I’ve claimed throughout this book that many bad typography habits have been imposed upon us by the typewriter. Here, I’ve collected them in one list.
Straight quotes rather than curly quotes (see straight and curly quotes).
Two spaces rather than one space between sentences.
Multiple hyphens instead of dashes (see hyphens and dashes).
Alphabetic approximations of trademark and copyright symbols.
ellipses made with three periods rather than an ellipsis character.
Pretending that accented characters don’t exist.
Using carriage returns to insert vertical space.
Using alphabet characters as substitutes for real math symbols.
Making rules and borders out of repeated characters.
Believing that monospaced fonts are nice to read.
Abusing all caps.
Thinking that the best point size for body text is 12.
Too much centered text.
Only using single or double line spacing.
I’m far from the first person to observe that many bad typographic habits have been passed down from typewriters. A bestselling title of the early Mac era was Robin Williams’s book
The Mac is Not a Typewriter, which spawned a sequel, The PC is Not a Typewriter. Hopefully it goes without saying that The Web is Not a Typewriter, Either. (Though maybe not—see websites.)