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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.
Another type style available in some typefaces is Condensed, and I want to talk about some of the aspects of working with condensed typefaces, particularly useful when working with tabular information. So here we have a version of type that has been squeezed, as opposed to using the real Condensed version. So if a real Condensed version of the typeface does not exist, you can do this, although it's not really a very good idea, and it's this option here; make the horizontal scale of the type less than 100%.
So I've made it pretty much equivalent to the horizontal scale of the real Condensed version, but what we can see is that in doing so, we are really lessening the presence of the type, because all the aspects of the letter forms get scaled to 72% horizontally. And that's not the case when you're working with a real Condensed version of the type, because that's been specifically re-drawn for the new proportions.
So if you have a real Condensed style, use that in preference to trying to squeeze a normal weight. We can see here in this close-up exactly what's going on when we squeeze the type. Look at what's happening to the dot that is more or less circular in the real Condensed version of the typeface, but by the time it gets squeezed to 72%, or whatever it is I'm using, then it looks rather odd. Try and avoid that wherever possible.
Now, condensed typefaces, as well as obviously being of benefit when you have to fit in a lot of text into a finite amount of space, can also be useful for more impactful headlines, because you get to use up more vertical space, because you can get the condensed letters into the same amount of horizontal space that a non-condensed version of the type would occupy. So here we have, using the same amount of horizontal space, this Helvetica Neue Black at 82 points.
Now, I should point out that these typefaces are not part of the regular install of fonts for InDesign, so you may not have these typefaces, but you may have others like these. So I'm using Helvetica Neue Black, 82 point something points. Now, if we go to the Condensed version, we can go up to 105 points, and we can see that that looks already more impactful. But if we want to really create some impact, then we can go to an ultra condensed, or in this case, a Compressed Version.
Now, compressed typefaces are extremely difficult to read for anything longer than a headline, but in this case, I think it makes much more impact than using just the regular bold weight of the font, and we can see it occupies a whole lot more vertical space. Going to the other extreme of a condensed typeface would be an extended typeface, where the horizontal scale has been stretched. The characters, of course, as with the condensed typefaces, have been re-drawn to accommodate the new shapes of the characters, but these typefaces occupy more horizontal width.
In terms of making an impactful headline, they are not particularly useful, but they may create a certain stylistic look that you're after. There are relatively few typefaces that have an extended style, but one popular typeface family that does have an extended style is Helvetica Neue, and here we have a comparison of Helvetica Neue Black extended on the bottom, versus Helvetica Neue Black. We can see that each of the letter forms is occupying more horizontal space.
So there we have some issues to consider primarily when working with condensed typefaces, but also when working with their opposite number, extended typefaces. Wherever possible, use the real weight; the real condensed, or the real extended type styles if they are available.
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