Bullets and paragraph spacing

Is there a 'correct' way to include spaces before and after items in a list (such as bullets)?

I am working on a document that has a space of 12pt after each paragraph. I like the visual break this provides. Should I have a 12pt space after each item in the list? Sometimes this looks too much.

I'm working to a 12pt baseline grid so it seems that the space should either be 12pt to match my grid, or nothing.

Any tips/design examples?

Thanks in advance!

riccard0's picture


dtw's picture

"Whatever looks right, is right."
But what Riccardo said will look right :-)

fleurlou's picture

Thanks for this, have given this a go and things are looking good.

I'm wondering though if it matters that using 6pt after my bullets means that I can't snap them to my 12pt baseline grid. There seem to be a few flowon effects I'm not happy with.

Basically, all of my headings and paragraphs (except my newly spaced bullets) are snapped to the baseline grid.

Using 6pt spacing means the bullets vary from the baseline grid. This looks OK to me, but it creates an inconsistency in the amount of space before headings and paragraphs directly below my bullet points, which are snapped to the baseline.

Is this an issue? Is there another approach I could take with my paragraph spacing? I don’t really want to lose the nice structure my baseline grid provides.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

To add or delete manually extra leading as needed is not an option?

fleurlou's picture

I could do, but then none of my paragraphs will align to the baseline grid (except the ones that come before the bullet points).

Perhaps this is the approach a good designer would take anyway? As you might have gathered I'm fairly new to designing with baseline grids.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

Personally, I love grids and I try that everything fits in there, precisely because it’s easier to manage. If you want to break the grid, I guess you have to pay the consequences.

fleurlou's picture

I tend agree with you, Cristobal, but the advice so far has been to break my grid! What spacing would you put after a bullet point on a 12pt grid? I did have 12pt after each paragraph (including bulleted lists) but this looked like a bit too much space for my bullets.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

I’d like to see an image of your layout to see if I am understanding correctly, but I wouldn’t put any space. Just like this:

Now, If you really think that you need some extra space, I’d rather go for reducing the bullet text by one or two points.

fleurlou's picture

Thanks heaps, will definately be able to use these options in the future, although I'm not sure they will work for me for this particular project - my bullet points are really long, so they need some space between them, and my font size is already smaller than I'd like! =)

Dan B.'s picture


How about using a 6pt baseline grid? You wouldn't be messing with the alignment of any of the elements you already have on the page, but it'd give you a bit more freedom.

EDIT: Just to clarify, your type would still be "sitting" on every other line.

fleurlou's picture

Brilliant, love it! Thank you!!

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