Skip to content

old rules v. new rules

For AVT215, we had to design a brochure with the “13 Deadly Sins of Typography,” one of which was the two spaces after a period rule. Recently I got in a debate with a friend (via Twitter, of all places) over whether it was still relevant or not. She said that when she types papers it just doesn’t look right when there aren’t two spaces, and it’s harder to read with just one space. I argued what I learned in class, that the extra space isn’t necessary since newer software adjusts the space automatically, and that with two spaces the gap seems too large. I did a little–and by “little” I mean a <5 minute Google search–on the current rules and opinions. I found a few opposing articles. Some said that the spacing was necessary for old typewriters with monospace fonts and is obsolete now, and even a design flaw. Others said the typewriter justification was BS made up by typographers, and that it doesn’t matter if there is one space or two. I was never taught to double space after a period, but I know my parents were, and apparently some of my peers. Personally, the space bothers me and makes body text look uneven. Is it just in the design world that this is a “sin”, while in professional practice it is still relevant?

3 Comments

  1. i_like_cats wrote:

    I never learned to do it in school and I have never been told to do it in the “real world”. I agree, I think it looks funny and uneven. Today’s software does a fine job a spacing the text so that it is readable in a standard type of document with standard typefaces like Times or Calibri. I think if you are trying to adjust type to fill in a space a certain way, or if you are using maybe a very condensed or specialize typeface, and it really isn’t readable, then go for it, but on your average email or essay, there’s no need.

    Monday, April 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  2. ogroves wrote:

    I don’t know. My sister can’t stand to not have two spaces after a period. She’s a history major and does a lot of writing of looong papers, she says it makes it easier to read long papers as it creates a little visual rest for the eye and helps separate sentences in long text blocks.

    Friday, April 12, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  3. Jesse Noel wrote:

    What the majority of most people who take the side against you seem to not understand is that the whole point of the double space has been made obsolete. You said it perfectly — our software now increases the space on its own. My mother grew up using the double space. I never even heard of it until a few years ago, and I’m almost thirty. I can understand the need if the person is typing their papers into Wordpad or Textpad, but if you’re using an even remotely modern text editing software, you can save your little space bar the added wear and tear.

    Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink