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Matthew Butterick 9 years ago
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## © 2015 Matthew Butterick
## © 200815 Matthew Butterick
This is the source code for the Typography for Lawyers [web-based book](, which is an abbreviated version of the [paperback](

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "A brief history of Times New Roman")
(section-from-metas metas)
style[#:type "text/css"]{
#doc p { font-family: "Times New Roman"; }
Times New Roman gets its name from the em{Times} of London, the British newspaper. In 1929, the em{Times} hired typographer Stanley Morison to create a new text font. Morison led the project, supervising Victor Lardent, an advertising artist for the Times, who drew the letterforms.
Even when new, Times New Roman had its critics. In his typographic memoir, em{A Tally of Types}, Morison good-naturedly imagined what William Morris (responsible for the opening illustration in xref{page layout}) might have said about it: As a new face it should, by the grace of God and the art of man, have been broad and open, generous and ample; instead, by the vice of Mammon and the misery of the machine, it is bigoted and narrow, mean and puritan.
Because it was used in a daily newspaper, the new font quickly became popular among printers of the day. In the decades since, typesetting devices have evolved, but Times New Roman has always been one of the first fonts available for each new device (including personal computers). This, in turn, has only increased its reach.
Objectively, theres nothing wrong with Times New Roman. It was designed for a newspaper, so its a bit narrower than most text fonts strong{especially the bold style}. (Newspapers prefer narrow fonts because they fit more text per line.) em{The italic is mediocre.} But those arent fatal flaws. Times New Roman is a workhorse font thats been successful for a reason.
Yet its an open question whether its longevity is attributable to its quality or merely its ubiquity. Helvetica still inspires enough affection to have been the subject of a 2007 documentary feature. Times New Roman, meanwhile, has not attracted similar acts of homage.
Why not? Fame has a dark side. When Times New Roman appears in a book, document, or advertisement, it connotes apathy. It says, I submitted to the font of least resistance. Times New Roman is not a font choice so much as the absence of a font choice, like the blackness of deep space is not a color. To look at Times New Roman is to gaze into the void.
This is how Times New Roman accrued its reputation as the default font of the legal profession its the default font of everything. As a result, many lawyers erroneously assume that courts demand 12-point Times New Roman. In fact, Ive never found one that does. (But there is one notable court that forbids it see xref{court opinions}.) In general, lawyers keep using it not because they must, but because its familiar and entrenched much like those obsolete xref{typewriter habits}.
If you have a choice about using Times New Roman, strong{please stop}. You have plenty of better alternatives whether its a different xref["system-fonts.html"]{system font} or one of the many professional fonts shown in this chapter.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "about the author")
(section-from-metas metas)
margin-note{image[#:border #f "mb-hedcut.jpg"]}
os{Matthew Butterick} I got my degree in design and typography at Harvard University. I began my career as a font designer in Boston. At the beginning of the Internet era, I started Atomic Vision, a website-design company in San Francisco. Later, I attended UCLA law school and became a member of the California bar. In 2012, I received the Legal Writing Institutes Golden Pen Award for em{Typography for Lawyers}.
My other projects include Practical Typography, an online book (link{}), the fonts xref{Equity}, xref{Concourse}, xref{Triplicate}, and xref{Advocate}, and Pollen, software for publishing electronic books (link{}).
I live in Los Angeles with my wife Jessica and Roxy the boxer.
You can reach me at link[""]{}. I welcome comments and corrections. I do not, however, dispense individualized critiques or recommendations. Nor do I have Word templates to give away. After all, the point of the book is for you to learn how to do these things yourself.
em{Typography for Lawyers} is © 201015 Matthew Butterick. All rights reserved.
subhead{Image credits}
Butterfly ballot and redesigned ballot in xref{Why typography matters}: © 2003 William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler, from their book book{Universal Principles of Design} (see xref{bibliography}). Used with permission.
Highway sign in xref{What is typography}: © / Double_Vision. Used under license. Modified by Matthew Butterick.
Manual typewriter in xref{Type composition}: © / slobo. Used under license.
Computer keyboard in xref{Type composition}: © / Amorphis. Used under license. Modified by Matthew Butterick.
Metal type in xref{Hyphens and dashes}: Public-domain image. Available from link[""]{Wikimedia Commons.}
Caslon type specimen in xref{text formatting}: Public-domain image. Available from link[""]{Wikimedia Commons.}
Page from the Kelmscott Chaucer in xref{page layout}: Public-domain image. Scanned by Liam Quin (available at link[""]{}).
Letter from B. F. Hallett in xref{sample documents}: Public-domain image. Available from the Library of Congress American Memory collection (available from link[""]{}).
Author illustration: © 2006 link[""]{Noli Novak.} Used under license.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "accented characters")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Dont ignore them}
I assume youre writing in American English, but you might still encounter em{accented characters} in foreign words. Foreign words arise in two situations:
In proper names, like people and places (em{Albrecht Dürer, François Truffaut, Plácido Domingo}). In names, accented characters must always appear accurately. Otherwise, the name is misspelled.
In loanwords used in American English. Some of these words have become citizens and should be spelled without accents em{(naive} for em{naïve}, em{melee} for em{mêlée}, em{coupe} for em{coupé)}. Others have not and should not (em{cause célèbre}, em{piña colada}, em{Göt­ter­däm­merung}). Check a dictionary or usage guide.

