Stop Centering Your Paragraphs

Design Tip of the Month: January

There's a myth out there that centering your content will make your text more attractive, and supposedly make the words seem more important....

However, from a visual stand-point, centering your content actually creates too many alignment lines in the layout. To make your site look clean, you need a logical layout that reduces alignment lines to as few as possible.  The unpredictable centered content creates two irregular white spaces instead of one, which makes everything look messy. See the example image:

Standard, left justified text creates irregular white spaces only on the right side of the content - at the end of the lines of text. Centered text would create irregular white spaces at both the left (beginning) and right (end) of the lines of text.

Can you see the difference in how easy it is to read this compared to the first paragraph in this article? You see the point. Centering content also makes it difficult to read. Instead of always reading from the far left, you have to figure out where to start to read on each line

Because the left justified text has a standard starting place for where all lines of text start, this text is very easier to read.  However, the irregular spacing and starting place of centered text makes this harder to read.

When is it appropriate to center your content? Titles/ Slogans/ Short Sentences/ Menus, etc… (anything short and will be read quickly) are free game – so center away!


- Mei-fen