Rarely, do you ever see four columns in a newsletter or magazine. Very, very rarely. If you have narrow columns, then the type has to be smaller, otherwise you’re not getting enough characters on a line of type.
Notice in the picture, the word spacing between words is not consistent? A good typographer aims for consistent wordspacing, just as an editor aims for consistent spelling. What if a writer wrote the word wordspacing as one word, and then elsewhere wrote word spacing as two words? Would the reader notice? The editor should.
Or, what if a reporter wrote a name two different ways in a story? What would you think about the reporter or the publication? They weren’t sure how to write a person’s name, so they wrote it both ways?
Letterspacing—the space between letters —should also be consistent.
The white space helps to guide a reader’s eye across the line.
So, if you’re preparing a book, newsletter, or magazine, think about the spacing, as well as spelling.
This article was adapted from our Design for Desktop Publishers course manual.