Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Typography Matters

A recent story on NPR about the importance of type font for a resume reminded me about the importance of typography for lawyers.

The NPR story notes that "[b]efore you even get your foot in the door of your next job, your resume can say a lot about you — starting with typeface.Using Times New Roman is the typeface equivalent of wearing sweatpants to an interview." The recommended font picks are Helvetica or Garamond.

Not only is typography and type font important for hiring purposes, it is also important for legal writing. Mathew Butterick's Typography for Lawyers is the quintessential guidebook for desktop publishing. Butterick also maintains a wonderful companion website that offers great tips on all things typography.

The website offers information on why typography matters, what is good typography, and discusses things like type composition, text formatting, font samples, page layout, and sample documents.

Some things to note:
  • White space is your friend: The eye can tolerate only so much stuff on a page. In terms of increasing reading comprehension (and you want the judge to be able to easily understand what you're saying, right?), more white space is better. Butterick recommends line spacing of about 1.5, which puts a pleasant amount of space between lines while keeping enough information on the page. White space can also be used to divide documents into sections.
  • Be super consistent: If you underline cases cases and not italicize, make sure that you do that Every. Single. Time. You don't want to look careless with haphazard formatting. 
This is a perfect example to show that taking time to really focus on the details will pay off in the end. 

1 comment: