Archive for the ‘Typesetting’ Category

E-book typesetting

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

I’ve had an amateur interest in typesetting for most of my working life and certainly from when I stumbled upon TeX and LaTeX.  Unfortunately, when you’ve become exposed to good typography, whether as a result of these systems, or from reading well printed books, one starts to find things that annoy one when standards are not kept.  (I am conscious that this blog suffers from some layout and typographical problems; hopefully I will fix them in the future.)

On John Gruber’s Daring Fireball, a couple of items have attracted my attention.  This piece from Paul Luna starts from an advertisement for the Amazon Kindle printed in one of the UK newspapers where the example shown on the screen in the advertisement is itself badly typeset, and then these pieces from Joe Clark on typography standards in e-books and these poor examples.  What makes some of these examples so bad is that they are not only bad presentation, but make the text either difficult to read or even give the text a different meaning.

I find more generally that if one has been exposed to the high quality typesetting of TeX (particularly with regard to its line-breaking which is optimised over a whole paragraph), every other word processor/ type setting system seems really bad.   As someone who has to use Word a great deal at work for generating documents which, frankly, Word is not up to, it is very frustrating that many of the problems that Word (and other systems) leave unsolved or badly solved were well addressed by Donald Knuth many years ago.