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Sep 16 / Katie Buddingh

Type Crimes

1. Horizontal & Vertical Scaling

The proportions of the letters have been digitally distorted in order to create wider or narrower letters.

2. Some typefaces that work well at large sizes look too fragile when reduced.

3. Minimal differences in type size make a design look tentative and arbitrary.

4. Pseudo Italics

The wide, ungainly forms of these mechanically skewed letters look forced and unnatural.

5. Pseudo Small Caps

Helvetica was never meant to include small caps. These automatically generated characters look puny and starved; they are an abomination against nature.

6. In a stack of lowercase and capital letters, the spaces between lines appear uneven because caps are tall but have no descenders.

7. Using two typefaces form the same family that are too close in weight to mix well.

8. Using two type styles that are too similar to provide a counterpoint to each other.

9. Who’s accountable for this?

A slightly squeezed variant of the primary font has been used to make the second line fit better. Yet another weight appears on the bottom line.

10. Quotation marks carve out chunks of white space from the edge of text.

11. City streets have become a dangerous place. Millions of dollars a year are spent producing commercial signs that are fraught with typographic misdoings. While some of these signs are cheaply made over-the-counter products, others were designed for prominent businesses and institutions.

12. Tightly Tracked Text

Letters are tracked too close for comfort.

13. Tracking Lowercase Letters

Loosely spaced lowercase letters — especially italics — look awkward because these characters are designed to sit closely together on a line.

14. Auto spacing yields an uneven effect.

15. Poorly Shaped Text Block

In most uses, centered text should be broken into phases with a variety of long and short lines.

16. Full of Holes

A column that is too narrow is full of gaps.

17. Bad Rag

An ugly wedge shape spoils the ragged edge.

18. Punctuation Eats the Edge

Excessive punctuation weakens the right edge.

19. Stacked lowercase.

Small caps, stacked.

20. Too Many Signals

Using paragraph spacing and indents together squanders space and gives the text block a flabby, indefinite shape.

21. Too Many Signals

Emphasis can be created with just one shift.

22. Data Prison

The rules and boxes used in data tables should illuminate the relationships among data, not trap each entry inside a heavily guarded cell.

23. Two hyphens in place of an em dash.

24. Hyphen between numbers.

25. En dash in hyphenated word.

26. Prime marks (a.k.a. dumb quotes) used in place of quotation marks.

27. Two spaces between sentences.

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