In this article Ilene Strizver, founder of The Type Studio, gives directions as how to avoid typographical errors in her typographic checklist. She writes “In pre-digital times, typesetting was a totally separate, highly specialized craft worthy of apprenticeship and years of practice in the pursuit of mastery. Modern technology offers robust design software with myriad typesetting features. These enable previously unimaginable ease, flexibility and creativity – but are not in themselves a guarantee of typographic proficiency. Along with the opportunities come complexities, nuances, and, occasionally, frustrations. A typographic checklist is a surprisingly simple and valuable way to ensure that your typesetting is both professional and appealing.”

Her typographic checklist can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Typographic Typos

Steer clear of these common type crimes:

Eliminate double word spaces between sentences
Replace dumb quotes (including apostrophes)
☐ Check inch and foot marks (primes)
Use hyphens, en- and em-dashes properly
Avoid fake scaling, embolding and slanting
Avoid computer-generated (fake) small caps
Use all cap text sparingly
Beware of all cap swash settings
☐ Size type appropriately (both text and display)

Spacing and alignment

Good visual balance and alignment contribute greatly to professionally set typography.

Avoid poor justification
Avoid tracked out lowercase
Make sure kerning is even and tasteful
Apply hung punctuation / optical margin alignment
Check for proper vertical and horizontal alignment
Use tracking appropriately, as necessary
☐ Check for appropriate word spacing and adjust as necessary
Align initial letters properly


The devil is in the details, so use these points as a guide to first-rate typography:

Adjust bad rags
Avoid too many hyphens in a row
Avoid widows and orphans
Use appropriate figure style and spacing
☐ Use diagonal fractions if possible, especially in OpenType
Fine-tune size, position and spacing of bullets
Fine-tune position and spacing of ®, ™ and © symbols
Adjust glyph positioning as necessary



Click on image to view larger in new window.