Republished from the May 7th 2018 Newsletter.
There was a study floating around this past week about how using two periods after spaces was actually correct because they did a Science about it. Unfortunately, the study was about some specific circumstances where it might be true and then the “reporting” morphed that into “Always use two now!”
@VGR on Twitter:
“Most notably, the test subjects read paragraphs in Courier New, a fixed-width font similar to the old typewriters, and rarely used on modern computers.”
Practicaltypography.com has a great overview of all the other issues with drawing some vast conclusion on who is RIGHT forever and ever from this study:
Are two spaces better than one? | Butterick’s Practical Typography
“True, the researchers found that putting two spaces after a period delivered a “small” but “statistically … detectable” improvement in reading speed—about 3%—but curiously, only for those readers who already type with two spaces. For habitual one-spacers, there was no benefit at all.”
I agree with them that studies like this are important to do. They often don’t surface new information that typographers don’t already know, but sometimes they do!
More broadly: typography should always be about legibility first. Once that it satisfied we can have a number of fun discussions and arguments about the design of it. It’s gotta be readable though. I personally think that modern variable width fonts are very good at handling spacing issues automatically for you though.