TYPOGRAPHY SKILLS / Lecture + Exercise Progress / Term 3, Week 2

During lecture, we learned more about measurements in typesetting and some tactics to choose your typeface suitably.

Absolute measurement refers to the fixed values (mm, cm, inches, points, picas). These units of measurement are universal and cannot be altered in anyway.

1 inch: 72 points

1 inch: 6 picas

1 pica: 12 points

1 foot: 72 picas

(Pica is the most accurate unit of measurement)

Relative measurements refer to those measurements that depends on the body size of the font. These are the em dash and en dash. Em dash is the width of one M, and en dash is one half of an em wide. Em dash is used in passages, often used to connect extra details / explanation in a sentence. British writing uses space between word and dashes, while American writing doesn’t. En dash is more common in its usage, as it is used to connect dates or times. When read, en dash translates to “to“. (Monday-Wednesday is read as Monday to Wednesday; the dash at the middle is an en dash)

Tips on picking your typeface for an article:

  1. READ THE TEXT BEFORE DESIGNING IT. You need to understand the content before you’re able to pull it out of context and pick a suitable typeface & design a proper layout for it.
  2. DISCOVER THE OUTER LOGIC OF TYPOGRAPHY IN THE INNER LOGIC OF THE TEXT. Analyse the text, map it, bring it out of the content and into the context of typographic interpretation.
  3. MAKE VISIBLE RELATIONSHIP S BETWEEN THE TEXT AND OTHER ELEMENTS (PHOTO, CAPTION, TABLES, DIAGRAM, NOTE) AS A REFLECTION OF THEIR REAL RELATIONSHIP. Decide where the elements are placed on the page – should the body text be flushed on the right side, and the image covering the whole upper half of the page? Where should the diagram be placed then? Where should images or photographs be placed – embedded into the text or have a special section of their own?
  4. CHOOSE A TYPEFACE OR GROUP OF FACES THAT WILL HONOR AND ELUCIDATE THE CHARACTER OF THE TEXT. Don’t pick a typeface merely by the name of the type! (E.g., you can’t just choose the font named “Bicycle” because you’re typesetting a brochure that is about a biking race, or something).
  5. SHAPE THE PAGE AND FRAME AND TEXTBLOCK SO THAT IT HONORS AND REVEALS EVERY ELEMENT, EVERY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ELEMENTS, AND EVERY LOGICAL NUANCE OF THE TEXT. Page layouting and typesetting are related – if you pick a correct typeface but the page is poorly layouted, then it will lose all the dynamics. This will effect the readers who are going to read the page. Shape the page, define the hierarchy, decided whether the page would be symmetrical or asymmetrical, etc.
  6. GIVE FULL TYPOGRAPHIC ATTENTION EVEN TO INCIDENTAL DETAILS. Pay attention to the kerning, tracking, leading. Some preset fonts do have awkward kerning and you’ll just have to set them manually. Some fonts are made especially for headlines and would be hard to read as a body text.


For our exercise this week, we are required to pick a spread (that has a layout that we like), get the grids and measurements by tracing the spread on a piece of tracing paper, and design a spread with that settings and measurement. (No restriction on the content)

I traced the layout & measurements of a spread from Parson School of Design’s student guidebook. I find the clean layout and usage of white space pleasant and easy on the eye, despite the heavy text content. Image above shows my tracing of the measurements and layout.


Top margin: 3mm

Bottom margin: 5mm

Inside margin: 20mm

Outside margin: 4mm

I haven’t decided on the content for the spread, but I’d either cover something relevant but incredibly unimportant (current talk of Taylor Swift/Tom Hiddleston being together – let’s see if I can find article from gossip magazine about it) or perhaps something more formal and educational. (24/06/2016)


Article source



I did two layouts because I am not satisfied with the first one – but the 2nd one looks kind of crowded and cluttered. Might be redoing them again.


I did three more variations (tweaked small details, shifted some things) since yesterday night and this left me more confused than ever. I’m not completely happy with any of them, so I decided to ask my friend (a fellow graphic designer, worked in Brownfox studio until a while ago) for opinion. She likes the third one most, because the page dynamics is nicer, the flow is correct and pullquote is not too huge. She noticed that the headline is very long, which made me realise why I have been having a problem with it. She said the 2nd layout is also ok (my personal favorite), but both layout (2nd and 3rd) can have a smaller pullquote so that the hierarchy isn’t disturbed.

I’ll print this one to be submitted because I feel that it looks the most balanced, and even though I like the 2nd layout better (because it has less white space- this has so many empty space it makes me feel insecure), I don’t fully trust my own judgement and will take up my friend’s opinion on this matter.



Printed a copy of the spread at Snapy. The cutting was not neat, and I realised I need to use one of the 5 classic typefaces for the spread (oops). Changed the font to Helvetica before I decided on Bodoni (because it looked more appropriate, although I quite dislike the bodytext).

Used the chance to inspect some alignment problems.
Helvetica edit
Bodoni edit



Reprinted the spread at a different print shop (Jakarta Copy Center). The ink quality is visibly different.

Upper print: Jakarta Copy Center, Lower print: Snapy (darker shades)
Final print (I think the pullout quote looks too close to the body text but I was following the column marks)

Feedback on Week 1’s exercise (Book of Type Terminology)

“More attention on details, technicalities, bleed marks. Good layout.”

Set bleed marks for all the images that are supposed to cover the whole page.
Better to have it cut rather than placed so close to the edge; it looks like a mistake.
Text would be too ragged if not for the “Stem” that balance the empty space on the right.
Competing hierarchy
Too close to the edge. Better to lay it out in one line

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