They’re not just “small adults.” Writing for young readers and young adults requires some forethought and knowing the unique preferences of the audience.
When you buy a car you get at least two sets of keys. Why? Well, in case you lose one set you’ve got a backup. You lock one set in the car, you’ve got a backup. There are two drivers and each can have their own set of keys. You can mail one set to a friend and ask them to pick your car up at the airport. You name it. There are probably a thousand more possibilities.
Back when I was a rising fifth grader, the supplies list for school included a dictionary. That’s “dictionary”—as in a printed volume with pages and a hard-red cover and the word “DICTIONARY” in white lettering across the front.
“So you can look up words, learn how to spell them—and also learn the meanings,” our teacher assured us.
“How can you look up a word if you don’t know how to spell it?” I asked with perfect ten-year-old logic.
Armchair travel in the time of Covid-19.
In the late 1800s the West Side Cowboys rode and waved flags in front of Manhattan’s Tenth Avenue freight trains. New Yorkers, being of stubborn and independent character, ignored the Cowboys and their warnings. In time, after many accidents, Tenth Avenue became known as “Death Avenue.”
Most of us know what a “font” is. Some call it a “typeface” or “typestyle.” We speak casually of double spaced 12 pt Times Roman for manuscripts. Helvetica for headlines. Script for flourishes and decorations.
But before 1440 (when Gutenburg introduced moveable type to Europe), the “hand” of the monk or scribe would be the deciding factor in the lettering design. Just as handwriting varies with the individual, so the little nuances of the copier’s lettering could be identified.