Today I’m mentioning the basic structure of typography. There is one concept which enables typography as we know it in modern book publishing. This is the concept of styles. These styles are contained in styles panels. InDesign has five of them: paragraph, character, object, table, and cell. Styles are also available in word processors—even though they are not nearly so powerful there.
What is a style?
A style is a collection of specialized typographic defaults that can be accessed at the click of a mouse or stroke of a key. You can set up styles for headlines, subheads, body copy, hanging indents, bylines, captions, tabular matter, or whatever your heart desires or imagines. Just keep your style list as simple as possible (so you can remember it).
In some applications, you can also set up very complex styles for graphic objects and most parts of a table. Basically, you can globally control the look of your entire document with a little practice.
Benefits of Styles
- Consistency: Styles are really the only way to keep a long document consistent: throughout the document, from chapter to chapter, and from issue to issue.
- Global control: They are the effortless way to make changes to the overall look of an entire document.
- Production speed: Once implemented they greatly increase production speed. Formatting submitted secretarial copy becomes a breeze.
- Fluidity: Page layout becomes a malleable art form flowing to fit your need.
- Reflow: Documents that are a little too long or a little too short can be fixed by changing a style—among other things.
- Instinctual formatting: Styles will enable you to format copy habitually, without conscious thought. You think headline—and the paragraph is formatted to the headline style. Like in martial arts, you practice and practice until you react instinctively to an attack. With a good set of styles you can format in this manner.
- Pre-formatting: A good set of styles will allow you to set up the look of a document before you add the first word of copy. You can simply import style sets from a book you like.
The use of styles is really not optional. Any hope of maintaining a consistent look for your book at a speed which will get your book out before you fossilize will be the result of how you deal with the styles you use.
- Book Typography: Part Zero: The new book publishing paradigm (hackberry-fonts.com)