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Chapter 6. Type and Typography > Horizontal and Vertical Scaling

Horizontal and Vertical Scaling

Imagine that the characters in a typeface are rubber and stretchable. Now imagine stretching a typeface—one that took hundreds of hours to laboriously design at a specific width—to 160 percent of its size, warping the characters into something they were never meant to be. Now imagine the type designer's face contorting in horror as he or she sees what you've done to the type.

Okay, you get the idea: typefaces are designed to be a specific width, and shouldn't be messed with unless you have some really good reasons. What are some good reasons? The best reason of all is that you want the typeface to look that way. If you're responsible for the typographic design, then you can make any choices you want. Note that I'm not talking about your using 70-percent compression of Helvetica because you don't feel like buying another package from Adobe. I am talking about using Cheltenham compressed to 85 percent because it looks cool.


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