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Dash of Inspiration: Text Alignment and Balance

June 2, 2014

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Text Alignment & Balance

Before typewriters vanished in the 1990s, schools used to offer Typing classes and I’m glad I had the opportunity, because it also taught the students how to align text. Of course who knew at the time the additional benefit of  having a typing speed of 82-words-per-minute (in my younger years, now only about 55 WPM), would come in very handy in the computer era which followed! Granted these teachers taught to align text within a document rather than a greeting card, but there really is no difference. The other essential tip which came from those classes was an understanding and sense of ‘balancing’ lines of text.  So, this is our top of discussion this week.

“Can you imagine how difficult it would be to find your car in a crowded parking lot if everyone ignored the parking lot stripes and parked in every which direction and angle? Imagine trying to get out of there! Alignment brings order to chaos, in a parking lot and on a piece of paper. How you align type and graphics on a page and in relation to each other can make your layout easier or more difficult to read, foster familiarity, or bring excitement to a stale design.”  Quote by Jacci Howard Bear

Today, we all use computers to add text to our greeting card images, therefore we have auto tools available to us to left justify, right justify or center our lines of text with each other.  Choosing the right alignment for your imagery can be the difference between a wonderful card which grabs attention and a card which will be passed up by potential customers.

  •  Text needs to have some alignment, both with other text and with the elements making up the flow of design.
  •  Either left justify (flush left), right justify (flush right) or center your individual lines of text.
  • On the screen, italic text almost never seems to align horizontally, especially when centered. This is usually an optical illusion, so beware of making major adjustments here (if any at all!) – do a proof print if you are sure your text is askew before you challenge the auto-alignment features you’ve enabled.
  • Full justification is ugly and difficult to read, because the lines are stretched to create even line spacing and the results cause uneven spacing between words – NEVER use this for greeting cards.

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For some fun, here you can improve your typing skills and even find out how many words-per-minute you type:

This article is a great visual and tip site which speaks to alignment as well as some other great typography tips. It also has some great screen shops for Working with Typography in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Alignment Brings Order to Chaos By Jacci Howard Bear – This has some wonderful examples and if you keep in mind that desktop publishing is not that different from greeting card design when it comes to typography placement, you can get a lot out of this article.

What does Balance have to do with typography?

The inexperienced designer may just type and ignore where lines of text cutoff allowing the ‘software’ to make the call for carriage returns, thus causing two issues which lack the professional polish we all strive for. 1) The text does not ‘read’ with the verbal rhythm that is necessary for verse; and 2) Visually it will lack harmony to the eye and become ugly and difficult to read – this is especially true with greeting card design where rhythm and harmony are critical. You do not want to ignore these critical areas of design, whether creating card front text or inside verse.

  • Speak your message out load and try to create a rhythm in how you present your text in your designs. There is a rhythm to verse, not just to poetry.
  • Unless you are using typography techniques where you are applying different fonts or sizes to emphasize certain words in your message, be careful to not make your text ‘top heavy’.
  • When you place your text on the imagery, you must balance the text within itself and with all the elements which make up the design.

So until next week … Learn … Create … Inspire!

Wonderful example of using alignment within a design, as well as the importance of balancing the text which speaks your message.

Great example of balance, rhythm and harmony in both the visual and readability of the card front text and inside verse.

 

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2014 8:25 am

    I remember typing class in school! And laying out columns … whew! And let’s not forget carbon paper. 🙂

    • June 2, 2014 3:14 pm

      LOL, laying out columns and carbon paper, oh man I had completely forgotten that 🙂 Thank the heavens for computers!!

  2. paintedcottages permalink
    June 2, 2014 8:10 pm

    FAB! thankyou!

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