September 23, 2004 10:20 AM   Subscribe

What's the name of the typesetting technique where font size is scaled so that every line, regardless of word length, is made to fill the space horizontally? The result being a perfectly rectangular block of text with each line a slightly different font size.

Something like this.
posted by Aaorn to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Full justifying?
posted by Hildago at 10:22 AM on September 23, 2004

Full justification
posted by majick at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2004

I don't think it has a name; it's mostly a graphic arts technique, rather than truly a typography technique: you only do it on display text.

At least it's better than what bottom-feeding sign shops do, which is to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the lines, and looks ugly.
posted by baylink at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2004

Microsoft Word calls it "Justify," though it uses spacing instead of sizing to fit horizontally. Newspapers often use this.
posted by ALongDecember at 10:24 AM on September 23, 2004

I've always heard it called perfect justification.
posted by yerfatma at 10:32 AM on September 23, 2004

I'll assert, based on ten or so years of amateur graphic arts work, that nothing named 'justification' is ever used to describe, in any common venue, anything that changes anything other than inter-character spacing.

It is clearly not "full justification", as the linked definition does not cover *changing the size of the characters*, which was (as I understood it) the thrust of the original query.
posted by baylink at 10:40 AM on September 23, 2004

I just call it "line scaling."
posted by maniactown at 10:49 AM on September 23, 2004

Like baylink said, this is distinctly separate from justification. I've never heard a term that refers to this, but if a client were to say that she wanted this effect and called it "line scaling," I'd go along with it.
posted by waldo at 11:58 AM on September 23, 2004

posted by Smart Dalek at 2:05 PM on September 23, 2004

No, kerning is, again, adjusting the spacing between characters. Not even vaguely related.
posted by ook at 3:08 PM on September 23, 2004

I agree; there's no graphic arts-typographical name for this technique. I've never seen a program do it automatically, so I can't even point a feature name.

It is definitely not kerning or justification. Justification refers to making a line of text fit an exact width, so a block of justified text has perfectly vertical, non-ragged margins. However, no justification algorithm allows changing the point size of the text to make it fit, only the letterspacing and (in some special cases) the horizontal glyph width. (Adobe InDesign can scale glyph width so that the spaces between words and characters aren't too wide, and to avoid awkward hyphens, but you really don't want glyphs to scale more than about 2%.)

Kerning, as noted, is adjusting inter-glyph spacing for better appearance, and also has nothing to do with changing the point size (height) of the text. This is something different.

Maybe someone could propose a name?
posted by mdeatherage at 3:41 PM on September 23, 2004

I propose we call it 'Aaorning', in honor of this thread.
posted by signal at 4:29 PM on September 23, 2004

Of course, that would necesitate we knew how to pronounce 'Aaoring'.
posted by signal at 4:32 PM on September 23, 2004

I've always wondered this as well. It's a style very popular among the Deco and Bauhaus movement.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:46 PM on September 23, 2004

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