Details Part 5

Ligatures
If the typeface you are using has ligatures you should ensure that they are implemented in your text. Ligatures are specially designed characters that overcome unfortunate clashes between certain letter combinations. The top part of a lowercase f can clash with the dot of a lowercase i. Some typefaces overcome this by merging the two characters in a sensitively designed fashion. Many software programmes can implement ligatures automatically or you can use the ‘find and change’ facility. You can ascertain whether the face has ligatures by checking ‘key caps’ – sometimes they are in the expert set of a particular face. In some typefaces the fi and fl ligatures can also be set by typing 5 and 6 respectively while holding the shift and option keys.

1 Ligatures

Small caps and non-alignining figures
Your choice of typeface for a particular job may very well be determined by whether it has small caps and non-aligning figures (expert set). Avoid faking small caps by reducing the size of the capitals – this makes them look narrow and light in comparison to surrounding letters. Small caps and non-aligning figures are designed to simulate the x-height of lowercase letters – full size capitals and aligning figures tend to jump out of the text. Small caps and non-aligning figures are ideal for telephone numbers and postcodes. The third line in the small capitals illustration demonstrates the problem associated with faking small capitals, you can see in this instance that the reduced size capitals look thinner (lighter) the the true small capitals above.

2 Small Capitals

3 Non aligninig figures

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