1 Reply Latest reply on Oct 18, 2011 12:40 PM by David W. Goodrich

    Chinese Typesetting Rules

    Lucien Schilling Level 1

      I'm doing, from time to time, some Chinese texts in InDesign. Translation is handled by our Chinese offices, but they do not have a real clue about good typesetting. In fact, I suspect that they have the same situation that I have here: Every body says his personal preference is the standard typesetting rule in Chinese,. From my experience with western languages, I always doubt such affirmations. I am therefore looking for a good reference for Chinese typesetting (in English, French or German), preferably also treating the InDesign specifics.


      Can anyone help me here with?



        • 1. Re: Chinese Typesetting Rules
          David W. Goodrich Level 3

          Well, there's always Diane Burns' "InDesign and World Languages, Part 2" in InDesign Magazine, June/July 2006, but that doesn't offer any rules.  I expect there is a Chinese equivalent of Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style, and perhaps even of Nigel French's InDesign Type, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for either to be adapted for an audience that doesn't read Chinese -- there is a lot to explain (type in running in different directions, different kinds of punctuation, differences in char. set size, custom chars., no italics, etc.).  A crude measure of the difference in complexity is the price increase of CJK versions of InDesign over US-English (yes, I know the western-European versions are significantly more expensive than US English).


          Typophile has had threads on Chinese type: this one from 2008 contains some useful links, as well as some now broken.  For more English-language material, Googling "hong kong type design" turns up all kinds of things, including the fact that ATypI just announced they're holding their 2012 conference there.


          Your Chinese offices may be in a different part of the Chinese world, but perhaps they can supply you with good-looking material of the kind you work with, whether posters or manuals: it's hard to design something if you don't know what your audience is used to.  Some basic "rules" are pretty similar: the eye still has to jump from the end of one line to beginning of the next, so chars. per line still needs balancing against leading, even for vertical type.  And sometimes rules are meant to be broken.


          Good luck!