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#lang pollen
(require pollen/template)
(define-meta tfl-font-template "true")
(define-meta title "Advocate")
div[#:style "text-align:center"]{
link["" #:class 'pdf]{◊image{advocate-type-specimen.png}}
link["" #:class 'buylink]{PDF specimen}
mb-font-specimen{div[#:style "line-height:1.1;margin-top:-0.5rem"]{◊span[#:style "font-family:'advocate-c43';font-size:115%"]{THE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES
shall receive a Compensation for their
Services, to be ascertained by Law, and
strong{paid out of the Treasury of the United
States. They shall in all Cases, except}
span[#:style "font-family:'advocate-slab-c43'"]{Felony, be privileged from Arrest.}
span[#:style "font-family:'advocate-c45'"]{You can edit this paragraph.}}}}
make-buy-table[#:people '(1 2 5) #:skus (list
font-details{Advocate includes 180 font files:
= 3 weights (regular, medium, bold)
× 3 widths (narrow, regular, wide)
× 2 series (sans, slab)
+ 12 cloned styles
× 3 stylistic variants (normal, tab, mid)
× 2 file formats (OpenType, and TrueType-compatible OpenType TT)
Read the link[""]{font license} (its short) or the link[""]{FAQ}
For more than five people, email link[""]{}}
An assertive display face for xref{letterhead}, logos, and titles.
Three widths and three weights, with sans and slab serif versions.
Short, plain-English license.
30-day return option.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "all caps")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Fine for less than one line}
em{All-caps text} meaning text with all the letters capitalizedis best used sparingly.
That doesnt mean you shouldnt use caps. Just use them judiciously. Caps are suitable for xref{headings} shorter than one line (e.g., Table of Authorities), headers, footers, captions, or other labels. Caps work at small xref{point sizes}. Caps work well on xref{letterhead} and xref{business cards}. Always add xref{letterspacing} to caps to make them easier to read, and make sure xref{kerning} is turned on.
All-caps paragraphs are an example of self-defeating typography. If you need readers to pay attention to an important part of your document, the last thing you want is for them to skim over it. But thats what inevitably happens with all-caps paragraphs because theyre so hard to read.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "alternate figures")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Consider the context}
Though we think of a font as a set of characters with a uniform visual appearance, the genesis of these characters is anything but uniform. Our writing system brings together characters that were originally handwritten by people in different countries, in different centuries. To achieve a uniform appearance, a type designer has to harmonize these disparate forms.
Our uppercase alphabet came from the inscriptional capitals of the Romans. Our lowercase alphabet came from the European uncial alphabets of the Middle Ages, which themselves evolved from scribal approximations of the uppercase alphabet.
But our figures were invented in India. They spread west through the influence of Persian and Arab mathematicians. Traditionally they were known as first-use{Arabic numerals}, but latterly as first-use{Hindu-Arabic numerals}. Indic and Arabic languages, of course, look very different from European languages. Thus, figures have always presented a challenge for type designers, as they rely on shapes that are found nowhere in the uppercase and lowercase alphabets.
Type designers have met this challenge by devising sets of em{alternate figures}, intended for different typographic contexts. Three things to know in advance:
It's never wrong to use the default figures in your font — namely, the ones you get when typing the keys 09. Those are put in the default position because they're intended to work well across a range of contexts.
Not every font has every set of alternate figures listed here. Alternate figures are added based on the type designer's impression of how the font will be used and whether the alternates will be useful.
If alternate figures are included in your font, they'll be implemented as xref{OpenType features}. The caveats there also apply, especially pertaining to software support.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "ampersands")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Use sparingly}
The em{ampersand} is typographic shorthand for the word em{and}. The ampersand is halfway between a xref{ligature} and a contraction, a stylized depiction of the Latin word et.
The ampersand is one of the jauntiest characters. Font designers often use it as an opportunity to show off. Traditional ampersands take the shape of the word et. Modern ampersands are more stylized.
image[#:border #f]{ampersands.gif}
Ampersands are completely correct when theyre part of a proper name (em{Fromage & Cracotte LLP}) or an official citation format (em{Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200}).
Past that, ampersands should be handled like any other contraction: the more formal the document, the more sparingly they should be used. Here and there, but not everywhere.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "apostrophes")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Make sure theyre curly and point downward}
The em{apostrophe} has two functions we all remember from sixth-grade English class.
An apostrophe indicates the possessive case em{(Jessicas bagel)}em{.}
In contractions, an apostrophe takes the place of letters or numbers that have been removed (em{is not} becomes em{isnt}, em{Patent No. 5,269,211} becomes em{211}).
Apostrophes always point downward. If the smart-quote conversion feature of your writing system is on (see xref{straight and curly quotes}), then type an apostrophe with the same key you use to type a straight single quote glyph{'}. Your word processor will convert this character to a curly apostrophe glyph{}. Or you can type an apostrophe directly, using the same key as a closing single quote.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "appendix")
(chapter-from-metas metas)

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#lang pollen
(define-meta bumper-blank "true")
(define-meta title "arial alternatives")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]
Bernini Sans
Cooper Hewitt}
font-desc{When sans serif fonts emerged in the 19th century, they were used mostly at headline sizes, not xref{body text} sizes. But modern typography uses sans serifs at all sizes. Designs like Arial and Helvetica were meant to be comfortable for extended reading. I abhor Arial its clunky and painfully overexposed. By contrast, xref{Neutral}, xref{Bernini Sans}, and xref{Cooper Hewitt} are new designs that aim for svelte plain-spokenness, but without being bland retreads of earlier designs. Cooper Hewitt, designed for the Smithsonian, is free.}

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#lang pollen
title-block{topic{Palatino alternatives}
short-rule{Get closer to the source}}
Palatino Nova
Iowan Old Style
Bembo Book
Palatino is the work of designer Hermann Zapf, who is a calligrapher by training. Many of his fonts reflect this influence. But the Palatino xref{system font} is a harsh representation of Zapfs original design. xref{Palatino Nova} is Zapfs own reworking of Palatino that restores its original fluid subtlety. xref{Bembo Book} is a revision of the famous 1929 Monotype face, which was itself based on Italian Renaissance typography. Despite the name, so was xref{Iowan Old Style}, but its a looser interpretation of that model. The lovely xref{Verdigris} also draws on these influences.
These alternatives apply equally to Book Antiqua, which was created as a Palatino clone for Microsoft Windows. Book Antiqua has caused its share of controversy over the years  Zapf himself considered it an unethical pillaging of his work. But in recent times, the alleged pillager (Monotype) acquired the alleged pillagee (Linotype), extinguishing the beef.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "Bates numbering")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Try orange Franklin Gothic}
Just as paper is yielding to PDF as the preferred format for discovery, manually stamped em{Bates numbering} is yielding to digital numbering.
I prefer the convenience of digital Bates numbering. But I miss the look of the stamp. The blue ink and the distinct font made the number easy to spot on the page, even after being photocopied. Digital Bates numbering is often small, black, and set in Times New Roman or Arialall of which camouflages the numbers.

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<!DOCTYPE html>
<script type="text/javascript">
function get_query_variable(key)
var query =;
var vars = query.split("&");
for (var i=0;i<vars.length;i++) {
var pair = vars[i].split("=");
if(pair[0] == key){return pair[1];}
function finish_form_with_query_variable(key)
var query_value = get_query_variable(key);
if (query_value != false) {
document.getElementById('post_form_item').value = query_value;
<body onLoad='finish_form_with_query_variable("item")'>
<form id="post_form" method="post" action="">
<input id="post_form_item" name="cart[add][id]" type="hidden" />

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "bibliography")
(section-from-metas metas)
(define (book-description . xs)
`(div ((class "book-description")) ,@xs))
This is not, by any measure, a comprehensive bibliography. Rather, its a selection of favorites from my own bookshelf that I consult most frequently in my work as a lawyer and a typographer.
Bryan A. Garner, em{Garners Modern American Usage}, 3rd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2009).
book-description{Long before he agreed to write the foreword for this book, Bryan Garner was a hero of mine. Garner thinks and writes about American English in a way thats rigorous, convincing, and accessible. He is stern but not shrill; authoritative but not authoritarian. He is a vigorous advocate for clear, simple writing. His work should be mandatory reading for all writers.}
Jan Middendorp, em{Shaping Text} (BIS Publishers, 2012).
book-description{If you get a second book on typography, get this one. Middendorps beautifully written and illustrated book is full of careful details and lucid explanations.}
Robert Bringhurst, em{The Elements of Typographic Style}, 4th ed. (Hartley and Marks Publishers, 2013).
book-description{Bringhursts detailed book brings together the history, theory, and practice of typography.}
Ellen Lupton, em{Thinking With Type}, 2nd ed. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2010).
book-description{Intended as an introduction to typography for design students, Luptons book is more accessible than Bringhursts. It includes color illustrations from every era of typography.}
Erik Spiekermann, em{Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works}, 3rd ed. (Adobe Press, 2013).
book-description{A book about fonts how they differ in appearance and in function. Erik even used my font Equity for the body text.}
Sofie Beier, em{Reading Letters: Designing for Legibility} (BIS Publishers, 2012).
book-description{Beiers thoroughly researched and illustrated survey shows how empirical considerations have influenced type design for hundreds of years.}
Tim Ahrens and Shoko Mugikura, em{Size-Specific Adjustments to Type Designs} (Just Another Foundry, 2014).
book-description{This is the nerdiest recommendation on this list. But I cant leave it outits a beautifully presented demonstration of the subtlety and thought that goes into the best-designed fonts.}
subhead{Design principles}
Edward Tufte, em{Envisioning Information}, 4th printing ed. (Graphics Press, 1990).
Edward Tufte, em{The Visual Display of Quantitative Information}, 2nd ed. (Graphics Press, 2001).
book-description{These are two of my favorite books. Tufte makes an eloquent and compelling case for why design matters. Both books are fantastically interesting and beautifully illustrated with examples of information design from many historical periods.}
William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler, em{Universal Principles of Design}, 2nd ed. (Rockport Publishers, 2010).
book-description{An excellent and accessible introduction to design principles that apply not only to printed documents, but to all objects that we interact with.}

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "block quotations")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Don't go on and on}
Formatting em{block quotations} isn't hard. Reduce the xref{point size} and xref{line spacing} slightly. Indent the text block between half an inch and a full inch on the left side, and optionally the same on the right. As with xref{first-line indents}, make the side indents large enough to be noticed, but not so large that the xref{line length} is too short. Dont put quotation marks at the ends. Theyre redundant.
Block quotations are sometimes unavoidable. If a dispute involves the interpretation of an agreement, accuracy may demand extensive quoting.
But as a means of textual emphasis, block quotations sometimes become, like xref{all caps}, a form of self-defeating typography. Lawyers often dump text into a block quotation because they want to signal This source is really important, so Ive quoted a lot of it!
Instead, the actual signal a reader often gets is Heres something long and dull from another case whose meaning and relevance youll have to figure out for yourself because I cant be bothered to summarize it!
The readers next thought is usually GreatI can skip this.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "body text")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Four important considerations}
Please note:
strong{BODY TEXT}
is the most common
element of a document.
Therefore, how the body
text looks will have the
most noticeable effect
on the appearance
of the document.
you should
set up the
body text
Start with
font, xref{point size},
xref{line spacing}, and
xref{line length}, because
those four decisions will
largely determine how
the body text will
look. OK?

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "bold or italic")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{One or the other, as little as possible}
Bold em{or} italic think of them as mutually exclusive. That is rule #1.
Rule #2: use bold and italic as little as possible. They are tools for emphasis. But if everything is emphasized, then nothing is emphasized. Also, because bold and italic styles are designed to contrast with regular roman text, theyre somewhat harder to read. Theyre fine for short bits of text, but not for long stretches.
strong{Nevertheless, some lawyerslets call them em{overemphasizers} just cant get enough bold and italic. If they feel strongly about a point, they wont hesitate to run the whole paragraph in bold type. Dont be one of these people. This habit wears down your readers retinas and their patience. It also gives you nowhere to go when you need to emphasize a word. Thats never a problem for overemphasizers, who resort to u{underlining bold text} or em{using a lot of bold italic}. u{em{These are both terrible ideas}}.}

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "bulleted and numbered lists")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Don't type them manually}
Are you still making em{bulleted and numbered lists} by manually typing bullets or numbers at the beginning of each line?
In the 21st century, no one should be doing this task by hand. Manually formatted lists are a waste of time and prone to error. I can get you started, but if youre unfamiliar with automated lists, spend some time with your word processors manual or help file.
As I suggested in xref{mixing fonts}, its acceptable to set a list index (i.e., a bullet or a number) in a different font than the list item itself. You can also make the list index a smaller point size.
Asterisks are sometimes used as bullets, but theyre not qualified for the jobtheyre too small and too high.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "business cards")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Shrink and simplify}
Business cards, like xref{caption pages}, have to fit a lot of information in a small area. But they often try to do too much.
For instance, the card layout below is fairly common among lawyers. I call it the baseball-diamond layout: information is pushed out to the corners, and your eye has to travel around the edge of the whole card to read everything.
The guiding principles with business cards are the same as with xref{letterhead}. Remove anything nonessential. Dont worry about the text being smalltheres not very much of it. Build the layout from the text outward. The white space will take care of itself. If you work from the edges of the card inward, youre more likely to end up with a baseball diamond.

