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Part 4: Typography > Composition

Chapter 46. Composition

Composition is the complex process of fitting words into lines by weighing the hyphenation and justification settings (which we talk about in Chapter 48) and the break-points specified in hyphenation dictionaries (which we discuss in Chapter 42). Steve, who worked as a typesetter a long time ago, remembers using dedicated systems to compose the high-quality justified text demanded by art directors. But when graphic designers started using QuarkXPress and PageMaker to set type themselves, they lost some of the quality of the type composition because these applications used simpler ways of calculating line endings than the dedicated systems. Justified type didn’t look as good any more so more type was set flush left (ragged right) to compensate. The difference was in the quality of the composer—the software which decides where lines break.


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