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Typography for Web Designers
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Adding rule lines to improve chunking


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Typography for Web Designers

with Laura Franz

Video: Adding rule lines to improve chunking

In this lesson, we're going to add rule lines to our sans serif bibliography. First, I want to go over some of the things to think about when using rule lines. Rule lines can be used to help chunk text for readers, but they should be used sparingly. If you use a rule line for everything, they lose their power. We lose the strong visual separation between sections, and instead we see a page of lines. Also, when you create lines, use the principle of similarity. If rule lines are meant to separate text into similar chunks of information, the lines should look similar to each other.
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  1. 6m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 57s
    3. Things to consider before starting this course
      3m 12s
  2. 41m 3s
    1. Understanding how good typography promotes reading
      2m 9s
    2. Understanding legibility
      4m 41s
    3. Understanding how fonts convey meaning
      5m 19s
    4. Choosing web-safe fonts to convey meaning
      6m 13s
    5. Using font size, case, style, letter spacing, weight, and color to convey meaning
      6m 22s
    6. Choosing web fonts to convey meaning
      6m 23s
    7. Downloading web fonts
      4m 9s
    8. Applying web fonts in CSS with @font-face
      5m 47s
  3. 38m 0s
    1. Choosing a web-safe font for use in text
      4m 13s
    2. Applying the web-safe font to the text and the heading
      3m 4s
    3. Setting a class for the resource titles in the text
      3m 45s
    4. Choosing a second web-safe font for the heading
      2m 42s
    5. Applying the second font to the heading
      2m 16s
    6. Choosing a web font from the Google Font API for use in text
      5m 44s
    7. Adding and applying the Google Font API syntax
      4m 29s
    8. Choosing a second web font from the Google Font API for the heading
      2m 56s
    9. Adding and applying the second font to the heading
      4m 52s
    10. Analyzing the fonts on some professional sites
      3m 59s
  4. 55m 31s
    1. Understanding how we read
      4m 34s
    2. Finding and applying a good font size and line height
      4m 50s
    3. Finding and applying a good line length
      8m 6s
    4. Understanding ems
      6m 17s
    5. Using ems to set font size
      6m 9s
    6. Using ems to set line length
      3m 40s
    7. Understanding how color affects readability
      3m 58s
    8. Improving a color palette by improving contrast
      5m 39s
    9. Improving a color palette by reducing optical vibration
      4m 59s
    10. Analyzing text readability on the professional sites
      7m 19s
  5. 1h 11m
    1. Understanding how we "chunk" visual elements
      3m 59s
    2. Developing a system of hierarchy
      2m 17s
    3. Applying hierarchy in HTML and CSS
      7m 16s
    4. Developing a system to help chunk text for readers
      6m 1s
    5. Applying the system in the CSS
      4m 19s
    6. Changing an element by creating and applying a class
      5m 0s
    7. Using multiple columns to create hierarchy
      4m 12s
    8. Building a two-column system in HTML and CSS
      10m 56s
    9. Refining the horizontal space in a two-column layout
      6m 1s
    10. Adding rule lines to improve chunking
      5m 50s
    11. Adding emphasis within a heading
      4m 36s
    12. Analyzing the chunking on the professional sites
      11m 18s
  6. 17m 57s
    1. Understanding classic and modernist typographic pages
      7m 3s
    2. Understanding how to create rhythm and tension
      6m 0s
    3. Applying typography skills when making design decisions
      4m 54s
  7. 55m 47s
    1. Designing typographic links for the traditional page
      5m 54s
    2. Adding a list of links to the traditional page
      8m 44s
    3. Describing the link states in CSS
      6m 30s
    4. Returning links to their original "unvisited" style
      2m 38s
    5. Using different CSS for different kinds of links
      7m 28s
    6. Using CSS notation to organize syntax
      5m 34s
    7. Choosing a background color or image
      4m 0s
    8. Applying a repeating background image
      2m 58s
    9. Shaping the traditional page layout
      6m 38s
    10. Analyzing the traditional typographic elements on the professional sites
      5m 23s
  8. 43m 0s
    1. Designing typographic links for the modernist page
      6m 47s
    2. Making a list of links run across the page
      2m 14s
    3. Adding and removing space between the navigation links
      6m 50s
    4. Styling the inline links on the modernist page
      5m 33s
    5. Choosing a background color or image for the modernist bibliography
      4m 4s
    6. Applying a no-repeat background image
      4m 13s
    7. Shaping the modernist page layout
      6m 58s
    8. Analyzing the modernist typographic elements on the professional sites
      6m 21s
  9. 52m 53s
    1. Fixing quotation marks and apostrophes
      6m 59s
    2. Fixing dashes
      6m 33s
    3. Working with lining figures (numbers) and acronyms
      9m 28s
    4. Fixing characters that don't look right
      8m 19s
    5. Hanging punctuation
      2m 54s
    6. Applying typographic accents
      2m 36s
    7. Vertically centering text
      5m 18s
    8. Creating drop caps
      5m 59s
    9. Analyzing the typographic details on the professional sites
      4m 47s
  10. 3m 9s
    1. Additional resources
      3m 9s

