Typography for Copyeditors and Proofreaders

Practical Typography coverButterick’s Practical Typography

Though the designer creates the page templates and overall product design, it is the copy editor who is expected to mark up or tag each aspect of text so that it is treated right.

Deciding how to treat URLs, marking up changes to italics, boldface, line spacing, and so forth are expected of the proofreader in the final stages of production.

What Butterick has written is exactly the kind of non-language stuff I need to know in my editing job. Great resource.

Most importantly, to me, understanding the principles and limitations of design mean that my mark-up (requests) are both reasonable and practical. Knowing how to talk to designers (or the production department) is a valuable skill.

There’s a section on mathematical symbols, which I will point each new editor to.

His advice on using question marks and bangs (look it up) is spot on, but well outside the purview of the designer. That’s for the editor and/or writer to decide.

There’s a lot of opinion and judgement in this piece, don’t get me wrong. To wit: “curly quotes good, straight quotes bad.” Well, aren’t we just being a tad bit harsh? And “Don’t use Times New Roman. Ever.” Now I just feel bad for the poor little font.

But, I appreciate someone who is decisive. If you decide to follow this guide, you won’t have to decide much for yourself.