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#lang pollen
title-block{topic{Calibri alternatives}
short-rule{Don't settle for a default Microsoft font}}
FF Unit
Fira Sans
Calibri does its job better than Cambria, though its still better on screen than in print. The rounded corners of the letters make text printed in Calibri seem soft. For a clean, slightly narrow sans serif font, you have better options. xref{Concourse}, of course. xref{FF Unit} is the "grown-up sister" of one of the world's most popular sans serif fonts, FF Meta, and the work of ◊xref{foreword} author Erik Spiekermann. Erik also designed ◊xref{Fira Sans}, also a descendant of FF Meta. Though it has fewer styles than FF Unit, you can't argue with the price: it's free. xref{Whitney} takes inspiration from the famous 1908 face News Gothic, which Calibri resembles.

@ -0,0 +1,18 @@
#lang pollen
title-block{topic{Cambria alternatives}
short-rule{Monotony can be fatal}}
FF Tisa
Its counterintuitive, but a well-designed font can have a lot of subtle variation between letters and still look consistent on the page. The converse of this principle is that a font with too much consistency can be numbing to read. Cambria is an example of this problem. It works well on screen, but on the printed page, it induces headaches. xref{Guardian}, xref{Elena}, and xref{Charter} are similar to Cambria but avoid monotony. (Charter is even available for free.) xref{FF Tisa} has a more relaxed, informal rhythm.
link[""]{Source Serif Pro} is another very good open-source option. It comes in six weights, but doesn't have italics yet.

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#lang pollen
(define-meta title "caption pages")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Use a table for best results}
If this book were a law-school class, reformatting a em{caption page} could be the final exam. Caption pages pack a lot of typographic issues into a small area. How many can you spot?
Recall the second xref{maxim of page layout} em{divide the page into foreground and background}. The vertical rules on a caption page should seem like part of the backgroundthey should not be darker or more prominent than the body text in the foreground. Removing unnecessary rules will make the body text area feel less cramped. Use as few as possible. In this revised version, I removed the vertical rule on the right and one on the left. I made the remaining rule thinner and moved it away from the text.
Court filings have ugly typography as a matter of habit, not requirement. Court rules can be strict, but theres still plenty of room for good typography (see xref{how to interpret court rules}).

@ -0,0 +1,12 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "carriage returns")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Only when you want a new paragraph}
On manual typewriters, the em{carriage} was the part on top that held the paper and scooted leftward as you typed. At the end of each line, youd push a lever to move the carriage to the beginning of the next line. On electric typewriters, this lever became the em{carriage return key}, which youd press at the end of each line.
The terminology has stayed with us, but on a word processor, you only use a carriage return to start a new paragraph.
As with the xref{word space}, use only one carriage return at a time. Its common to see multiple carriage returns used to add vertical space between paragraphs. Bad idea. If you want vertical space after a paragraph, use xref{space between paragraphs}.
But its so much easier to type two carriage returns. I know. But in long, structured documents, extra carriage returns create unpredictable consequences as the document is edited. Whatever time you save with the shortcut will cost you later.

@ -0,0 +1,24 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "centered text")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{It's boring  use sparingly}
em{Centered text} is overused. Its the typographic equivalent of vanilla ice creamsafe but boring. Its rare to see text centered in a book, newspaper, or magazine, except for the occasional headline or title. Asymmetry is nothing to fear.
Yet it is feared. So for all the fans of centered text, a poem:
p['((style "text-align: center;"))]{strong{An Ode to Centered Text}
Centered text is acceptable when used for short phrases or titles.
Or in documents, you can center major section headers
like Introduction, Argument, and Conclusion.
(It may be conventional in your jurisdiction
to center certain text in court filings.)
If you enjoy centering text, then
you should learn to use the
xref{hard line break} so
your lines start
in sensible
Whole text blocks, including sentence-length headings in court filings, should not be centered. Centering makes text blocks difficult to read because both edges of the text block are uneven. Centered text blocks are also difficult to align with other page elements. See xref{headings} for better options.

