Weekly Wednesday Wisdom

By kenny friedman on Wednesday, July 28, 2010

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If you're reading this and your name is Chip Kidd please read the whole thing because there is a designer geek story at the end...and you're in it.

Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of controversy on my blog but this post involves a subject that people are incredibly emotionally attached to so please if you comment keep your comments nice.

This wisdom comes from a recent post from Girls Girls Girls week where I called Morgan out for using a double space after a period. Metta1313 joined the conversation and backed up the use of the double space. As an English teacher she felt she was correct...and via twitter she rallied the troops of other teachers and two-space fanatics...which brings me to my wisdom for Miloh this week.

Wisdom for Miloh: Teachers aren't always right. They make you want to think they are but they aren't. For instance there was the English teacher I had in 7th grade who said no one had ever gotten out of her class and never would. Then when I pissed her off so much that she hit me on the head with my book I was able to get out of the class...proved her wrong and became a hero in middle school.

When it comes to the idea that there are supposed to 2 spaces after a period it's just plain wrong...unless you're using a typewriter...if you are then continue using 2 spaces.

The basic deal is that with the advent of proportional fonts, on those fancy computers everyone is talking about, you no longer need that double space.

We all know that Wikipedia can have bullshit on it so I decided to go to experts to find out their thoughts of the double space.

I tweeted out to House Industries (a great font house who's merch was mentioned in a Gear Thursday), Chank (awesome type dude who's fonts will rock your blog...so buy some) and the aforementioned Chip Kidd...one of my fave designers...if you've ever read a book there is an 87%* chance that he designed the cover.

Here is what they said.

House Industries: @smonkyou Easy. One space after a period. Chicago Manual of Style also agrees: http://bit.ly/a7WQl5

Chank: @smonkyou Does HTML still convert a double-space to no-space? That's why I roll all single space. Doublespacing is 4 babyboomrs. #spacingWar

@smonkyou are you talking about manual typewriter teachers? nobody should use double spaces. just not a good idea. #SpacingWar

Chip Kidd: @smonkyou One space after a period. Period.

There you have it...the people that matter (designers and type designers) all know that it's one space after a period...

When you think about it by adding that extra space after a period you are basically spitting in the face of type designers who painstakingly set the spacing of the typefaces they create.

So Miloh...when you're in school remember teachers are not always correct, they like to pretend they are but, like all people, they don't know everything.

And if any teacher tells you there should be 2 spaces after a period (even your mom) call me as soon as you can and I'll rush to rescue you.

Oh, and as far as the oxford comma goes there is no definite answer on it...except House told me they are a fan of the song. My thought is it's a huge waste of time and resources. If no one used them we'd kill 21,234 less trees and use 102,348 less gallons of ink each year*.

*my numbers may be off in this post.


And here's my little story about Chip Kidd. When I was a photographer I discovered Chip's (or Mr. Kidd's...not sure which to say) work. I had of course seen a lot of it because he's created some super iconic book cover designs...but I hadn't known who the designer was until I checked design annuals and saw his name plastered in them.

A bunch of years passed and he was doing a signing at a local comic book store with comic book illustrator Alex Ross...they did a book together. I waited in line to get my book signed...I've never done something like this.

The line kind of went like this...people gabbed with Alex for a while, had him sign the book and then move to Chip and left...sorry but that is kinda what went down.

Then I came in...I didn't know who Alex Ross was...so I said hi and skipped over him to ask Chip (or Mr. Kidd) if he'd sign his book The Cheese Monkeys.

I think I was the only one who skipped Alex...because they looked at each other kinda like I was crazy.

Then I might have blown Chip's (or Mr. Kidd's) mind.

In the paper back version of his book there is a line saying that the version had one extra sentence than the hard cover...so I of course asked if that was the extra sentence.

Sadly it was not...but he pointed the other new sentence out.

When I write my first book, and Chip (or Mr. Kidd) designs the cover...I will add that same line to the paperback version and that WILL be the only extra sentence...yes I am a geek.



16 comments:

  1. Next, I suppose you're going to tell him that capitalization is a thing of the past too? Good thing he has Staci to provide the proper educational foundation a growing boy needs. Oh, and you lost me at "comic book store" but I still pretended I was listening.

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  2. need I remind you kenny that your wife (that would be me) and I am always right :) oh we are in for a ride....(double space double space).

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  3. meant to say....need I remind you kenny that your wife (that would be me) is a teacher. (double space) and I am always right....double space double space. We are in for a ride love.

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  4. Staci: (former teacher here, Masters degree in Education, yadda, yadda, yadda) double space I agree with you, it's probably because I learned how to type on an old fashioned typewriter with the old fashioned correction tape. Also, I think it looks better and easier to read.

    Kenny: I am not going to argue against you anymore, because I do recognize that the type font thing is legit and therefore only requires a single space, however I'm a firm believer that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and me, well I'm closer to an old dog than a young puppy. So I will still double space and we can both be right, because at one point double space was the right way.

    And back to Staci, yes you're in for a ride with him!

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  5. As far as the can't teach an old dog a new trick thing...when I took typing in high school (and almost failed for the week we used a computer and mine crashed before I saved and I yelled "FUCK") I would only use one space...I got docked points for that a lot.

    I was ahead of my time because I think that was before proportional fonts.

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  6. Kenny, I bet you were a teachers DREAM! I hope you continue to blog about Miloh when he starts school, and document his notes home on the blog. :o)

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  7. As a teacher, I secretly know I don't have all the answers. But shhhhh...don't tell my students. They have to have faith that I always know what the hell I'm doing and talking about.

    Double spaces rule! That I do know about. It's retro. It's tradition. I do it to honor my 85 year old grandmother who taught typing. And I'm so glad you got docked points in your class.

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  8. i JUST learned a couple months ago that the 2 space rule was dead. i went to high school and college during the transition the MLA and APA were making towards dealing with word processors. yes, i will tell my grandchildren how i was there when the underline changed to italics. so i don't know when the MLA and APA (the only two sources i would trust on such rules) officially changed it, but being out of school and a profession that relies on formal papers, the news has just rocked my world. however, i don't believe i DO types 2 spaces after a period. too much work. as are capital letters, as you can see. my web writing style includes all proper spelling, grammar and punctuation (to the best of my ability), but no capital, except in cases of abbreviations. just a personal style. oops, i just typed two spaces. BAD, kelly, BAD!

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  9. Okay, you win; Mommy's willing to concede in the one space vs. two debate, BUT she will fight to the death over the Oxford Comma. LOVE the Oxford Comma. LOVE.

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  10. Wow, I didn't even realize this was an issue. I still two space it and I bet it's going to take a lot of work to stop doing so.

    Siiiiigh, yet another way I'm a failure. Although I hate this crap that's sort of in a transitional state because if you do it the old school way, everyone says you're doing it wrong, but if you do it the new way, old school people (who might be wanting to hire you for a job) think you're an idiot. You can't win.

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  11. This could not be more true. I work for a fairly large and popular company and as a designer it kills me to see the copy I receive all typed out with those double spaces.

    What about dumb quotes?!?! Don't even get me started on those.

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  12. I had this discussion with a friend about a year ago. He firmly believed in double space. I pointed out that the APA manual said single so in our professional writing it should be single.
    One month later, a new APA manual was published.
    New rule: They decided to return to double space.

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  13. Dr. Aunt is all for Kenny teaching Miloh about the proper single-space after the period. I haven't always agreed with Kenny (when we fought as kids, Mom would send us to the same room and we'd wind up playing--it worked), this is one issue where he trumps Staci (sorry, Staci).

    I find it interesting that no one has pointed out Kenny's use and misuse of its and it's...

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  14. And here's another 2 cents.

    The design company I work for has a European client that INSISTS on using French Spacing in their documents (our only client that does). Even when we try and argue with them that its no longer "in fashion".

    So, whether its right or wrong (for us at least), it all boils down to what the client wants and will they still pay the invoice! (lol)

    (P.S., me personally, I was always a firm believer of 1 space...)

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  15. And here's another 2 cents.

    The design company I work for has a European client that INSISTS on using French Spacing in their documents (our only client that does). Even when we try and argue with them that its no longer "in fashion".

    So, whether its right or wrong (for us at least), it all boils down to what the client wants and will they still pay the invoice! (lol)

    (P.S., me personally, I was always a firm believer of 1 space...)

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  16. Wow, I didn't even realize this was an issue. I still two space it and I bet it's going to take a lot of work to stop doing so.

    Siiiiigh, yet another way I'm a failure. Although I hate this crap that's sort of in a transitional state because if you do it the old school way, everyone says you're doing it wrong, but if you do it the new way, old school people (who might be wanting to hire you for a job) think you're an idiot. You can't win.

    ReplyDelete



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