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More Paragraph Control

By Shelly Wilson on Friday 1st of June 2012

Set your first line in. Set your first line out. In, out, in, out. Indent it all about!

Typecast is all about experimenting with web type and creating great typographic design. So this week we’ve added indents and exdents as another tool to help you achieve typographic contrast.
Indent and exdent in Typecast

We’re all pretty familiar with these paragraph styles. They’re everywhere in print. Both situate every line of a paragraph (except for the first) flush left to the margin. But with an indent, the first line is set a few units in from the margin – just like in the photo above.

With an exdent (also called an outdent and hanging indent), the first line of the paragraph is given a negative value that positions it left of the margin, like this:
Exdented paragraph

To improve typographic contrast and also improve clarity for readers, more web designers are turning to these as an alternative to the conventional mainstay – the block, flush left, ragged right, single-line-paragraph-break. We think Nathan Ford’s post on microtypography makes a good case for the power and worth of the humble indent. And Contents Magazine is a great example of the indent used to great effect:

Contents mag uses paragraph indents

Whether indents and exdents are right for your project will depend on the content you’re working with and the other design decisions you’ve made. They’re not always a good fit, just as a line break isn’t the only ‘right’ way to set a paragraph. But we think it’s nice to have options, and now you can try them out quickly and easily before you decide.

For more on indents, exdents, other paragraph styling tips and examples, check out these posts:

Or just come give them a go.

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