@ -0,0 +1,20 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "color")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Black is best}
In typography, em{color} is a term with two meanings.
First, typographers will sometimes speak of a font as creating a certain em{color} on the page even when its black. Used this way, the word encapsulates a set of hard-to-quantify characteristics like darkness, contrast, rhythm, and texture.
The second meaning is the usual one em{color} as the opposite of black and white. This was once an irrelevant topic, as most of us had to be satisfied with monochrome laser printers. These days, color printers are ubiquitous and more writing is delivered on screen. So color has become a practical consideration.
On a page of text, nothing draws the eye more powerfully than a contrast between light and dark colors. This is why a bold font creates more emphasis than an italic font. (See also xref{bold or italic}.)
The perceived intensity of colored type depends not just on the color, but also on the size and weight of the font. So a thin or small font can (and should) carry a more intense color than a heavy or large font.
Im not saying it can never be done well, but when someone puts colored type on a colored background, I usually wish they hadnt.}

@ -0,0 +1,9 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "columns")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Your call}
Theyre unusual in legal documents, but I dont object to em{columns} in a long document like a xref{contract} or settlement agreement. Columns are an easy way to get a shorter and more legible xref{line length} without having to use large margins. On a standard 8.5× 11 page, two or three columns are fine. Four is too many.
Usually columns look neatest when the rows of text are aligned vertically between columns (i.e., as if they were sitting on the same baseline). Look at a decent newspaper for an example. Getting this result takes a little extra effort. Note your xref{line spacing} and make sure any xref{space between paragraphs} works out to a whole multiple of the line spacing. The two most common options: set space between paragraphs to zero, or set it to be the same as the line spacing.

@ -0,0 +1,73 @@
#lang pollen
(require pollen/template)
(define-meta tfl-font-template "true")
(define-meta title "Concourse")
div[#:style "text-align:center"]{
link["" #:class 'pdf]{◊image{concourse-type-specimen.png}}
link["" #:class 'buylink]{PDF specimen}
link["" #:class 'buylink]{web specimen}
mb-font-specimen{div[#:style "font-family:'concourse-t3';font-size:108%;position:relative;top:-.5rem;"]{◊span[#:style "text-transform:lowercase;font-family:concourse-c4;font-size:110tripl%"]{THE CONGRESS SHALL HAVE POWER}
to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and
Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the
em{common Defense and general Welfare of the}
strong{United States; but all Duties, Imposts and}
em{strong{Excises shall be uniform throughout.}}
If you like, you can edit this paragraph.}}
make-buy-table[#:people '(1 2 5) #:skus (list
font-details{Concourse Standard includes 108 font files:
= 6 weights (light, book, medium, semibold, bold, black)
× 3 series (roman, italic, and caps)
+ 9 cloned styles
× 2 variants (regular and Tab, with tabular figures as the defaults)
× 2 file formats (OpenType, and TrueType-compatible OpenType TT)
Concourse Basic includes 48 font files:
= 3 weights (book, semibold, and bold)
× 3 series (roman, italic, and caps)
+ 3 cloned styles
× 2 variants (regular and Tab)
× 2 file formats (OpenType and OpenType TT)
Read the link[""]{font license} (its short) or the link[""]{FAQ}
For details on character set and OpenType features, see the link[""]{PDF specimen}
For more than five people, email link[""]{}}
A sans serif companion for xref{Equity} suitable for text and display uses.
Six weights in the Standard package, with real italics and small caps for every weight. It includes oldstyle and tabular xref{alternate figures}.
The Basic package includes the three weights most useful for legal drafting.
Separate caps fonts, which contain real xref{small caps} and already include my recommended xref{letterspacing}.
Short, plain-English license.
30-day return option.

@ -0,0 +1,15 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "contracts")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Use more white space; consider columns}
Whether its a settlement agreement in PDF, a commercial lease on paper, or a terms-of-service agreement on a website, contracts are a diverse class of documents. Therefore, my typographic advice is more a principle than a prescription.
Lets move past the self-serving myth that typography in contracts doesnt matter because people em{must} read them. Wrong. As I said in xref{why does typography matter}, readers are always looking for the exit. So the most we can say is that people are em{supposed} to read contracts. As writers, we can encourage them. But can we force them? No way.
In fact, it would be wiser for drafters to assume that strong{most contracts go unread}. Why? Because no one wants to read a contract. And most contracts are poorly designed. Therefore, it doesnt matter that people must read them. At best, theyre reading opportunistically. At worst, not at all.
For instance, the other day, a certain music service made me promise that I had read their 20,551-word contract 3,276 in xref{all caps} before I could buy a $1.29 song. What do you think I actually did? Right. What would you do? The same thing. And everyone else? Theyre no different.

