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There are several types of screen documents that we can create in InDesign, Interactive PDFs--this is an example called INDESIGN MAGAZINE--Flash Player or SWF files, e-books created in the EPUB format, and documents created for tablets like the iPad and Android devices using the Digital Publishing Suite, or DPS. Each document type presents its own unique typographic challenges.
It's beyond the scope of this course to go into the nuts and bolts of these different but related media. To find out more I recommend you visit the following courses that are part of the online training library. InDesign CS6 Interactive Documents with Mike Rankin, InDesign CS5.5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad with Anne-Marie Concepcion, and Up and Running with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite with James Lockman. In this chapter I'm going to talking in broad strokes about issues relating to Screen Typography and how it differs from Print Typography.
Firstly, let's talk about Intent. This is an option that we have in the New Document dialog box, and we have three different types of Intent: Print, Web-- by which we really mean screen, and it is a bit of a misnomer here. We're not actually creating web pages as such in InDesign. We are creating Interactive documents and Flash documents that can be embedded into a web page. And the third option, Digital Publishing for publishing to a tablet or a smart phone.
If you are designing for screen in the form of a PDF for an SWF, your Orientation will be Wide as opposed to Tall, Landscape rather than Portrait. It's an obvious but at the same time a profound point. Pages are typically vertical in orientation, screens are horizontal. Obviously, we want to design with the appropriate Orientation and Aspect Ratio in mind. A vertically oriented print document that has been converted to a PDF for SWF just by choosing the appropriate accessible option, but without consideration for the specific medium will never be as successful as a document that was designed from the get-go with the Orientation and Aspect Ratio of the screen in mind.
Here is a print catalog that has been made into a PDF. And in exporting it as a PDF, the facing page's spreads have now become a single page, and it looks okay. But as we can see, the type is very small, and there's quite a lot of wasted space to the left and the right of the page. And this is because the Aspect Ratio of a facing page's print spread is very different to the Aspect Ratio of a monitor.
If you're designing for tablets like the iPad and choosing Digital Publishing as your Intent, you may be designing both horizontally and vertically-oriented pages. While the Liquid Layout rules introduced in InDesign CS6 make this easier, don't expect miracles. As you see when I create an alternate layout at a different orientation, InDesign's Liquid Layout rules take me part the way there, but I still need to manually intervene.
Perhaps the most important point to make about Screen Typography is that there is more that unites Screen and Print Typography than divides it. The same rules of appropriate font choice, readability, alignment, use of white space, and most of all, common sense apply. That said, paper and screen are different media, as are ink and pixels. Our typography is going to be stronger if we approach screen typography with an awareness of its uniqueness.
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