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This video describes available texts and some of the nuances surrounding the use of text in newspaper design.

By Jeremy Wise

Lead Designer

Text is the most important part of a newspaper. It is where most of the information comes from.

"I think of text as the basic structure of a newspaper -- the bones, if you will," former The Enterprise Ledger Sports Editor Jeremy Wise said. The photographs and different styles of text provide the skin, or the outside beauty, of the product."

There are three types of text one can use in design. You can use sans serif, like Arial and Helvetica, type that does not have little edges on the ends. This type, which is likely either Arial or Helvetica (depending on your Web browser), is an example of a sans serif font.

Another style of text is the serif family of fonts, which do have little edges on the letters. Depending on your browser, you are likely looking at Times New Roman, which is an example of the serif family of texts.

Another style of text is called novelty. Novelty texts, which are often decorative in nature, are mostly used for feature sections or stories and include script (handwriting) text. These are rarely used in day-to-day operations, especially outside the contexts of feature stories or sections.

If text is the most important part of a newspaper, then getting all of the text in a story in the paper somewhere is critical. Sometimes this is hard, especially in a tough economy when papers are cutting how many pages they are printing.

So, if a designer is running out of space, what can a designer do with the text?

First, you can cut the length of a story, but often by the time the story reaches the designer's hands, it has been edited for unnecessary content. This is usually not a good option, Wise said.

Wise said designers often have different ways to manipulate text in their pagination programs. These include tracking, kerning and leading.

Those three can be used in Web design, so Jason Beaird addresses those concepts in his book "The Principles of Beautiful Web Design."

Beaird described kerning as adjusting space between individual letters, while tracking is adjusting space between different letters in words.

Leading is the space between lines of text, Beaird added.

Wise said while he worked at The Enterprise Ledger, he used tracking the most often to be able to fit text into tight spaces. He said even the slightest adjustments can do a lot of good, especially over a large body of text.

Some other things Wise recommends to keep in mind when working with text include the following:

*Beaird's book was published by SitePoint of Australia in 2007 and was reprinted in 2008.