Desktop publishing is the process of arranging text and graphics on the page and producing a file for printing. Typographic or text composition is a step in that process that takes the text and ensures that its appearance is appropriate and that it enhances the overall page composition. Text composition involves numerous individual tasks that break down into four general areas:
- placement: how text is arranged on the page
- style: how the text is sized and modified
- spacing: margins, distance between text and images, space between lines of type, columns, and even characters
- embellishment: use of drop caps, bullet lists, and other fine-tuning
The art of typography focuses on the characteristics of a typeface, the shapes of the individual characters, and the aesthetics of a particular font. Text composition deals with how fonts are arranged on the page. It involves manipulating text placement and altering the visual appearance of the text.
Do each of these text composition tasks, as required. Where available, find tutorials and related resources for further study on each task.
Margins and columns or grids confine text to certain portions of the page. Fitting or wrapping text around graphic elements and other blocks of text changes the flow of the text. How text and other elements line up with each other affects the overall appearance of the page.
• Page Numbers
• Line Length (formulas)
• Text Wraps
• Text Alignment (centered)
• Text Alignment (ragged right and fully-justified)
The relative size of one portion of text to another or the font size and style relative to the dimensions of the page creates contrast, affects readability, and contributes to the look and feel of the composition.
• Bold Type
• Italics Type
• Type Size
• Type Size with Line Length
• All Caps
Altering the amount of space between characters, words, lines of text, and blocks of text can help in fitting more text on the page, making pages visually lighter or heavier, and improving readability.
• Leading (line spacing)
• Kerning/Tracking (character spacing)
• Line Endings/Hyphenation (widows/orphans)
• Spacing After Punctuation
• Paragraph Spacing
• Paragraph Spacing/Creative
Initial caps, hanging punctuation, bullets, and printers ornaments or dingbats use typography to add visual interest.
• Typographic Punctuation
• Initial Caps
• Bullet and Numbered Lists
• Dot Leaders
• Hanging Punctuation
After completing text acquisition and text composition, the next phase in creating a desktop publishing document is image acquisition and preparation. Working with images may also occur during the text composition phase as their placement can affect the alignment and flow of text.
Next Phase > Images
|Get Started:||Basic Guidelines and Requirements for Desktop Publishing|
|Choose Software:||Desktop Publishing and Design Software|
|Make Something:||Things to Make Using Desktop Publishing|
|Tips & Tutorials:||How to Do Desktop Publishing|
|Training, Education, Jobs:||Careers in Desktop Publishing|
|In the Classroom:||Back to School With Desktop Publishing|
|Use Templates:||Templates for Print and Web Publishing|