describe the contents is rather misleading, more precisely what the book is concerned with is the practical tasks required to design magazines and house journals.

From the very first page of the introduction, the reader is reminded that computers and desktop publishing software can by their very nature and flexibility more or less guarantee the production of ugly documents, particularly if untrained persons, or beginners, are in charge of the design process. It is an observable fact that over the ten year period since the first edition was published standards of typography and design have both deteriorated and improved - probably in equal measure - in both North America and in Europe. Unfortunately there is no follow up suggestion or remedies on how feasible it might be for the beginner to realize or even attain - professional design standards, once computer typesetting and production equipment is universally available to anybody who buys a system and has some keyboarding skills.

The author has written a book with detailed typographical information, that is essential for producing well-designed and readable magazines or newsletters. The contents of the second edition are more or less identical with the first. The original ten chapters are retained, dealing as they do with such topics as: text setting, headlines, subheads, breakouts, (an American term, meaning part of an article presented as display type) department headings, covers, contents, bylines, folios and footlines. There is a short and useful glossary, which is helpful in looking up words familiar only to American readers.

There is one new chapter, dealing with the now important issues of web typography. This being written with the clear view that this new media is essentially an extension of conventional publication design, but with some fundamental structural differences. This chapter is short, well written and essential reading if, as a designer you are faced with designing web pages and want to avoid some of the worst pitfalls. Although the first edition had a higher quality of production than the second, with better quality paper and cleaner presswork, both editions demonstrate good design and editorial decisions.

The way the book is structured, follows exactly the same hierarchical order that is used when reading or designing a magazine, a useful technique for understanding how the book works. Chapter one therefore deals with overall page planning and text setting, while chapter ten details the techniques of placing folios and footlines.

Each chapter has a sensible non-partisan introduction to the practical issues involved, with a commentary on each of the design solutions printed in red, alongside black and white reproduction of the actual pages being discussed. Taken together this technique weaves a continuous narrative through each chapter, as well as showing how a cross-section of designers went about solving the problems. …