In typography, an orphan refers to a short line or word that appears alone at the end of a paragraph or column, separated from the rest of the text. Orphans are considered undesirable in typography because they create a visual “break” in the text and can interrupt the flow of the reader’s eye. #orphan
In general, good typography aims to create an even, balanced appearance on the page or screen, and avoid awkward or distracting visual elements like orphans. To prevent orphans from occurring, designers may adjust the spacing, line breaks, or hyphenation within a paragraph or column. They may also choose to add or remove text to ensure that each paragraph or column ends with at least two lines of text.
To expand on the previous answer, orphans can be divided into two types:
- A single word at the end of a paragraph or column is known as an “orphan word.” This can be a single word that appears alone on a line or at the end of a paragraph, and it can be visually jarring to readers.
- A short line at the end of a paragraph or column is known as an “orphan line.” This occurs when a paragraph or column ends with only one or two short lines, and it can also be visually disruptive.
In addition to the visual disruption that orphans can cause, they can also affect readability and comprehension. When a reader’s eye is drawn to an orphan, it can break their concentration and make it harder for them to follow the text.
To avoid orphans, designers often use techniques such as adjusting the spacing between lines or adjusting the hyphenation within a paragraph or column. They may also use software tools that can automatically adjust the text to avoid orphans. In some cases, designers may also choose to manually edit the text to ensure that each paragraph or column ends with a sufficient number of lines.
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