Monday Morning Misdemeanors is a series of weekly posts written by Graphic Designer, Derek Gyssels. In this series, Derek is going to hone in on a number of common problems that crop up in graphic designs and then give you the tools to avoid them which will give your designs a professional polish.
This crime is certainly a petty one but it is one that I want to call attention to nonetheless. For some reason in high school keyboarding classes we were taught that it is correct to put two spaces after a sentence. This was a lesson that I carried with me into my college years in graphic design, where I was taught that this practice is actually incorrect. So what's the deal? After having been taught both and having implemented both practices, I live by what I was taught in design school. Let me give you a couple of reasons why.
From an aesthetic point of view, it looks better to use one space instead of two. When you leave two spaces after a sentence you end up having little holes in your blocks of type. This is especially true if you are laying out a brochure with some large blocks of body copy. The image at right demonstrates this.
Another reason to not use two spaces is space itself. If you happen to be type setting a large report or book, you end up saving pages worth of space. Over the course of a 100 pages of type you can save hundreds of spaces which can end up saving a few pages by the end of the report or book. To be honest with you, most of the copy we receive from our clients comes with double spaces, and we remove them. My coworker type sets books and says its not uncommon to save well over 500 spaces from a book's worth of type.
At the end of the day, its going to be your call as to whether or not you push the space bar once or twice after a period. The graphics police aren't going to write you a ticket, but I suggest that it is more professional to use single spaces. Any knowledgeable designer or agency you provide copy to will remove double spaces. Truthfully, double spacing is more of an old-school, typewriter-era practice.
So stop abusing your space bar and start loving your designs!