1. Bad Sp ace ing
You read the negative space in letters as much as the outline itself. If you neglect to look at the following points, you risk bad readability and poor aesthetic value:
You may sometimes hear people talk about bad kerning, they are talking about the space in-between each letter. If you have a badly kerned piece of type it's instantly visible (This is especially so in large headlines) and can make a person read the message incorrectly, or with difficulty, defeating the headline's purpose. There are a couple of tricks to help get you started with good kerning. One is to flip the text upside down, this takes out any distractions you may see whilst kerning, allowing you to view the spacing and get them all equal. Another trick is to imagine that you're squeezing a balloon through the spaces and in-between each letter the balloon fits about equally for each space.
Leading is the word given to the space in-between each line of text. If the lines are too close and the cap hight of some letters touch the tail of others, your eye won't be able to process the letter/s very quickly, making your work, very hard work. If there is too much of a gap,
and you're reading an article, or novel, then your eyes are going to have trouble finding the correct line to
read on from the last read line. A little magic number for the perfect leading with most font sets is 2pt, for example, if your type size is set at 9pt, set your leading at 11pt.
Tip: look out for double spaces in any supplied content. Do a Find/Search in InDesign.
2. Poor contrast
Colour and size
This is true with most aspects of design – having a good contrast between colour and size. But it makes a huge difference when using type. Nobody is going to bother reading your yellow type that's set on a blue background, they don't care much for a headache. With body copy you should only use black text on a white background for readability purposes. But if theres a short piece of body copy you can use white type on a black background without having any readability issues (pushing the boat out I know!). When it comes to size, try not to use more that three and make them visibly different. If they are too close in size it's just going to look like a mistake.
Each typeface has with it a different mood. If you're using some sort of carnival/circus looking typeface, it's going to look terrible next to the lovely Comic sans and (your favourite) Impact.
3. Too many fonts
Two fonts is great, three is pushing it and any more is a mess
4. Incorrect grammar
Those who know, know. If you're using incorrect grammar, they will not take the message seriously. Using a hyphen in the place of an en-dash is a no-no – you need to do some research into what's what. There are lots of things to look at, in the list would be the likes of these characters:
- Mr. En-dash
- Mrs. Em-dash
- Captain Hyphen
- The elusive Ellipses
- Captain Ampersand
and the rest of this gangs buddies.
5. Line endings
Look through your typesetting and if you find any widows (usually single words on one line at the end of a paragraph), get them hitched back up with a partner by turning over a couple of words within that paragraph. Taking us to the next point, line endings, if you have left justified text and huge chunks missing out of the right hand side or it's extremely jagged, then strive to soften that side up. On occasion you will come across an orphan (a single line from a paragraph sitting either at the end of a text box or at the beginning). You need to act fast and get it back home to it's family.
6. Body text using process colours
If you're going to be printing a lot of body text, do not set it in process colours. It's harder to read, but more importantly it's not going to register on press correctly, meaning your text will look blurry. Instead try to stick to 100% Black, or if you insist on using a colour like blue, make it 100% cyan.
7. Indenting the first paragraph
If you're type-setting a novel and are using indents to separate paragraphs, then you should know that indenting the first paragraph of a chapter or title is not correct. Indents are reserved for paragraphs following other paragraphs.
7ish. Stretched type
Stretch type in it's entirety. Never stretch type horizontally or vertically (Unless of course you want to, who am I to tell you what to do anyway). Try not to use faux italic/oblique, bold or small cap type settings. Use the italic or bold typeface that sits within the type family.
To be fair I wasn't aware of most of these in university. But if you want to be taken seriously by your clients and your peers, they are need-to-knows.