The Mario Blog
12.05.2017—1am
The nuances of using ragged right type

It’s all about how you set that text type, but the way you do it makes a difference.

 

 

Text type constitutes most of what we see when reading stories, whether on phone/tablet screens or on a printed page.  While the first criteria for selecting a text type font that works well is size and leading (interline spacing), it is also interesting to note that text type can be set justified, with all lines aligned equally on both left and right sides, or the so called “ragged right”, usually with the right side of the column not aligned.

Designers use ragged right type to indicate that the story set in this style is somewhat different, as we see on this Dec. 2 front page of The New York Times, to make a “news analysis” different from a regular news story.

 

I like it when we reserve ragged right type for stories that are not the normal news stories. While some newspapers have been totally set in ragged right type, I think when used in abundance, ragged right tends to create a disorganized look for the page. However, for one story, it signals change and it can function well, as we see here.

 

Ragged right vs Justified

 

As I wrote in my book, Pure Design (2002):

When it comes to ragged right versus justified type, the research does not point to very specific differences in tems of the legibility of one or the other. However, it is true that readers tend to associate ragged right with columns and features, but that is because it has been traditionally used this way.

I added:

Ragged right can be helpful in providing a bit of white space on a crowded page. I recommend it for shorter, not longer, texts.

Important to remember that,

…a vertical column of ragged right type should always be accompanied by a thin vertical column rule, to prevent ragged lines from running into the material to the right.

 

 

Mario’s Speaking Engagements

 

 

April 18-19, 2018-Newscamp ,Augsburg,  Germany.

 

 

 

 

May 26, 2018Associacion Riograndense de Imprensa, Univesidad de Santa Cruz (Unisc), Brazil

 

 

June 3-6, 2018The Seminar, San Antonio, Texas.

 

 

 

Our digital transformation workshops

If you would like to find out more about our workshops for digital transformation, email me: mario@garciamedia.com

I will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information. Our workshops are offered in both English and Spanish.

 

 

TheMarioBlog post #2743

 

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Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.