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Inside the Fonts: Fit’s amazing stacking possibilities

Because David Jonathan Ross designed Fit to fit just about any text into just about any space, text set in it looks best when it’s stacked tightly. Yves Peters explains how you can achieve the best results with this amazing face.

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The inner shapes of the letters consist of thin lines that are exactly as wide as the spacing between the letters, and remain identical throughout the complete range of the widths of Fit.

David Jonathan Ross designed Fit with straight lines on all sides so that its compact shapes would be eminently stackable. He made the letterspacing—the horizontal spacing between the letters—identical to the fine lines that form the inside shapes. The vertical spacing, however, is defined by the user. The trick to achieving beautiful stacking lies in determining which value to use for the linespacing. There are two ways to do this. One is to have the distance between the lines of text exactly match the width of the lines inside and between the letters. But Ross suggests another solution: he prefers to make the linespacing closer to the wordspace.

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The height of Fit’s letters is 75% of the point size.

A prerequisite for determining good linespacing is knowing the height of the letters. Unless you activate the stylistic set containing extending accents, all letters in Fit will have the same height: precisely three-fourths of the point size. So if you set Fit at 160 points, for example, the letters will be 120 points high. Or if you need the letters to be exactly 100 points high, set Fit at 133.33 points.

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One way to stack Fit is to add the exact same amount of space between lines of text as there is between and inside the letters.

But then you still have to add the width of the fine lines inside the characters to achieve that striking typographic maze effect. Throughout all widths of Fit, these lines are 1.6% of the point size. That means you need to specify the linespacing as 76.6% of the point size—so for example, 72 × 0.766 = 55,152-point linespacing for 72-point type.

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Another option is to have the distance between lines of Fit be equal to the distance between the words.

If your text has several words per line, you can also choose to have the spacing between lines of text approximate the wordspacing. This improves readability. Logically, the distance between words increases slightly as the letters grow wider. The wordspacing in Fit ranges from 3.2% for Skyline, the narrowest width, over 5.4% for the Regular width, to 8.4% for Ultra Extended, the heaviest weight. For example, the linespacing needs to be 79.3% of the point size for Fit Condensed—so 128 × 0.793 = 101,504-point linespacing for 128-point type. I’ve added a handy cheat sheet to help you find the exact value for every Fit variation.

Happy stacking!

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The middle column shows the wordspace relative to the point size. Multiply the point size by the value in the column to the right to achieve linespacing that is equal to the wordspace. (Table set in DJR’s Input Mono.)

Like all DJR fonts, Fit is available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Webfonts may be tested free for thirty days. To stay current on all things DJR, subscribe to Type Network News, our occasional email newsletter featuring font releases, foundry happenings, type and design events, and more.

Bald Condensed, né Yves Peters, is a Belgian-based rock drummer known for his astute observations on the impact of letterforms in the contemporary culture-sphere. A prolific writer on typography, he has a singular knack for identifying the most obscure typefaces known to man.