March 26, 2012
Single vs. double spacing after punctuation
In last week’s post, I shared my top five graphic design pet peeves. Today’s post is all about pet peeve number one, double spaces after punctuation.
If you were like me, you were taught to double space after punctuations. I’m here to tell you this is not correct in the professional world. Here’s a test. Check today’s newspaper, the novel you are reading, nearby magazine, or open a new tab and type your favorite URL. Are there double spaces after punctuations? No.
Why were we taught wrong?
Double spaces became the standard during the days when typewriters were king and letter forms used fixed width spacing. This means that all letters had the same amount of space around them instead of adjusting on a case by case basis. So, ‘i’ had the same amount of space as ‘m’. The reasoning for using double spaces after periods was to increase readability.
Flash forward to the era of computer-based word processing. Today, we use smart fonts that automatically adjust spacing around characters making the need for double spaces obsolete.
Seems straightforward, right? Even though this is the established standard for journalist, editors, publishers, typographers, and others, there are many people who still maintain a strong stance about using double spaces. This may help explain why some of us were taught wrong.
Check out this great post from slate.com related to double spacing. Be sure to check out the comments section for interesting dialogues. You can also see a response argument that defends double spacing. Decide your stance on the issue!
Biggest pet peeve worthy
This may seem like an insignificant concern for most people so why, you may ask, is this worthy to be considered one of my biggest pet peeves? It’s simple. Other than the fact that single spaces are cleaner, more readable, and the industry standard, as a designer, I end up being the one who has to take out unnecessary spaces. Not a big deal if you are talking about a paragraph of text but it does get annoying (and time-consuming) after a few pages.
Do you still use double spaces after punctuations?