Courier — perfect typeface for those making a stand

You want it to look like you wrote it on a typewriter

Courier —  all letters take up the same amount of space on the page.
  • Courier — all letters take up the same amount of space on the page.

Dear Hipster: I just wrapped up a summer internship (which went well), but I kept encountering a weird point of contention between myself and the higher-ups. My job involved preparing a lot of memos and similar documents, and the only consistently negative feedback I got on my work was that I put a single space after every period instead of a double. I keep getting asked if they’re teaching “us” to use one space “these days.” Is single-spacing after periods a hipster punctuation style? — Shaun

I suppose the most hipster thing would be formatting everything in Courier, so that it looks like you wrote it on a typewriter, but without the hassle of lugging your Underwood around. Because Courier is a monospaced font (meaning that all letters take up the same amount of space on the page, regardless of how fat or narrow they are), an extra space at the end of each sentence resolves any ambiguities over whether or not the sentence has come to an end. Although, doesn’t that sentiment sort of suggest that the period itself fails in its duties to terminate a sentence? Perhaps a discussion for another day.

My favorite part of the debate surrounding single or double spaces after a period is how it awakens a long-slumbering passion in the hearts of champions on both sides of the issue. When pressed, most agree that the distinction between conventions originated with the caprice of early typesetters. In so admitting, the one-space and two-space warriors must instead craft prosaic odes to the glory of the written word, economies of language, the power of tradition, the futility of fighting against progress, and the dignity of standing up for what’s right despite the unstoppable march of progress. It’s really quite beautiful, in the most pedantic way possible, because it hits at the heart of this hipster concern that it matters less what you do than why you do it. Honestly, if you care strongly one way or the other, fight for it. The battle hurts nobody.

Find and Replace

Change an entire document

Change an entire document

But, huge pro-tip here for all the one- or two-space haters: check yourselves before getting bent about post-period spacing. “Find and Replace” works to change an entire document in about 1/8th of a second, so don’t make a fuss if it’s not how you like it.

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When I was a magazine editor, I spent extra time editing articles that contained two spaces after the period. Writers, who once used typewriters, were still stuck with the habit of using two. The same writers generally used two hyphens (--), where it needed an em dash (—).

I once had a younger boss (from Hell) who insisted we underlings put two spaces after the period in any correspondence. Yet this was at a graphic design firm, where typography was everything. Which brings me to my point: watch out for those whose "long-slumbering passion" on this topic is more about power plays and passive aggression than full stop spacing.

Or it's people stuck in the past who cannot catch up with technology. Like people who shoot a video clip with their smartphone, and then say "I filmed the accident." Filmed?

That's why I emphasized she was younger than me, and was hired at a graphic design firm. And this was in the early aughts. No, it was definitely about her asserting control (one of many such actions, which ultimately led to her firing). Otherwise I agree to just shake my head over anachronisms.

It always wonderful to hear about control-freak bosses getting fired. There are still way too many of them. I had several over the years.

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