The Art of Typography

Ever wondered how to enhance the type you use within your designs and make it looks aesthetically pleasing and easy to read? Here is a range of common terms and tricks you should know to improve your designs!

1. Ensure the Typeface’s Mood Reflects the Message.

Do you have a favourite typeface you use every opportunity you get? Maybe you use Helvetica because it is clean, simple and easy to read. Let’s be honest we see it everywhere, from independent firms to big corporations all over the world. However, we as designers must ask ourselves are we getting the most out of our font choice?

All typefaces have there own mood or personality. Whether it be groovy, fancy, horror or silly. Majority of fonts aren’t ‘one-size-fits all’, so you will need to determine what message you are trying to convey and select a font that reflects that. This will ensure your design is powerful and communicates your message more effectively and persuasively.

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Image found at Design Inspiration.

2. Ensure the Mood is Targeted at your Audience

You have selected a font that reciprocates the mood of the message. Awesome! However, not everyone will interpret the mood of the selected typeface as you have. It is important to consider the target audience when choosing your font, to ensure they respond the way you intend them to. For example, someone might see a certain typeface as trendy, in comparison to someone raised in a different culture setting, who may find the same typeface out of date.

What typeface do I choose when I’m designing for a wide range of people, not a specific group? I hear you ask. Try and pick a more neutral typeface, that doesn’t have an obvious personality or mood and blends in with it’s surroundings. Serifs and San Serif Fonts look effective when designing for broad audience.

3. Ensure the Font Point Size reflects the Design Context

It is important that your audience can read your text, there is no point placing text within the design if no one can read it.

Rule of thumb: Body text should be between 10 and 12 points for print projects and 15 to 20 pixels for web design. Note the ideal size may differ, depending on the characteristics of the font.

4. Visual Hierarchy 

Typographic hierarchy is important to navigate the reader through the information presented in the design. It is important for designs that are text-heavy, for example newsletters, magazines and books.

The basics of setting up a hierarchy in your design involve the following:

•Using text size to prioritize information by importance

•Using sufficient spacing to create an easy-to-scan structure

•Grouping related items together

•Including clear sections (with headings, subheadings, etc).

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Photo by Thomas Clare on Behance.

5. Spacing and Alignment is Crucial 

Spacing and alignment can make a huge difference between creating an organised design, to a cluttered and illegible design.

– Tracking is the consistent amount of horizontal space between all letters in a passage of text. Adjusting this setting will make the text look tighter or looser. You should aim to find a happy medium, depending on the typeface that you choose.

– Leading is the vertical spacing between the text.

6. Don’t overlook Kerning 

What is kerning I hear you ask? Often we get it confused with tracking, however it is different it is the amount of space between a single pair of letters or other characters. Kerning is the last thing we as designers check to make sure our type looks professional. Most typefaces have auto kerning, however for large point size it is important to do a visual check and adjust the kerning as required.

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Image found at Design Mantic.

7. Ensure you don’t use too many Typefaces and Weight Styles

It is important that we don’t apply to many fonts to our designs, as they will confuse the audience and look cluttered.

Rule of thumb: Don’t use more then three different typefaces in a design.

Selecting fonts to combine in a design can be difficult at times. There are a couple of options to solve this solution:

  1. You can’t go wrong with a basic sans serif and serif font!
  2. Pick a typeface family and adjust the weights and styles. But don’t over do it!

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Image found at Inspired Mag.

Hope these tips and tricks help enhance the typography within your designs!

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