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May 13th, 2007

Margins and Leading (Good ol' Whitespace)

Margins and leading (line-height for those who prefer CSS) are two things that can be an afterthought when it comes to implementing a design. I know of plenty of times when I’d be integrating a site and give little thought to the line height or the margins in certain areas. But, time passes and I’ve learned that consideration to typography and things such as margins and leading actually do make a difference in the user’s experience on the site. Consider the following four images:

Good Leading, Good Margins wsfig1

Good Margins, Bad Leading wsfig2

Good Leading, Bad Margins wsfig3

All around terrible wsfig4

Witchita State University conducted an experiment to find how leading and margin affect the ability to comprehend. The basic gist is that as the margins get wider a person is able to read less words per minute, but their comprehension level increases as the speed decreases. Read about the entire study here. And get those margins in there and space out those lines.

About the Author
Nick Gernert leads the Platform Services team that's part of Voce Connect and oversees all web development efforts as well as making sure all those efforts are strategically sound. He is on Twitter as @nickgernert.

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