My colleague Leah Zigmond sent me the link to this article about a subject that many of us have had to deal with in the post-typewriter era: the double space following the period.
Leah and I deliberated this issue extensively. In my most recent professional paper submission I acquiesced to the style change and applied the new format, yet habit is hard to kick. I see that as I write this blog my thumb is instinctively double tapping the space bar. I’m telling my brain to command my opposable digit ‘get used to the change and chill’.
What if all the un-strokes could be collected and added together – what would we have? How does this impact the single page?
Now that the double space after a period has been relegated to nostalgia for us digital immigrants, it is worthy to consider “what shall we do with the extra space?” The engineers and environmentalists will propose filling it with as many letters as possible, arguing that since the paper has already been produced, from the sacrificed tree filled with embodied energy, maximal utility and text per page should be observed. Those with a Zen perspective, Bauhaus-ists or i-graphic designer genre whom follow the creed “Less (type) Is More (white space)” would choose to add the newly found space to wider and starker margins.
While people who never invested effort into the double space won’t feel a difference, those of us who need to adjust to a single spaced world can appreciate the gift of time gained by not investing it in the action. In place of the key-stroke we can add up the savings into an extra, restful breath at the end of the paragraph. Use it well.