I tried to figure these things myself, but with no luck yet. Maybe because I'm a foreigner and a complexity of terminology mixes with a complexity of English.

And so the question. It consists of four parts.

  • What is the difference between typography (I know what typography is) and editorial design?

  • and between editorial design and editorial practice?

    [The Chicago Manual of Style] specifically focuses on American English and deals with aspects of editorial practice, including grammar and usage, as well as document preparation and formatting. - Wikipedia

  • and between editorial practice and copy editing?

    Copy editing refers to checking text for correctness, clarity, usage, consistency of style, as well as house style, if required. - creativepro.com

  • And is there a catch-all term for all these things?

  • 1
    This has the feel of being a textbook question or a homework assignment for a course. As such, it risks being closed.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 13:22
  • @fred_dot_u It is not. In my native language, it is "типографика" and "редактура" respectively. English seems to be more nuanced here, and it is not easy to understand what is the difference between these English terms, and where exactly it lies.
    – jsx97
    Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 13:47
  • Copy writing is creating/editing the actual text/articles. It doesn't really have anything to do with graphic design. However, typography/editorial design are more or less synonymous, and are about the page layout and design for aesthetic purposes. As for editorial practice, sorry, I'm not really familair with that term. Tried googling, not much to see TBH. Sounds like a buzzword.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 19, 2023 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


Related to the comment about nuances in English.

Webster's defines Practice as the customary, habitual, or expected procedure or way of doing something.

Therefor "Editorial Practice" would refer to the expected way of doing things related to editorials. It does not refer to anything specific. It refers to the overall idea that there are common procedures.

As I see things...

  • Editorial Practice would refer to the common procedures to use for anything in the editorial space. Then the "practice" would be broken into two subcategories containing specific restrictions/guidelines:

    • Editorial Design would refer to guidelines for aesthetics which have been proven effective. That is to say... if a production house has determined their editorials create more Return On Investment (ROI) when larger type sizes are used, blue is the predominant color, and text is left justified - those would all be "editorial practices" as they relate to "editorial design'". I would not classify writing style guides (CMOS) as "design". Such writing style guides relate far more to copy editing.

      • Typography can be an entirely different subject. Typography refers to how type looks - its readability, legibility, and appearance - not the spelling or context of any word(s) specifically. Typography would be the determination of what typeface may best convey the desired message. Serif, sans serif, humanist, gothic, sizes, weights, styles, etc. Some of this could very well fall under Editorial Design if such things are dictated in a (design) style guide.
    • Copy Editing is just that, editing the words used in text. "Copy" means "text" for anyone unfamiliar with the jargon. Copy Editing refers to what/how text reads - spelling, grammar, phrasing, etc. Copy Editing is about the word(s) and glyphs used specifically and is unrelated to the appearance of the type. For example, an Editorial Practice for Copy Editing may dictate that all copy must adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) or the Associated Press Stylebook (APStyle) - just to name a couple. This is how "copy editing" would fall under "editorial practices."


You could argue all of these fall under the overall editorial design topic.

Because when you work on a document, as a designer you generally need to do everything, from building a page grid, column setup, covers, master pages, etc, to then importing the raw text content, to then formatting, which involves the typography part.

Then there's the finishing touches part, which involves adjusting the copy, and any copy changes, spell checking, etc within that particular grid, and within that particular set of typography rules.

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