Top 5 Type Tips for 2009
by Ilene Strizver
If you are reading this column, then I’m certain that on the top of your list of New Year’s resolution was setting more professional type! Well, maybe it didn’t make it to the top of your list, but I know it is in there somewhere…right?
Here is a list of the top five type tips which will help you set more professional typography, as well make the process faster and easier:
Convert tabular to proportional figures
Love the look of proportional figures, but are stuck with the tabular figures that are all that are available in most Type 1 and TrueType fonts…and some OpenType® fonts as well? Try using the Optical Kerning setting that is available in Adobe® InDesign® and Illustrator®. It will automatically respace the figures and result in more evenly spaced tabular figures. You can always use kerning to fine-tune as desired.
Spotting OpenType fonts
Have a large library of fonts, but don’t know which are OpenType format and which are Type1 or TrueType configurations? Most font management tools, such as Linotype's Font Explorer® X, can sort your library by format – then you can collect them in one folder named “OpenType” for easy identification. In addition, you can often identify a font’s format in your document via the font menu, as most design applications show a font’s format icon in the font menu.
Keep those inch and foot marks
When using your software or a separate utility to convert “dumb quotes” (prime symbols) to smart quotes, remember to check and convert back to primes any inch and foot marks in your text. Most programs are not yet smart enough to recognize the primes used in measurements, and mistakenly convert them to smart quotes.
Apostrophe vs. open quote
In addition to checking for inch and foot marks during the above conversion process, check that the typographically correct apostrophes used in contractions, such as the one in “the ’70s,” are not converted to single open quotes during the conversion. The easiest way to fix these mistakes is by using your glyph palette to locate and substitute the correct character.
Quark to InDesign, or vice-versa
Need to convert a document from Quark® to InDesign, or vice versa, but don’t want to go through the time-consuming task of manually converting them element by element? Try Q2ID or ID2Q, two great plug-ins from Markzware®. It is not always a totally seamless conversion and occasionally might require some proofing and tweaking, but it is a huge time-saver, and is quick and easy to use.
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- Editor’s Note: Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, is a typographic consultant, designer and writer specializing in all aspects of typographic communication. She conducts Gourmet Typography workshops internationally. Read more about typography in her latest literary effort, Type Rules! The designer's guide to professional typography, 3rd edition, published by Wiley & Sons, Inc. This article was commissioned and approved by Monotype Imaging Inc.