Hi. I'm new here and to typography in general. I've started reading Bringhurst's EOTS, based on numerous recommendations, and had a few questions on some of his guidelines and the justification used in the book itself.
I'm only on page 42, but thus far, the following guidelines have been suggested:
2.1.7 Don't letterspace the lowercase without a reason.
2.1.9 Don't alter the widths or shapes of letters without cause.
2.4 Etiquette of Hyphenation and Pagination
... and no typesetting software should be permitted to compress,
expand or letterspace the text automatically and arbitrarily
as a means of fitting the copy.
All of the above seem to make perfect sense to me, especially tweaking a designers type by changing widths, even to a mere mortal, I wouldn't even consider such blasphemy. However, he then points the reader to p.190 (section 9.4) where he talks about the various software justification engines that are able to do letterspacing and glyph shaping. He then proceeds to describe the min/max letterspacing and min/max glyph shaping settings he used in the book?!?
Is it me, or is he violating his own rules by using letterspacing and altering the widths of glyphs? Perhaps, as a newcomer, I simply do not understand some of the terminology, but it seemed clear to me that the first two guidelines frown upon both letterspacing and glyph shaping.
With that said, I am also curious as to the general concensus of his use of justification in the book. Before I started getting into the details of interword spacing, I thought the book was very readable. However, after reading only 42 pages, I am now continually distracted by the horrible interword spacing seen is some paragraphs. On p.31 the following paragraph looks terrible:
A man who would letterspace lower case would steal sheep, Frederic Goudy liked to say. If this wisdom needs updating, it is chiefly to add that a woman who would letterspace lower case would steal sheep as well.
My untrained eye still can't notice any glyph shaping occuring, but in the above paragraph, I can see the extra letterspacing and wordspacing with no problem whatsoever. In some ways, I think I enjoyed the "look" of the book better when I was ignorant of these details. Now, all I do as I read is concentrate on how the wordspacing is so inconsistent across lines.
Am I just being overly critical because I've just recently been enlightened to some of the details of typography?
ps On a side note, does anyone know if InDesign's paragraph composer has the same feature the TeX does concerning the amount of extra wordspace used on consecutive lines? If I recall, TeX will not put one line of text with an abnormal amount of extra wordspace next to another where the wordspace must be shrunk in the other extreme, thus limiting the contrasting amount of nearby wordspacing.