W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2012

Re: line-height suggestions and easier alignment

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Thu, 05 Jan 2012 11:58:50 -0800
Message-ID: <4F0600FA.2040709@tiro.com>
To: Richard Le Poidevin <ric@betleywhitehorne.com>
CC: www-style@gtalbot.org, Peter Sorotokin <psorotok@adobe.com>, Alan Gresley <alan@css-class.com>, W3C www-style mailing list <www-style@w3.org>
Richard Le Poidevin wrote:

> InDesign isn't a WYSIWYG HTML editor although it can export HTML 
> (probably not very well!). It's a print layout tool by Adobe that is 
> similar to Quark Express. It's become the industry standard for print 
> layouts in magazines, documents, brochures and I think even newspapers - 
> basically it good at handling lots of text. I mentioned it here as it 
> most clearly illustrated how line-height (leading) has been 
> traditionally applied and the advantages it has for vertically aligning 
> text. Whilst not everything Adobe do is great they do have a lot of 
> experience with typography.


In the font world there is only one mostly* constant vertical alignment, 
and that is baseline. All other metrics are font specific, so cannot be 
relied upon to produce aligned text across columns except when the same 
font is used at the same size everywhere within the text. Most 
misalignments are the result of different fonts or font sizes in the top 
lines of text, with distance from the top of the text block being 
calculated relative to one of these font-specific metrics, e.g. ascender 
height or cap height. The only way to ensure alignment across columns is 
to set the distance from the top of the text block to equal an absolute 
leading value used throughout the columns (or a multiple of that value 
if a larger size of text is used in the top line, e.g. a 24pt header on 
30pt leading above 12pt text on 15pt leading. This is one of the options 
InDesign sensibly provides; obviously this implies that all leading is 
applied above the line of type, and is a baseline-to-baseline 
measurement. Very sensible.


* I say 'mostly' because the OpenType BASE table provides for the 
possibility of varying baseline height when aligning different scripts.
Received on Thursday, 5 January 2012 19:59:22 UTC

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