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 March 3, 2010Most of the hyphens that end up in your pages are placed there by your software -- for better or worse. Text processors and page-layout programs are pretty good at knowing where a word can be hyphenated, but there’s too much riding on those decisions to have blind faith in a sightless piece of software. In this column we’ll look at how your control over hyphenation can not only make your type compose better, but read better as well.
- Features: Written by James Felici on February 17, 2010Agates. Ciceros. Nuts. Even people who use type every day may not know these weird and obscure measuring terms for the job of setting type. But once you understand them, you can tap into their power to make your work better and easier. Relatively Speaking One thing that makes type measurement unique is that it uses two parallel systems: absolute measurements and relative measurements.
- Features: Written by James Felici on February 3, 2010This could be a very short article: Never use automatic leading. Period. End of column. But of course this isn't the end of the column. It's not that I'm paid by the word, but I think you deserve a fuller explanation. Virtually all word-processing and page-layout programs have some leading or line spacing specification that they use by default. If you don't specify a particular leading value, the program will use its default value.
- Features: Written by James Felici on January 18, 2010Discussions of typographic widows and orphans normally start with an argument about definitions and what these terms precisely mean. But for the sake of this discussion -- and because I'm writing it -- let's use my definitions for the time being. At the end, you can use whatever terms you like for these conditions, as long as we all agree on solutions to the problems they raise.
- Features: Written by James Felici on December 16, 2009Market research indicates that almost 90% of page layout software users never tinkered with the vital controls that determine how the spacing of every character and word in their text is managed. These controls lurk under the intimidating rubric of hyphenation and justification. Instead, most people trust their programs to do the right thing: always composing nice type automatically, by default. It doesn’t always work. In this column, you’ll learn how to actively manage hyphenation and justification and discover that it’s not so daunting after all.
- Features: Written by James Felici on November 25, 2009Typography is mainly concerned with conditions: how things look, how they're arranged, how they relate to each other. But this time we'll look a typographic event: the line ending. Though it leaves its trace, whether created automatically by your program or manually by your own hand, as an entity on the page it's a bit amorphous. But the appearance of nearly every line of type you set is contingent on how it ends, and you have more control over this than you might guess.
- Features: Written by James Felici on November 16, 2009
- Features: Written by James Felici on October 26, 2009When I asked a few columns back about your interest in Unicode, a lot of hands shot up. But just as many of you said you wanted to know how to get at characters that have been hiding in your fonts since long before Unicode was dreamt up. Unicode may be the key to understanding and using fonts with very large character sets, but on a daily basis most of us use smaller -- and often much older -- fonts that present mysteries of their own.
- Features: Written by James Felici on October 12, 2009The old saw that "it's the little things that count" was surely coined by a typographer, and few things are littler than kerning adjustments. Consider this: A 1/100 em kerning adjustment applied in 24-point type results in a movement equal to the width of a human hair.