Why typography matters

Be­cause you are a pro­fes­sional writer, you are al­ready a ty­pog­ra­pher. You may be a re­luc­tant ty­pog­ra­pher. You may be an un­skilled ty­pog­ra­pher. But every time you put words on a page, you’ve made ty­pog­ra­phy hap­pen. So you are a typographer.

This book is about mak­ing you a bet­ter ty­pog­ra­pher. And if you’re won­der­ingwhat’s in it for me?”, you’re in the right place.

Ty­pog­ra­phy isn’t just the frost­ing on the dough­nut that is your text. Ty­pog­ra­phy has con­se­quences. Just ask the per­son who was re­spon­si­ble for the bal­lot used in Palm Beach County, Florida, for the 2000 pres­i­den­tial election.

The ty­pog­ra­phy of the in­fa­mousbut­ter­fly bal­lot” wasn’t ran­dom. Like every ter­ri­ble and mis­guided project through­out his­tory, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Some­one con­sid­ered a num­ber of ty­po­graphic al­ter­na­tives and ap­proved this one.

If bad ty­pog­ra­phy can have neg­a­tive con­se­quences, it shouldn’t be hard to be­lieve that good ty­pog­ra­phy can have pos­i­tive con­se­quences. Ty­pog­ra­phy can help you en­gage read­ers, guide them, and ul­ti­mately per­suade them. The more you ap­pre­ci­ate what ty­pog­ra­phy can do, the bet­ter a ty­pog­ra­pher you can become.

And you can en­sure that you never turn your own work into the equiv­a­lent of a but­ter­fly ballot.