At some point or another, most people will fall victim to a bad break – and we don’t mean an arm or a leg, we mean a bad line break.  Check out these two examples of bad line breaks, which made us “ho, ho, ho” with laughter:

bad line breaks exampleIf we didn’t know that this picture was taken at the famously sophisticated Philadelphia International Flower Show, we might conclude that this exhibit was promoting the commonwealth’s lauded Whorticulture.

Sadly, someone convinced The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the primmest bastion of primroses known to mankind, that it would add interest to its “Tron”-looking booth if it wrapped its sign around the corner of the display. Breathe in deeply, friends. That’s the piquant fragrance of the Skankius ironica.

Then there’s this. bad line breaks exampleTake it in. Deconstruct it. Write a pop culture critique, women’s studies thesis or economic analysis about it. Then store it in your cortex as a reminder to review all of your line breaks after a document has been designed.

To avoid bad line breaks like these:

  • Do use hyphens when you split words in body text. Many programs hyphenate automatically unless you turn that feature off. If your program doesn’t recognize a word, check a dictionary to find the appropriate place to put that hyphen. That’s why entries have those little dots. Example: Des*per*ate House*wives.
  • Don’t wrap text around an object without considering all the breaking points and perspectives. Create a mock up version to help with this process.
  • Don’t break words, even with hyphens, in headlines and subheads. It’s ugly, hard to read, and really bad form. Bring the whole word down to the next line. If that throws everything out of whack, ask an editor to rewrite the headline. Same thing goes for words broken between pages (i.e. “Des” is on page 56 and “perate” on page 57)

Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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