@ -0,0 +1,20 @@
#lang pollen
title-block{topic{Courier alternatives}
short-rule{When you must use a monospaced font}}
Source Code Pro
Im in an awkward position. As your typography advisor, Ive counseled you not to use xref{monospaced fonts}.
But the truth is I really like them. The golden age of monospaced fonts was probably the 1950s, when IBM led the typewriter industry and released a series of great monospaced designs. One of these was Courier, designed by Howard Kettler. But the xref{system font} Courier New is a beastly imitation of the original: spindly, lumpy, and just plain ugly.
So I designed xref{Triplicate}, a monospaced font family influenced by several typewriter fonts of the 50s, and optimized for xref{body text}. Triplicate has a feature thats very rare among monospaced fonts: a genuine italic, instead of a sloped roman like Courier.
xref{Pitch}, xref{Source Code Pro}, and xref{Nitti} are other recent designs that show there's still room for exploration in monospaced fonts. Source Code Pro is even free.

@ -0,0 +1,24 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "court opinions")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{More diverse than you might think}
(define (madlib word)
`(span ((class "madlib")) ,word))
A common counterargument I hear from attorneys resistant to better typography is called What Judges Want. In Mad Libs format, it goes like this: Sure Matthew, thats a fine idea, but __madlib{noun} __ is what judges want, because all judges are __madlib{adjective phrase}__.
What goes in the blanks?
14-point type ... old and wear glasses.
Times New Roman ... reading on paper.
Boring typography ... only interested in substance.
Or anything, really. Because What Judges Want is based on the same faulty reasoning as all broad-brushstroke arguments. Whether youve met ten judges or a thousand, its apparent that theyre as different from each other as attorneys are. Why try to generalize?
I dont. Rather than debate What Judges Want, I encourage these attorneys to rely on evidence. Court rules are one example.
Court opinions are another. If it were true that judges are only interested in substance a favored contention then wed expect judges to put zero effort into the presentation of their own work. But thats not the case. Sure, plenty of judges issue documents that look awful. Just as plenty of attorneys do. But many others appreciate that typography makes a difference.
This next example is not fictional. It shows recent improvements made by the Utah Supreme Court to the typography of its opinions.

@ -0,0 +1,26 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "ellipses")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Avoid using periods and spaces}
An em{ellipsis} (plural em{ellipses}) is a sequence of three dots used to indicate an omission in quoted material.
The ellipsis is frequently approximated by typing three periods in a row, which puts the dots too close together, or three periods with spaces in between, which puts the dots too far apart. So use your fonts ellipsis character, not the approximations.
The problem with using periods and word spaces is that it permits your word processor to break the ellipsis across lines or pages, like so:
captioned["wrong"]{font-scale[2]{imperative to . .
. courts}}
Should you put word spaces around an ellipsis? As with the em dash (see xref{hyphens and dashes}), thats up to you. Typically youll want spaces before and after, but if that looks odd, you can take them out. If theres text on only one side of the ellipsis, use a xref{nonbreaking space} on that side so the ellipsis doesnt get separated from the text.
Ive often wondered whether the zigzagging illogic of the em{Bluebook} is calculated to protect its franchiseafter all, if legal citation were distilled to a few simple rules, no one would need the em{Bluebook}. Its subtitleA Uniform System of Citationcompresses a lot of dark humor into five words.
One problem with the em{Bluebook}s four-dot-sequence rules is that they use the same visual markfour periods separated by spaces to denote at least four distinct conditions. Namely: a deletion before a sentence-ending period (rule 5.3(b)(iii)); a sentence-ending period before a deletion (rule 5.3(b)(v)); a deletion both at the end and after the end of a sentence (rule 5.3(b)(vi)); and a deletion of one or more paragraphs (rule 5.1(a)(iii)). This invites ambiguity. When readers come upon a four-dot sequence, how do they know what it signifies? It may not be clear from context. Proper ellipses would help distinguish these conditions.

@ -0,0 +1,16 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "emails")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{System fonts or don't bother}
What about typography within em{emails}? Unfortunately, due to the technical constraints of email systems, your options are limited.
Unlike a PDF, fonts dont get transmitted with an email. So even though you can compose an email in any font you like, recipients wont see that font unless they also happen to have it installed. Moreover, recipients get their email using a variety of hardware and software, which have inconsistent and unpredictable typographic capabilities.
This leaves two plausible policies:
If you must format your emails, stick with common xref{system fonts}, and make sure your messages dont rely on spacing tricks specific to the font. (Those of you who insist on aligning things with multiple word spaces were already warned.) Simpler is better.
Or you can just treat email as a typography-free zone. This is my policy.}

