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When is a widow not a widow?

A widow IS NOT one stub end word on its own at the end of a paragraph.

Or that's what I always thought.

Typographic widows mean different things to different people. I've written a piece about my findings so far:

More interestingly, I've got a survey in which I'd love to hear your opinions:

What is a widow? TAKE THE SURVEY!

Thanks nice typographic people! Please feel free to share the survey, too.

Typesetting my first book – choosing a typeface

For a school project, I’m typesetting my first book. I’ve read numerous Typophile threads on choosing a book typeface and consulted Bringhurst, but I’m buckling down to ask for some more specific advice.

Historical considerations:
Maybe this is a little “purist” for my first book, but I think that historical considerations for type warrant at least some consideration. Here is a summary of my admittedly haphazard research:

  1. Bram Stoker is Irish
  2. Dracula was published in 1897
  3. Vlad the Impaler was a 15th century Romanian Prince and inspiration for Count Dracula
  4. It seems as though Scotch Roman type was a common text face for the time it was published (at least in America?)
  5. The book takes place in England and Romania

Setting an all-caps book title



I'm setting some text about a book that has a title with a word in all caps (example: UNTOLD: The Story Not Told). What is the best way to do this? My thoughts are that in headings it would be all caps just like the above, but in text UNTOLD would be U[smallcaps]ntold[/smallcaps] (that is, Untold with the "ntold" part in small caps, mixing the case). I also considered just ignoring the all-caps aspect in the text (referring to it as "Untold: The Story Not Told" in the text, but I'm not sure I can get away with that.

Thanks for your help!

Layout/typesetting critique

Hello, first time poster here! :)

I'm looking for some critique on the typesetting & layout of this white paper. Initially I wanted to do a two-column layout, but the text has so many breaks that the columns didn't flow very nicely, so I'm kinda stuck with one-column, which seems a bit boring to me.

The fonts used are Neutraface 2, Belizio, and Chronicle Text for the main copy. This will be mainly for screen reading (that may change) so I didn't do facing-pages.

Any comments/critiques are welcome!

spacing around the slash in English, French, Spanish

I am looking for an authoritative, informed opinion on the subject of proper spacing before and after the slash/solidus/slant character in professional typesetting.

I need advice on spacing in English, French, and Spanish languages. Opinions are fine, and I have one myself. I am hoping for some professional, scholarly information that goes beyond personal opinion.

Thank you!

Explorations in Typography


Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting (A Visual Textbook for Intermediate to Advanced Typography) is a new book by Carolina de Bartolo with Erik Spiekermann. An extensive collection of beautiful typesetting examples that allows the student of typography to “learn by looking,” it is sure to be instructive and inspirational to anyone who sets text type.

Visit the interactive companion website at: http://explorationsintypography.com/

:: 9.25 x 12 inches (oversize)
:: casebound with ultra-thin bookboard, so it’s lightweight despite its size
:: yellow gilded edges
:: 188 pages
:: 2 colors throughout

Key features

typesetting in Univers


I am typesetting business cards and have come across a small problem. A person's name is Illingworth, and they specifically requested an "I" with serifs so one can differentiate it from the double L that follows. How would you go about doing this?

  • I tried leaving it in Univers and just adjusting the kerning between the I and double L.
  • I reluctantly tried reducing the vertical height of the double L, but ran into problems with the lowercase i that follows (Illingworth)

Although the I is slightly thicker than a lowercase L, I certainly understand why this person would be annoyed, but I'm kind of at a loss. Here is how the kerning looks.

(Top = normal; bottom = kerned.)

An Ideal Page: Line length, Leading, Margins, Page Size, Etc.

In his book The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst sets forth what he considers to the be the ideal for setting text. He states:

- 45 to 75 characters line length (measure); specifically 66 including spaces; Single Column
- 40 to 50 characters; multi-column
- 85 to 90 characters; discontinuous text; generous leading
- 40 characters (minimum); justified
- 12 to 15 characters; marginal notes; English

He also discusses the ideal page to great detail on pp. 171–176.

I'm hoping to find other authors who've written down their ideals. What have you found as you've read? Would you share your findings? Even just the books and page numbers would be helpful.


Justifying justification



I'm a graphic design student researching justified text, and wondered if anybody knew of some examples of brilliant (or terrible!) justified text? Previous forums have discussed whether it's a good idea or not, but I'm really looking for real examples of successful justification (possibly including pre-computers and pre-type, as one forum entry mentioned manuscripts written by monks). If anybody could recommend some books too, that'd be great.



We have been having a debate on the proper representation of Ellipsis. Our proofreader says there should be a space before and after.

... and the train left the station ...

When doing a call out or in general typesetting, this space bugs me. I'm trying to find a reference stating that this rule doesn't stand for typesetting (like 2 spaces after a period in essays!)