12.01.16: The sow’s ear
A DESIGNER recently told me she had been advised some time ago to increase the width of letters in a paragraph to help make that paragraph a line longer—so it would fill the space for the story.
To help fill the space in the example above, I went ahead and did as she was advised. The result is the last paragraph in the left leg of type. Bad. Actually, worse than bad. It’s just downright ugly.
Instead, I advise enlarging the space between letters, as in the example at right. It’s still not very good. Compare it with the original type (in the yellow screen at left) and it, too, is pretty bad. But at least it’s easier to read—and not so ugly.
I wish there had been a better way to do this. Perhaps increase the word spacing a bit. If there had been a longer paragraph, I might have been able to break it into two paragraphs, adding a line to the copy by doing so. Even editing the copy to insert a few words might have helped. But sometimes this is the best you can do—especially on deadline.
Sometimes we have have no choice but to turn a silk purse into a sow’s ear.