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Old 11-15-2007, 08:22 AM   #1
George
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Default Inches

I have to confess that I still measure layout with inches. Sorry. I know professionals use points, and I tried it a couple times, but I get confused quickly and go back to inches,

So now I'm starting a new big project. Maybe, I should try once more doing it in points. Does anyone have any suggestions on how someone gets used to working with points, after so many years of thinking in inches?? Or someone might reassure me that for easy stuff it really doesn't matter, and I can keep my mind on other things. But, if it would look better even a little bit...

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Old 11-15-2007, 08:45 AM   #2
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I think it depends what you're doing.

I generally measure page sizes and margins in mm but set InDesign's ruler to mm in the horizontal direction and points in the vertical direction.

When I'm doing picture framing (now my main occupation in terms of days/week) I measure picture sizes and frame size in mm except when I measure in inches. Sometimes I find it convenient to measure a length as, say, 37 inches and 3 mm (which seems so much easier than counting 32nd-of-an-inch marks on the rule).

When buying materials in the UK we are quite familiar with mixed measurements. MDF sheeting comes in sheets 4 foot by 8 foot in thicknesses of 19 or 25 mm, for example.

Horses for courses, as they say.

Though, of course, horses are measured in hands -- unless you're mesuring them for a turnout rug in which case they're measured in inches.

   
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Old 11-15-2007, 08:52 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by George View Post
I have to confess that I still measure layout with inches. Sorry. I know professionals use points, and I tried it a couple times, but I get confused quickly and go back to inches,

So now I'm starting a new big project. Maybe, I should try once more doing it in points. Does anyone have any suggestions on how someone gets used to working with points, after so many years of thinking in inches?? Or someone might reassure me that for easy stuff it really doesn't matter, and I can keep my mind on other things. But, if it would look better even a little bit...
Actually, most designers use inches for the gross layout (the size of the page, positioning of crop marks, etc.) because that is what printers expect.

Then within that area, picas for column measures, gutters, margins, etc. Historically, photos (halftones) were also spec’d in inches, again because the printer is familiar with that unit. But nowadays, the designer controls the photo sizes, etc., so I just use picas, like everything else within the page frame.

Points are used to designate nominal type sizes, and for fractional pica sizes — 1 pica 6 means the same as 1.5 picas (but most layout programs use something like 1p6 in dialogs). But I have never heard of anyone laying out pages in points — it would be like eating a pint of ice cream with the end of a toothpick!

   
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:12 AM   #4
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I generally measure page sizes and margins in mm but set InDesign's ruler to mm in the horizontal direction and points in the vertical direction.
How interesting. It's very neat being able to review how other people think on things. I just asked a woman mechanic for an opinion on a battery starter and got the best recommendation that could be suited to my wife, which wasn't occuring to me.

If you don't mind -- what do you like about mm for H and pts for V??

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Sometimes I find it convenient to measure a length as, say, 37 inches and 3 mm (which seems so much easier than counting 32nd-of-an-inch marks on the rule).
Dang, I never thought of that. I frame my own pictures and save a ton of money that way. Recently, I changed a picture in a frame and had to go to a professional shop for a mat (sp?), and the framer was so impressed with the frame. But when I had bought the glass for it, the cutter had a good chuckle over it being ever so slightly out of square (not by my tools), and he had to clip the corner a tinge.

Now, although I don't have access to a compound mitre saw at the moment, I have to do two frames for historic prints, but I'm waiting on one to arrive. The other is a very difficult size, and maybe, I should try out your method. It sounds interesting.

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When buying materials in the UK we are quite familiar with mixed measurements. MDF sheeting comes in sheets 4 foot by 8 foot in thicknesses of 19 or 25 mm, for example.
I think, maybe, you all do it that way, because it's always the simple measurements that get messed up the easiest.

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Though, of course, horses are measured in hands -- unless you're mesuring them for a turnout rug in which case they're measured in inches.
Where I'm at we measure horses in hands, which is the only thing that makes sense as far as I can tell, and dogs in inches; I think because they won't stand still.

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Old 11-15-2007, 11:16 AM   #5
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Thank you for setting me straight, Kathleen. I read some books a long time ago on how to make printing look good from a desk top, and that's how I got the idea points were used. But thery really were good books that helped me a lot.

Ok, now I'm going to try it just like you have set out, so there will probably be a new thread on this soon.

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Old 11-15-2007, 12:37 PM   #6
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KT:

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because that is what printers expect
In North America; in the UK, where paper sizes are no mostly metric, it is more convenient to use millimetres for dimensions other than type sizes and interline spacing. You can (with most DTP applications) choose millimetres for the latter too, but I don't, because of years of measuring in Didot points and Ciceros or, now, Adobe points and picas, which are practically the same, except for people that design measuring systems.

Adobe chose right when it made the typographic point exactly one-seventysecondth of an inch (instead of a rather complex relationship with millimetres), but it was wrong to neglect the worldwide adoption of SI.

   
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:46 PM   #7
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In North America; in the UK, where paper sizes are no mostly metric, it is more convenient to use millimetres for dimensions other than type sizes and interline spacing.
Of course you are correct. George lives in the U.S., so I was just answering his question.

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Adobe chose right when it made the typographic point exactly one-seventysecondth of an inch
IBM actually adopted that standard first; Adobe then chimed in.

It is certainly easier to work with than the old standard!

   
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:35 PM   #8
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KT:

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George lives in the U.S.
Yes, he presumably does, and I was only qualifying your statement in so far as 'most designers' meant most designers in the USA (and Canada?).

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IBM actually adopted that standard first
I hadn't heard that before, probably because Adobe's Postscript made the pica point more or less universal, even in countries that used to use the Didot system, which was also based on the fairly simple relationship to one inch—though it was on the former Paris inch that was taken as the standard.

I think the older American 'point' was a mistaken attempt to relate a foot measurement to a metre measurement, which was fashionable in the nineteenth century. It was only the desire to make US automobile parts compatible with UK automobile parts that led to the joint US/UK definition of an inch as 2.54 cm exactly.

   
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Old 11-15-2007, 05:23 PM   #9
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I think the older American 'point' was a mistaken attempt to relate a foot measurement to a metre measurement, which was fashionable in the nineteenth century. It was only the desire to make US automobile parts compatible with UK automobile parts that led to the joint US/UK definition of an inch as 2.54 cm exactly.
So you mean in looking at 19th century publications only 71 points to an inch can be noted??

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Old 11-16-2007, 05:35 AM   #10
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So you mean in looking at 19th century publications only 71 points to an inch can be noted?
Yes, that's the idea, but the difference would be too small to notice: the 'old' US foot, now known as the 'survey foot', is only slightly greater than the 'international foot', since 1 international foot equals 0.999 998 survey foot (exactly). the international foot wasn't defined until about 1940.

   
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