Hair Space (U+200A)

I’m working my way through HackDesign.org’s nice design tutorials for developers, and running into a whole world of letter design that I didn’t even know existed. I’ve always found typography interesting and have participated in the cute “which is the best programming font” discussions (I’m a PragmataPro die-hard), but haven’t dug much deeper into all the variations as they apply to digital content.

Many wonderful links on this particular topic here, although I would certainly recommend starting the course from the beginning. My particular favorite today is from Yves Peters:

The non-breaking space is not the only special space character available in HTML. An em space is as wide as the type size, creating a perfectly square separator. The en space is half its width. Very useful in tabular material is the figure space, which takes up as much room as the numerals in the font, while the punctuation space is as wide as the dot or comma. Thin spaces can be used between the dot and the next letter in abbreviated names, and hair spaces to detach em dashes from the neighboring characters. And then there’s the three-per-em space, the four-per-em space, the six-per-em space …

I had sort of a vague notion in my head that &nbsp might have a different effect than tapping the spacebar, but had only really considered it from an encoding and string parsing standpoint. I suppose all these quirky types of spaces must be used all over the web and having subliminal effects on me without me truly understanding the difference between a tabular space and a hair space. I did take care to make sure to <strong> those space names and not <b> them, as well!

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