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#7 Squarespace Typography Secrets Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I covered:

  • How many typefaces should you use?
  • An excellent rule for choosing typefaces
  • Accessibility and why that comes first

Check the typography video part 1 it out if you haven’t already.

1.) Letter spacing and tracking

Letter spacing isn’t something you usually need to touch, as the defaults are set by the typographer and have been well-tested and thought about when they were designing the font. That said, it’s certainly an option for you to experiment with. Letter spacing is the CSS value, in typography, it’s known as tracking. Nudging the letters closer together can make a big difference to the feel of the type. You would only really adjust letter spacing on headlines, not body copy such as paragraphs. It’s very, very rare to change the body copy’s letter spacing but some Squarespace designs do.

letter spacing

2.) Line height and leading

Technically known as leading in traditional type talk is an option that can make for a much better effect than letting spacing. Whilst letter spacing is only realistically set on headlines, line height can be set on headlines and body copy (paragraphs) with big effects to the readability of the text. On a headline, you may set it to about 1.2. Your mileage may vary depending on what typeface you are working with, but 1.2 is a good figure to rely on.

In the body copy, 1.5 is initially a solid figure to set and see what it brings. Again, it depends on what typeface you are working with. You may find that 1.3 works, and you may find that 1.7 works. My personal liking is quite open text and something like a 1.65 on some sites.

Line Height - Squarespace

3.) Spacing between headlines and body copy

In the first example below, the first “Emissions targets” is halfway between the surrounding paragraphs. This makes for a design in which no relationship is established between the paragraphs above or below. By giving more space above the headline, it creates a better relationship, as the headline should describe the content immediately below it and not above it. I’ve mentioned it a few times now in this short video series, but there can be a lot to go wrong with typography, and to make things as simple and easy as possible is good advice. Therefore, it’s not a bad guideline to say two parts about the headline and 1 part below. This established a good synergy between the headline and the following paragraph.

Spacing between headline and body

4.) Line length

Having the wrong line length is a common problem in web design. The line length is normally too long and not short. The issue is that with a long line length, when the eye goes to the next line you are not sure which line actually is the correct one to read. It frustrating and tiring to read long scathes of text.

Ideal length

A good figure to aim for is 65 characters per line. The general advice is to have from 45 to 75, but there’s too much away for me in that advice. 65 seems about right to me when I’m setting type with CSS.

@media only screen and (min-width: 1280px) {
 p{max-width: 900px;}


@media only screen and (min-width: 1280px) {
 p{font-size: 28px;}

Line Length

Hope these tips have helped; please leave any comments on the YouTube page.

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