James Felici has worked in the publishing industry—in both editorial and production—for more than 30 years. A veteran journalist and former managing editor of Publish magazine, he has set type by hand as well as on systems from IBM, Linotype, Compugraphic, CCI, and Magna. His books include The Complete Manual of Typography (Peachpit Press), The Desktop Style Guide (Bantam/ITC), How to Get Great Type Out of Your Computer (North Light), and contributions to The Macintosh Bible (Peachpit Press). He has written for numerous publications, including PC World, Macworld, and The Seybold Report, and has been a featured speaker at Seybold Seminars, Macworld Expo, and other events worldwide.
- Features: Written by James Felici on February 16, 2011Small capital letters—small caps, as we say in the trade—are a typesetting mainstay, even though they aren't available for most typefaces. The larger character sets (or more accurately, glyph sets) made possible by the TrueType and OpenType font formats have never translated into universal access to small caps, even though they should be commonplace. As a part of standard print design vocabulary, small caps appear everywhere, especially in display type, as seen in Figure 1.
- Features: Written by James Felici on January 31, 2011Repetitive text formatting is a huge time waster, and even using paragraph and character styles is a bore when you have to apply them over and over again. But by using InDesign’s nested styles, you can bypass a lot of this tedium. Nested styles sound more complicated than they are. In fact, they’re nothing more than a series of regular old character styles, with the transition from one to the next triggered by a character or command InDesign encounters in the text stream.
- Features: Written by James Felici on December 6, 2010Back in the days of hand-set type, all the little character blocks for a given point size of a typeface were stored in drawers divided neatly into sections, one cubby for each character. In these type cabinets, majuscules--capitals--were stored in the upper case, and minuscules were stored in the lower case. As with any drawer, when pulled out of its case too far, a font drawer would drop and spill its contents all over the floor. The resulting mess what was called a pi, and to pi a font was considered very bad form.
- Features: Written by James Felici on November 1, 2010For such a basic typographic control, leading really isn't very well implemented in today's page layout programs. In this column, we'll look at how you have to manage both leading and a tool known as the baseline shift to exercise full control over the vertical position of all the characters on your pages. Together, they're a powerful, if awkward, combo.
- Features: Written by James Felici on September 20, 2010Finding two typefaces that work well together can be a challenge, but how about five? The new French magazine Carto does just that, in a design that's as ambitious typographically as it is editorially (Figure 1). Its subline, "The World in Maps," tells you three things right off the bat: • It's going to be graphically rich; • It's going to take on geography in its broadest sense: topography, sociology, economics, history, and ecology; • Being of high French seriousness, it's going to contain a lot of text.
- Features: Written by James Felici on September 2, 2010A few months back, in a column entitled "Check, Please," I recommended that one thing to scan for before considering a job done was the presence of badly formed points of ellipsis, those series of dots used to indicate missing text, also known as ellipsis points, points of omission, or points of suspension. This begs the question, though, what exactly is a properly formed ellipsis?
- Features: Written by James Felici on August 18, 2010How many fonts do you own? The answer is probably "none." Almost all fonts, whether bought or bundled, come to you with strings attached, and even ones that you've downloaded "for free" are in all likelihood only being licensed to you. You do not own them, you only own the privilege of using them, and they are—with rare exceptions—not yours to do with as you please.
- Features: Written by James Felici on August 9, 2010Typefaces go in and out of style, and except for a handful of perennial favorites, most are destined to fade into the shadows after their day in the sun. It's not that no one uses them anymore, but they cease to be household faces, so to speak. I'd like to nominate some of those faces relegated to the wings for a reprise on center stage.