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Typography for Web Designers
6h 25m Appropriate for all Jul 14, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Learn how to choose fonts for a web site and create beautiful, legible type. Author Laura Franz shares how to create designs that maximize readability (and keep visitors on the page) by paying attention to details in size, line-height, line length, alignment, color, vertical space, and more. Laura also demonstrates how to incorporate web fonts, style type with CSS, and pick fonts that work well together.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how good typography promotes reading
  • Choosing web-safe fonts
  • Applying web fonts in CSS with @font-face
  • Adding and applying the Google Fonts syntax
  • Finding and applying a good font size, line height, and line length
  • Improving a color palette by improving contrast and reducing optical vibration
  • Understanding how people mentally organize, or chunk, visual elements
  • Applying a system of hierarchy in HTML and CSS
  • Applying vertical spacing in CSS
  • Adding emphasis within a heading
  • Understanding classic and modernist typographic pages
  • Adding a list of links
  • Creating drop caps
  • Fixing quotation marks, apostrophes, and dashes
Subjects:
Typography Web Web Design Web Fonts Web Foundations
Software:
TextWrangler
Author:
Laura Franz

Adding rule lines to improve chunking

In this lesson, we're going to add rule lines to our sans serif bibliography. First, I want to go over some of the things to think about when using rule lines. Rule lines can be used to help chunk text for readers, but they should be used sparingly. If you use a rule line for everything, they lose their power. We lose the strong visual separation between sections, and instead we see a page of lines. Also, when you create lines, use the principle of similarity. If rule lines are meant to separate text into similar chunks of information, the lines should look similar to each other.

If we use lines that look too different from each other, they began to suggest that each section is unique in some way. Here, it looks like the second section is subordinate to the first, like it's a subsection of the top section, but it's not. Here the first section looks more like an introduction to the second section, because the thick rule line below looks like it's the start of the main content, like it's more important even though it's not. On the other hand, sometimes you need to use different kinds of rule lines when there is a different kind of separation.

For example, if we were to add a footer to this layout and wanted to add a rule line, using the exact same kind of rule line might cause a momentary confusion. We expect the rule line to mean, here is a footer separated from the rest of the page. In this case, using a different kind of rule, maybe one that's dotted or a different color will help the reader see immediately that ohhh, whatever comes after this line is different from what came after the other lines. When working with rule lines, you also want to keep them as subtle as possible.

We'll see them, they'll work. You don't have to hit us over the head with them. You might try using a color that stands out less or a thinner rule line to help keep the lines subtle. Finally, keep the rule lines closer to the text they belong to. Here, the rule line suggests the section above it is ending. It draws our eyes to the text above it. Here, the rule line suggests that the next section is beginning. It draws our eyes to the text below it. Here, the rule is just in the middle, which is fine.

It separates the space. But we lose the extra hierarchy gained when visually associating the rule with the text it belongs to. The rule has less meaning here than it does here. It's a subtle difference, but it helps with the chunking. So okay, let's add a 1-pixel rule line to the top of each of the sections in our bibliography. We'll keep the color the same as the text so the rules don't pop out so much and we'll keep it simple. You need the files biblio_sans_rule.html and biblio_sans_rule.css from the Exercise folder.

Open the HTML file in the browser to see what we're working with. The page is just like we left it the last time. All the sections are neatly wrapped in their divs. Let's add the rule lines. We'll do this in our CSS file. We're going to add the rule line above each section. So we'll do it by adding a top border to each section div. So here's our section_container.

We'll add border-top. We're going to make it 1 pixel solid and we're going to use the same color as our text. Quick thing to do here is we can just actually copy that and paste it down here, so we've got a good match, and this will give us a simple 1 pixel solid blue line at the top of each section div. Let's save that and refresh. There we are! It's coming in here.

I think it's maybe a little bit too tight to the text. So we're going to go back in and add a little space. We're going to add padding to the top of our section container because padding gives us space inside the div, so the space will be inside between the border and the content. We'll add padding-top and let's see. We're going to try 1em. So this will give us 10 pixels of space.

We're going to start with this amount of space because it's double the amount of space that we used between our authors and our descriptions and I'd like to try to keep things sort of mathematically related. It gives me a place to start. We can refresh that and see that's working much better. It doesn't feel like it's only connected with that one title. But now the problem is I think we need a little bit more space above the rule line to really help the sections sort of separate from each other. Back in our CSS, we're going to add space above the rule line by using a margin, because margins add space outside of the div.

So the space will be outside of the border, between the border and the div above it. We'll add a margin-top. We're going to try 1.4 em. I'm starting with that measurement because that equals the measurement of our text. We're already using that measurement elsewhere in this file. I'm saving it. We can review it. I think that looks good. That looks like a good separation there. One of the things I'm going to do is I'm going to take the time to scroll up and down.

I know that top is a little tight still. We'll fix that later. I think this is looking really good. All right! So with the rule lines in place, the hierarchy is all set for this version of the bibliography.

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