Typesetting is a crucial aspect of design that involves arranging text in a visually pleasing and readable manner. When designers choose fonts and arrange text nicely, reading is more enjoyable. Effective typesetting enhances the aesthetic appeal of written materials and improves readability and comprehension.

Writing has been one of the most fundamental forms of communication since the Cognitive Revolution. It traces its roots back to hieroglyphs or pictograms. Ancient civilizations used to draw images in caves to represent ideas and tell stories. These images soon evolved into alphabets, which later unfolded into various typesetting styles.

With the help of sophisticated word-processing software, typesetting has become relatively easy in this modern world. In this blog, we will learn about typesetting, its fundamental steps, and the differences between print and digital typesetting. 

Table of Contents:

What is Typesetting?

Typesetting is an ancient art. It is the way a text is designed using letters, symbols, glyphs, etc. One needs to have a fundamental understanding of fonts, font sizes, and visual design for effective typesetting. 

Good typesetting is considered to be inconspicuous, that is, it allows readers to enjoy the font without any interruption. However, bad typesetting tends to draw attention to itself and distract a reader.

Today, trends in typesetting involve layout innovation, personalized fonts, responsive designs, visual hierarchy, etc. With proper typesetting, you can evoke the right mood and tone for your book. 

Fundamental Steps of Typesetting

Typesetting involves planning out the visual design of a text to ensure it adheres to standards so that it is easy to read. Here are the basic guidelines to follow in typesetting: 

  • Visual Hierarchy: Figure out the size of the different fonts you need to organize. Three major sections make up a visual hierarchy of text — the headline, subheading, and body. Arrange them in a way that makes the design more visually appealing and easier to navigate.
  • Fonts: Pick the right fonts for your designs. It should blend in well with the theme and purpose of the content.
  • Spacing: Ensure there is uniform and proper spacing between the letters, lines, headings, paragraphs, chapters, etc.

Also Read: 10 Ways Your Website Can Leverage Dynamic Typesetting!

The Evolution of Typesetting & Typography

Any letter or symbol written by humans can be considered as typography. And the creative way you write those letters using different sizes, spaces, and fonts defines typesetting.

Johannes Gutenberg, a German craftsman, designed and built the first known mechanized printing press in Europe. In 1455, he printed the Gutenberg Bible, which is believed to be one of the earliest books in the world to be printed from a movable type printing press machine.

Let us go through the evolution of typesetting phase by phase:

1. The Earliest Typesetting: Cave Paintings

  • People have been making paintings in caves for a long time, like the ones in Lascaux Cave from around 20,000 B.C.
  • Later, around 3100 B.C., the Egyptians started using symbols or ideograms in their art, buildings, and writing. 
  • Then, about 1600 B.C., the Phoenicians made symbols that represented words when spoken. They’re thought to have made the first alphabet. 
  • Around 1000 B.C.— the same alphabet was used by the Greeks. If you notice, the word Alphabet is a combination of the first two Greek letters, Alpha and Beta.

2. Development of Typesetting Features in the Middle Age

  • During the Middle Ages, manuscripts were meticulously typeset by hand, incorporating intricate illustrations and written text. This led to the evolution of a gamut of writing styles.
  • They used different styles of writing, like Uncials and half Uncials, which had fancy rounded letters.
  • Alongside the art of calligraphy, typesetting practices such as page layouts, lettering, and formatting gained popularity. 

3. Modern-Age Gutenberg Typesetting

  • During the Industrial Revolution, typesetting played its role in communicating with the masses. It is communicated through posters, newspapers, and advertisements. The use of bold-lettered fonts and shading became popular.
  • By the 1800s, medieval art had become much more common. International artistic styles have been developing ever since.

Today, in the 21st century, Graphic designers are equipped with endless tools and technologies to create countless typesetting styles that attract the reader’s attention and enhance the overall reading experience.

Print vs. Digital Typesetting

Let’s take a look at the two primary types of typesetting: Print and Digital

  • Print typesetting simply means the physical arrangement of text on paper. This may involve planning out spacing, font size, chapters, etc so that they are compatible with the size and type of the paper, book, or whatever other medium is being used.
  • On the other hand, digital typesetting is related to the text that appears on different digital screens, for eg. on websites, social media, emails, ebooks, etc. It can vary depending on the devices and screen sizes. For digital typesetting, it is important to maintain a responsive design that is compatible with all digital screens.

Graphic Design Trends of 2024 You Can’t Miss

Graphic design is constantly evolving, and staying updated with the latest trends is essential to keep your designs fresh and engaging. In 2024, we’re seeing some exciting new styles emerge, each with its unique flair.  Let’s explore some of the standout trends shaping graphic design in 2024:

  • Liquified Designs: The most popular writing style currently includes a combination of realistic & abstract elements. They appear fluid, with undefined shapes. This works wonders for books that are based on surrealism.
  • Iconographic: Not strictly adhering to traditional typography, these fonts are cheeky and fun. Their chaotic look affixs charm to your designs. Go for it if your genre is satire.
  • Retro Condensed: Condensed typefaces are elusive. With their vibrant colors, they create bold and appealing designs. These work great for designing cover pages, posters, etc.
  • Image Over Text: A trending design that many designers are using is images appearing over text. It works both, in print as well as digital media.
  • Vintage: Get ready to travel back in time with a modern twist. Vintage aesthetics can be a great option for your period drama.
  • Animation Of Fonts: This is mainly useful for digital typesetting. Kinetic typography is steadily picking up as a trend to catch viewers’ attention. The main purpose of it is to make the design more interactive.
  • Highlighted Style Of Lettering: The highlighting of lettering is a comparatively new trend that is steadily picking up in 2024. It is done to emphasize a particular message or element.
  • Hand-drawn Fonts: Hand-drawn fonts never go out of fashion. Amongst such fonts, those with rugged edges and bold strokes are especially sought after because add character and personality to any design. Their versatility shines through when paired with watercolor textures or foil accents, offering a unique and handmade feel to your projects.
  • Accessible Typesetting: In 2024, alongside modern design trends, accessible typesetting has emerged as a crucial focus. Accessible typesetting means arranging text in a way that makes it easy for everyone to read and understand, especially for those who might have trouble reading, like people with poor eyesight or dyslexia. The goal is inclusivity for all readers.

Also Read: Cultural Influences on Typography: Global Perspectives in Typesetting

Wrapping Up

As with all human developments, the concept of writing did not spring up all at once. It was developed progressively over tens of thousands of years. From making pictures on cave walls for storytelling to modern-day AI-driven typesetting tools, we have come a long way in terms of typography.

Hurix Digital uses the latest technology clubbed with years of typesetting experience to create the perfect look and feel for your book. We also provide comprehensive editorial and pre-press services.

Get in touch with us now for a free consultation.