When It Comes to Typography, Look Like a Pro | PMI

What distinguishes professional communications from amateur ones? Details!

We’re not talking about just engaging content. We’re talking about the entire package deal, all the way down to the details of typography.

Companies putting out professional direct mail, email and mobile communications that take the time to focus on even the smallest parts of their communication will see the largest return in the end. That difference in quotation marks could score you some extra clients or just make your communications look better.

Here are five very common typography conventions that many companies get wrong but that can set you apart by doing them correctly.

1. Using smart quotes

It may be common for your company to cite or quote things regularly, whether that be magazine articles or quotes from a famous person. When it comes to typography around those quotes, you want to make sure you use smart quotes instead of dumb quotes.

Smart quotes are the curled, actual representation of a quotation mark, like this -> (“The other day…”) instead of the straight quotation marks found on computers, like this -> (“The other day…”).

Why does this matter? Imagine you’re air quoting a person, usually done in a sarcastic manner. When you do that, you curl your fingers; you don’t put your pointer and middle fingers together and shake them back and forth.

Those are the little details we’re talking about. It just makes things look better and also makes more sense.

2. Make proper use of the apostrophe

When using apostrophes to indicate that a portion of a word has been removed, the mark always should curl toward the missing material rather than away from it.

For example, it’s not “Keep ‘em coming.” It’s “Keep ’em coming.” Or when referring to dates, it’s the ’90s, not the ‘90s.

You may not notice the slight difference, but an English wiz or a typography nerd would notice the mistake and paint a slightly lesser picture of your company. And that’s the last thing we want, right?

3. Use the correct conventions for feet and inches

When typing, many of us use straight quotes to refer to feet and inches. But the proper convention is to use what are called “primes,” which tilt at a slight angle.

What we regularly type looks like this if we’re referring to something in feet and inches -> 5′ 6″. When it comes to detailed communication for your company, you’ll want your conventions to look like this -> 5′ 6″.

4. Properly set fractions

Like straight quotes instead of primes, many of us type fractions using the slash mark, so our typeface looks like this -> 1/2 or 1/4.

However, most typefaces have dedicated glyphs for the most commonly used fractions. For example, ½ and ¼.

5. Multiplication ‘x’

Oh, that pesky math! Like fractions, there is a convention for that multiplication ‘x.’
Instead of using the letter ‘x’ as your multiplication sign like this -> referring to “ 8 ½ x 11 sheets,” it should look like this, using the right multiplication convention -> “8 ½ × 11.”

The Typography Experts

All of this talk of typography and conventions can be overwhelming. You may not know how to do it or may not have the time to pay attention to such small details. That’s where the professionals at PMI can help.

The creative marketing services of PMI are some of the best you’ll find anywhere in California. Our out-of-the-box printing and marketing services are worth every penny.

Our clients love working with us because we understand that business moves fast. You need to work with someone who can get your promotional products done quickly and efficiently.

If you need help with your communications typography, reach out to us today on our website. After more than 20 years in the business, we’re confident we can help your business succeed.

Use this simple checklist to clean up your typography and ensure that it looks its absolute best. When everyone else is getting it wrong, you want to stand out by getting it right.

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