Class 8 – How Text and Paragraphs are Affected by Different Alignments

This class was dedicated to the variations in type styles that are available. We discussed the differences in type — width, weight, posture, stress, serifs, and contrast.

width – condensed or extended

weight – light or bold

posture – italic or oblique (fake italic)

stress – vertical or diagonal

contrast – extreme or medium or low/none

serif – bracketed or unbracketed

For more details on this topic, and new terminology, you can review with article: Styles, Weights, and Widths

Here is a slide presentation on variations in type that you can view and download here.

We have also been discussing the various formats of text alignments and how text is affected. Here are some the things we noticed:

  • flush left/ragged right – when using this text alignment, we are given a bit of breathing room, or negative space. This makes the page seem less crowded with text and allows places for the eyes to rest. In our culture, we read from left to right, and setting type flush left gives the reader an exact starting place on each line. The reader isn’t slowed down by trying to find the starting place for the next time.
  • flush right/ragged left – when using this text alignment, the reader is slowed down because the eye has to find the starting point of each line. Have the left margin set as ragged means each line will begin at a different location. It is ok to use this very small amounts of type such as for captions, but you wouldn’t use this for large bodies of type.
  • center alignment – not a good choice for large bodies of text. Again, each line of text has a different starting place and this slows down the reading. Poetry and songs often use this alignment.
  • justified alignment – both sides of the type are justified and line up evenly. Because of this, type is pushed out which can cause excess word spacing, which can cause rivers. In order to fix the word and letter spacing problems, each line may need tracking. Another problem that may arise might be too many hyphenated words. InDesign will try to fit as many words on each line as possible but so justified text can also fit more text on a page.

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