@ -0,0 +1,59 @@
#lang pollen
(require pollen/template)
(define-meta tfl-font-template "true")
(define-meta title "Equity")
div[#:style "text-align:center"]{
link["" #:class 'pdf]{◊image{equity-type-specimen.png}}
link["" #:class 'buylink]{PDF specimen}
mb-font-specimen{span[#:style "font-family:equity-caps"]{WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED}
States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common Defense, promote the
em{general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of}
strong{Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.}
If you like, you can edit this paragraph.}
make-buy-table[#:people '(1 2 5) #:skus (list
font-details{Equity includes 48 font files:
= 6 styles (regular, italic, bold, bold italic, regular caps, bold caps)
× 2 weight grades (A and B)
× 2 variants (regular and Tab, with tabular figures as the defaults)
× 2 file formats (OpenType, and TrueType-compatible OpenType TT)
Read the link[""]{font license} (its short) or the link[""]{FAQ}
For details on character set and OpenType features, see the link[""]{PDF specimen}
For more than five people, email link[""]{}}
A workhorse serif font for xref{body text}.
Fits as many words on the page as xref{Times New Roman}, and stays legible down to small xref{point sizes}.
Designed to perform well on both high-end output devices and office printers.
Comes with a separate set of caps fonts, which contain real xref{small caps} and already include my recommended xref{letterspacing}.
Short, plain-English license.
30-day return option.

@ -0,0 +1,9 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "Our sincere apologies for the 404 error that has just occurred")
(section-from-metas metas)
(define-meta toolbar-blank "true")
The page you requested was not found.
link["/index.html"]{Return to the Typography for Lawyers home page.}

Binary file not shown.


Width:  |  Height:  |  Size: 1.1 KiB

@ -0,0 +1,6 @@
ol li {
margin-left: 2.2rem;
ol li p{
margin-left: .3rem;

@ -0,0 +1,12 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "first-line indents")
hanging-topic[(topic-from-metas metas)]{Between one and four times the point size}
A em{first-line indent} is the most common way to signal the start of a new paragraph. The other common way is with xref{space between paragraphs}.
First-line indents and space between paragraphs have the same relationship as belts and suspenders. You only need one to get the job done. Using both is a mistake. If you use a first-line indent on a paragraph, dont use space between. And vice versa.
But use your judgment consider the width of the text block when setting the first-line indent. For instance, narrow text blocks (3 or less) should have first-line indents toward the low end of this range. Wider text blocks should have bigger indents.

@ -0,0 +1,30 @@
#lang pollen
(define-meta title "font recommendations")
(section-from-metas metas)
Fonts are only one ingredient of typography. And messing around with the font menu on your computer isnt a substitute for knowing the fundamentals of type composition and text formatting. Thats why this chapter appears in the middle of the book, not the beginning.
But weve covered that, right? So heres the secret sauce: if you want the fastest, easiest, and most obvious upgrade to your typography, nothing beats a professional font.
As a designer of professional fontsincluding the ones used in this bookam I biased? Of course. But no one has seriously disputed that its true.
If you consider the alternatives in this chapter and still prefer xref{Times New Roman} or other xref{system fonts}, I wont think less of you. Ill even concede that there are situations, like xref{emails} and draft documents, where system fonts are your best option.
But in general, for writers who care about typography, professional fonts are essential tools.
subhead{Why use professional fonts?}
The best professional fonts are better than any system fontand in ways that everyone, even people who think they dont have an eye for typography, can appreciate. Though you cant have the worlds best typographers lay out your documents, you can incorporate their work into your documents with a font.
Professional fonts are also a great value. Yes, they cost money. But you can get a top-quality font family for under $200. (Though Ive also included two that are freexref-font{Cooper Hewitt} and xref-font{Charter}.) These fonts will improve the appearance of every document you create, theyre distinctive, theyll never break, they wont be obsolete in three years, and they wont need to be upgraded. Best of all, you can put them to work without learning anything new.
Most professional fonts are delivered in OpenType format (.otf extension). Some are offered in the older TrueType format (.ttf ). OpenType and TrueType files can be used on either Windows or OS X, so the technological distinctions are largely moot. One notable exception: Microsoft Office on Windows, for various historical reasons, still does better with TrueType fonts. So if youre getting a professional font to use with Office, be sure to get the TrueType versions.
Whats the difference between a font and a typeface? Historically, em{typeface} referred to the overall family (e.g., Baskerville) and em{font} referred to a specific instance of the family (e.g., 10-point Baskerville bold italic). This distinction made sense in the letterpress age, when each font corresponded to a case of metal type. But as Bryan Garner has pointed out, [t]echnology has changed the meaning of this term ... font most often denotes a whole family of styles that can be printed at almost any size. (em{Garners Modern American Usage}, 3rd ed., page 364.) Internet pedants may carp, but its fine to use em{font} to mean both the family and a specific style. I do.