10 elementary mistakes to avoid

Ten elementary mistakes that should be avoided while designing a page are:

1. Don't use all your fonts in one document: Fonts are a designer’s weakness. One or two select fonts can lift the look of a page but too many fonts on the same page can only create clutter and defeat the purpose of design. A better policy is to use variants from the same family. Headlines, of course, can be in a different font.

2. Have uniform paragraph space: Avoid setting paragraph space manually. You may end up giving different spaces between different paragraphs. It is better to write a code for uniformity or else use software that gives the option of setting paragraph space. Let the software do it.

3. Use single spaces after punctuation marks: Putting double spaces after a period is archaic. Initially, they signalled a pause. Nowadays, with proportional fonts, it's unnecessary and can actually make text hard to read. The practise of using double spaces is as obsolete as the typewriter. Use single space for visual appeal, and higher readability.

4. Don't use straight quote marks: Most page layout software and word processors give you the option of "curly" quotes. Use them instead of straight quotes. The punctuation we have grown up with shows quotes as inverted commas. Visually that is what as readers, we are conditioned to see.

5. Don't leave large text unkerned: Kerning is the process of increasing or decreasing the space between two characters. Designers kern all the time, for readability, for effect and mostly to fit the text. Most software gives you the option of kerning. It is always advisable to kern for larger fonts; smaller ones tend to run into one another.

6. Don't centre large amounts of text: Large chunks of centre aligned text are a design eyesore. The text must be set flush left; the headlines can be centred.

7. Avoid all capital settings: Upper and lower cases help people read faster. That is why all caps setting must be used very sparingly.

8. Don't leave widows and orphans: When the last word of a sentence is the only word in its row, it is a widow. An orphan is the first line of a paragraph that is also the last line in the column, the remaining text being carried over to the next column. Avoid both widows and orphans. They make the page look lose. 9. Don't use every box and line available in your software: Don’t go overboard with boxes and rules. They will do less to liven up the page and more to make it unattractive and cluttered.

10. Don't rely on your software's automatic leading feature: Leading is the space between two lines of text. Many programs have default leading set to a straight 20 %. This is irrespective of the font and its size. Always set the figures to what you want depending on the font and its specifications.

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