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

Re: line-height suggestions and easier alignment

From: Scott Johnson <sjohnson@mozilla.com>
Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2012 15:17:12 -0600
Message-ID: <4F0764D8.80507@mozilla.com>
To: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.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 <ric@betleywhitehorne.com>
Perhaps I'm missing something important, but isn't Richard just 
advocating that we add another option so that an author could control 
where the spacing for line-height is applied? I don't see why creating 
an additional option that modifies the behavior of line-height, in a 
future version of CSS, would be controversial. It seems that he has 
presented a use case where the current definition of the standard is 
unable to construct layout in the way that he wants, and he is 
proposing an (optional) addition that would allow this control.

If a designer wanted the old behavior, could that just be made the 
default? (i.e. they don't have to use it if they don't want to)


On Thu 05 Jan 2012 01:58:50 PM CST, John Hudson wrote:
> 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.
> Indeed.
> 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.
> JH
> * I say 'mostly' because the OpenType BASE table provides for the 
> possibility of varying baseline height when aligning different scripts.
Received on Friday, 6 January 2012 21:17:46 UTC

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