Interline Distance

Designing Information Material 4(1+3)

Lesson 5: Tools in Information Design Text

Interline Distance

The interline distance, interline spacing, line space, or vertical spacing is the vertical distance between the baselines in a text. A 10-point text may be set on a 12-point line in Times. This is written as 10/12, and read as “ten on twelve.” The term “leading” refer to the extra space between the lines, the “line–to–line” spacing. In this example the interline distance is 12 points, and thus the leading is two points. In general, the opinion is that as the line length increases, the need for more leading and larger type increases.

Text leading should be open enough so the readers don’t lose their place, straying into lines above or below them while trying to focus on one. For maximum legibility of the running text in a book a leading should be between one to three points when text size and line length are optimal. Texts on wall charts and overhead transparencies need more
space between the lines. Children and inexperienced readers need more leading than experienced readers. Typefaces with small x- heights manage well with less leading than typefaces with large x-heights.


Space between words and letters varies in each line. First the computer system adds “word spacing” and then, if the space between words becomes too excessive, the system will add “letter spacing.” Visual design should be based on perceptual, rather than on physical phenomena. The distance between words shall be smaller than the distance between the lines, and larger than the distance between characters. Space between letters in text should not be too loose, or too tight. When a capital A and a capital V are set together there is too much space between the letters. With kerning (process of adjusting the space between the characters in a proportional font)selected pairs of letters can be pushed together and overlap to create a better optical visual spacing between the letters. Kerning is important for headings in books, handouts, pamphlets, reports and other printed documents, and also for texts on OH transparencies and wall charts. It isn’t worthwhile kerning any type under 18 points.

Last modified: Saturday, 28 April 2012, 5:37 AM