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In this installment of Illustrator Insider Training, author Mordy Golding shows how to create type that’s both beautiful and communicative, whether it’s destined for logos, brochures, signs, infographics, or simple documents. This course covers core typography concepts, such as working with Unicode and OpenType fonts, applying character and paragraph settings, managing text with styles and text threads, placing text along a path, and wrapping text around graphics.
When we were discussing the different character settings that you have inside of Illustrator, one of them was something called Optical kerning. It was basically kerning that happened, but based on the optical way that the text looked, meaning based on the actual shapes themselves and not necessarily the mathematical size of that particular text. Well, the same thing also happens to apply when dealing with margins. For example, right now, if I take a look at this paragraph of text, it's currently set to be justified, meaning the left and the right side of the text frame define the bounds of the text.
So each line of text actually starts where the text frame starts and ends where the text frame ends. So if I select this object right now, I can see here is my one frame, and you can see that each line of text starts at the beginning and stretches all the way to the end. There is no rag setting here along the right side of the frame. Now, in this document here called margin_alignment, I actually have another layer here called the Background layer. And if I turn that layer on, you'll see that, from a mathematical perspective, I do have a line over here that is consistent.
The same thing applies here on the left side. However, because of the different letterforms and the shapes that appear inside of the text, my eye doesn't necessarily see a straight line until I turn that background on. So we see here that the line is indeed straight, but when I turn off that background again, my eye doesn't necessarily treat these punctuation marks, or hyphens for example, in the same way that it does the text. So my eye kind of sees a line that starts here, jumps out for the r and the g and the t, comes back in again for the n, back for the e, so on and so forth.
And the same thing applies here on the left side, where maybe I don't see the S and the e starting in the same place because my eye sees such a big white gap over here underneath the quote mark. So there are two settings inside of Illustrator that we can take advantage of to help us get an effect that's a little bit more visually appealing. I am going to select the frame itself, and from a frame perspective, I have a setting in my Type menu called Optical Margin Alignment, and this allows me to set my paragraph now to be aligned optically instead of mathematically.
Now, in truth, this applies just to the shapes themselves, so I don't really see that much of a difference. It's really looking at the letterforms, and it's making sure that the letterforms are adjusted just a little bit to be aligned more from an optical perspective. And this will change depending on the different typeface that I might be using. However, when it comes to different punctuation, for example commas, or hyphens or quote marks, I may want to use an effect called hanging that punctuation, so that the punctuation actually sits outside of the frame. Meaning that when Illustrator calculates where the actual text needs to be stretched to, it should only do that for the characters, but it should ignore the punctuation in that case.
We refer to that as hanging punctuation. I can access that through my Paragraph panel. So I am going to go to my Window menu here, scroll down to where it says Type, I will choose Paragraph. Next, I will go to the flyout menu of the Paragraph panel and choose this option here called Roman Hanging Punctuation. When I turn that option on, take a look at what happens. You can see that the hyphens themselves are pushed outside of the frame and it's the actual letters themselves that now align themselves to the edge of that frame. Same thing here for the comma and the same thing over here for the quote at the beginning of the paragraph.
In fact, now, if I turn that background on and I go ahead now and I deselect this, you can clearly see that the punctuation now is being pushed outside the frame, and that gives my eye a clear line straight down both the left and the right margins so my text looks more uniform and more clean. So if you are a stickler for aligning your type correctly, just keep in mind that Illustrator has two options: Optical Margin Alignment, which applies to the frame, and Roman Hanging Punctuation, which applies to the text within that frame.
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