DON’T JUST MOVE THE DECK CHAIRS
ON THE TITANIC
At this point in the process, it is empowering for you, the editor, to have access to and a working knowledge of a layout and design program, such as InDesign, so that you can make these corrections yourself. And, this is when an understanding of typography will prove useful. Each typeface, with all its ears, counters, loops, and ligatures, has its own internal algorithm when words combine on the printed page. How that typeface acts depends on the length of the words and the measure of the column and the sorts of changes that need to be made.
Learning InDesign can be a little or a lot. You do not need to be a Herb Lubalin to correct and fit words on an InDesign page. On the fly, you can view a change in light of the entire sentence and the available real estate. You can decide to recast a sentence to fix a bad break or allow the electronic type tools to solve the problem by tightening or loosening text using tracking. Accessing that simple InDesign setting may be all that is needed to fit that one last change.
Instead of marking up copy; having it corrected; checking the corrections; and invariably musing, “I hope this edit will fix (a) and (b),” make the correction yourself on the designed page. If the correction and words do not reflow as expected, you can fix then and there. Repairing words that break across a turned page and fixing broken names and proper nouns become easily doable. If, as that author wishes, you need to change the title, you can (1) see if the new text will cross into the gutter; (2) move, resize, or track a word, a group of words, or the entire title, for fit; and (3) change the table of contents to mirror the new content. Many benefits accrue to learning how your particular typeface acts when under (correction) pressure and working with it.
(Editors often have pet text preferences. If, like me, you prefer roman parentheses around italic text, you can fix those, as well, without incurring a lot of AA charges for corrections that are rather cosmetic in nature.)
Another important variable in this workflow involves an online component. If printed text will next appear in Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML, editors can use those all-important character styles so that text will translate correctly from print to online. That process, too, can become part of your general workflow. Learning InDesign can save you time and money, produce a more efficient workflow, and allow you to take advantage of existing technology in producing your magazine or journal.