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Explore the numerous type options, type-related features, and type-specific preferences of Adobe InDesign. Using practical, real-world examples, instructor and designer Nigel French dissects the anatomy of a typeface and defines the vocabulary of typography. The course moves from the micro to the macro level, addressing issues such as choosing page size, determining the size of margins, adjusting number columns, and achieving a clean look with baseline grids. This course takes you from laying out a page to delving into the hows and whys of typography.
Here are some of the considerations when working with type in all uppercase, or all caps. Anytime you type in upper and lowercase, you can convert to all caps just by clicking on the two big Ts. The opposite is not true. If you type with your Caps Lock on, then you can't easily go to upper and lowercase. You do have the option of changing case here, and you could choose Sentence Case, but this is very easily tripped up, because anytime InDesign encounters an end of sentence punctuation, be it a full stop, a question mark, an exclamation mark, then it will immediately capitalize the next character.
So anytime you have some sort of initialism, US for example, that's going to trip up the casing. Now, some of the aesthetic considerations of working with type in all uppercase; it's something to be used sparingly. Type in all uppercase is a bit shouty. It does not make your text more important, it certainly doesn't make people more likely to read it, and the reason for that is that when we have type in upper and lower, we have certain characters that go beneath the baseline; the Gs and the Ys in this example, and we have other characters that go above the X height, the X height being this implied line that is at the height of the lowercase letters.
So going above that, we have the H, and the L, and the D, and the B, and the K, and this all just makes for more interesting letter shapes. And that's how we read; we tend to read words by shapes, rather than by words alone. So if I come and turn on this layer here, we can see that if we use type in all uppercase, the word shapes are all very similar; they're all just rectangles, whereas type in upper and lower creates a much more interesting shape.
And if I now turn off the type layer, we can see that at a glance, the upper and lower is all-around more interesting, and a lot easier to read. Now, here is another example of why we should use all uppercase rather sparingly. It just becomes extremely difficult to read for anything longer than a line. In this day and age, this almost goes without saying. I think visual sophistication is so much higher than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, so very few people do this any longer, and I'm sure that you wouldn't be tempted to do this, but just in case you see other people that do stuff like this, you might want to point out to them that it's not going to do their text any favors.
When we do want to use type all in uppercase for some sort of display, or for some sort of branding, then we will often find that it looks better if we give some air between the characters. So if we work with a looser letter fit, or with increased tracking, the visual result is the same thing. So here we have the type just typed out all in uppercase with a tracking value of 0, and here we have the same thing, but with a tracking value of positive 50, and I think you'll agree that the lower version looks a whole lot better.
So that's a general rule of thumb. Doesn't always hold true, and it depends upon what sort of effect you're trying to achieve, but if you're looking for a little bit more sophistication from your type all in uppercase, add some positive tracking between the letters.
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