Welcome to Type Tuesday.

Many complex decisions around typography determine how the text looks on a page and ultimately affects the outcome of the design. Indeed, how often do you pay attention to the spaces between letters and words?

When looking at typography, good or bad spacing can make all the difference when reading a text accurately and efficiently. Get it right and create space on the page; the letters and words can breathe. As a result, the text is more appealing to read, being more attractive to your reader and kinder to their eyes.

What is leading?

Leading is the amount of space between lines of text. It is measured from baseline (the imaginary line on which a line of the text rests) to baseline. In our age of digital design, leading is also known as line spacing or line-height.

According to Shillington, leading is actually an old term. It is taken from the early days of printing and typesetting, where all typography was typeset by hand, using individual characters made of wood or metal. Lines of space were added between each line of text by strips of lead, giving the lines of text space to breathe – hence the term! Unfortunately, typesetting by hand is now a rare occurrence. Significantly fewer companies use those skills today (we are very lucky to have one on our doorstep), but the term remains.

How to use leading in your typography

To summarise, leading is one of the simplest tools to use to make your design look better.

  • If it’s too tight, the text will appear cramped with your readers squinting to read it.
  • Too open, the reader will get lost trying to navigate the large gaps between the letters and can lose track of where they are in the sentence.

Our typography tips

  • Use looser leading for body copy
  • Use tighter leading for headlines
  • Test different leading heights

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