Paying attention to the detail in typography is extremely important for the professional designer. It is the job of the designer to ensure that adjustments are made to the spacing of letters, words and lines of type to create good typography.
System preferences and software settings have been established to enable most people who are unconcerned about fine typography to set type effectively, but these settings cannot ensure that all text will be displayed to its optimum level. There is little in the way of a formula that can be applied to create good text setting, each situation must be judged individually.
Care has been taken with Tony Pritchard's poster so that the visual space between lines is not less than the space between words Most raw typesetting on the Mac delivers a reasonable starting point for making adjustments to the overall letter or word spacing. Typefaces are different and the fit of the letters varies accordingly: certain typefaces benefit from tighter or looser letter spacing or tighter word spacing, for example. Graphic designers must also consider the medium in which the typography will be delivered – for screen, print and spatial environments. Scale also plays an important part.
Root 2 Design chose to extreme track the number 100 in order to align the two zeros above the two 'o's in London in this image Letter spacing (tracking)
Letter spacing in a block of text can be adjusted to have an overall looser or tighter spacing, and this is known as tracking. Particular typefaces benefit from a tighter setting, others a looser approach. The amount of tracking used is to an extent down to personal preference – most settings will require slight adjustments and can be quite subtle.
Words set in capital letters benefit from a looser setting. This helps both with the fit of the letters and the overall readability. Some words will have awkward combinations of letterforms. Consider the word RAILWAY. The R and the A slope away from each other creating space, whilst the I and the L as two verticals side by side have less space. The capital letter L followed by a capital letter A such as in LAND or LABOUR creates a large space, which is difficult to equalise amongst the following letters. This creates unevenness in the spacing of the letters in a word. The role of the designer is to make optical adjustments to create that evenness of spacing. Care also needs to be exercised when setting in capitals as words are recognised by their shape, and words in capitals are more uniform with a less distinctive shape.