1. Use only one space after punctuation. • Back in the day of the manual typewriter, having two spaces after the period of a sentence helped with its readability. • The advent of monospaced typefaces has eliminated the need for having two spaces after punctuation. A single space allows for better use of space in your publication.
2. Never use double-hard returns after paragraphs. • With typewriters, the only way to increase the space between paragraphs was to add a blank line by pressing enter. We can better control the amount of space between characters based on the font style and size, so double spacing is no longer necessary.
3. Limit the number of font styles to 3 or 4 in a single publication. • Be consistent. A different font for every headline is confusing and will create a cluttered look. • Select one font for the body copy and one for headlines. • Use bold, italics, or different sizes for subheadings. • The longer the publication, the more fonts you can get away with.
4. Use left align or justify of body copy appropriately. • Full justify is more formal and very familiar to readers of books and newspapers. Justify packs more information onto one page. • Left align is more friendly and informal. Can add a different dimension to the copy and is easier to work with because you don’t have to pay as much attention to hyphen-ation.
5. Use centered text sparingly. • Alignment depends on the purpose of the piece, the audience and its expectations. • An invitation copy can be centered but an article in a magazine shouldn’t be centered. • If in doubt, don’t center.
6. Balance Line Length with Type Size. • Lines of type that are too long or too short slow down reading and comprehension. • Type size, margins and the number of columns help determine line length.
7. Use All Caps with the right fonts. • TYPING IN ALL CAPS is considered shouting and is frowned on in most cases. In print, shouting is never worse than when it is done with decorative or script typefaces. It’s ugly and hard to read.
8. Use proper typographical punctuation. • Using proper punctuation marks give your documents professional polish. Straight quotes (primes) or three dots in place of an ellipsis may be acceptable for word processing, term papers and email but not for desktop publishing. Use the proper marks offered in most fonts.
9. Use frames, boxes and borders with a purpose. • Don’t get all boxed in by abusing boxes, frames and borders in your publication. These should emphasize blocks of text or intentionally interrupt the flow of text. Too many boxes make the document harder to read.
10. Use less clip art • Cut out the clip art clutter. Clip art is wonderful and fun to use. It can spice up fliers, newsletters and posters. Too many pictures on a page make it hard for the reader to concentrate on what the document says. Use clip art to support your text, not compete with it.
11. White Space • White space is the absence of text. Some white space provides visual breathing room for the eye and can break up text and graphics. Too much white space is called wasted space. It gives the appearance that information is missing. It is important to find the right balance between white space and wasted space.
12. Use colors wisely • Colors should be used to show contrast and make the publication more interesting and visually appealing. • Don’t use competing colors such as dark on dark or light on light. • Too many different colors make it look cluttered and confusing. • Colors can be used to offset type to make it easier to read.
Don’t over-hyphenate • Hyphens are used to finish a word when the line length is too small and the word is too long. • Only use one hyphen per paragraph and not more than 3 hyphens in an article. • NEVER use two hypens in a row.