Tips on How to Take Advantage of Typography in Design: Working on design without knowing the basics of typography is like working in a kitchen and not knowing how to fry an egg. It’s such an important pillar of visual communication that it can’t be overlooked, if you want to relay an efficient message.
Working on design without knowing the basics of typography is like working in a kitchen and not knowing how to fry an egg. It’s such an important pillar of visual communication that it can’t be overlooked, if you want to relay an efficient message.
Tips on How to Take Advantage of Typography in Design
There’s a well known graphic designer guru, Hook Kim, that once said: “Typographic design is visible as well as audible. If you have a great scenario, now it is time to cast good actors.” Every time you read something, even if it is only in your head, you give it a feeling, an intention, a voice. You have probably read a book, where a character screams and the text appears with all caps, making your inner voice scream as well. That’s typography – the art and skill of arranging type in order to reach a legible, readable and appealing, written language.
That’s why mastering this art will help you create a stronger and more powerful message that, complemented by a quality design, can transmit to your audience the same exact message and overall feeling you’ve imprinted on it.
The Basics of Typography
Even though it started as a way of getting specific reactions from people, in propaganda flyers or on the press, nowadays we associate it more with visual performance and readability on digital mediums. Even though flyers are still an efficient medium, you’ll see a lot of brands using them only in the digital world. In spite of that, the essential components have stayed the same throughout the years, and we’ll give you a quick explanation of the most important ones.
- The Typeface – A group of letters that share the same style and characteristics form a font. A group of fonts that share similar aspects and certain shapes form a typeface. The most common ones are the serif, sans-serif, monospaced and display.
- The Baseline – an invisible line straight line, below the text, where the letters rest.
- Cap Height – Measuring from the baseline, it’s the height of a flat capital letter, such as “M” or “I”.
- X-Height – Measuring from the baseline, it’s the height of a lowercase “x”.
- Ascender & Descenders – These are vertical strokes that some letters have that go beyond the cap size or the baseline. If the line height value is too low, a collision between an ascender and a descender might occur.
- Weight – It’s the relative thickness of a font’s stroke. Usually, for a typeface, you’ll have 4 to 6 different weights available.
Tips On How to Better Use Typography
Now that you know the specific glossary, let’s dive into some tips every designer must know in order to master the art of typography.
Family Relations are Good
A bit like the New York Mafia in the 20’s, there are a lot of families in the world of typography. Working with different fonts, from the same family, can help you reach a more harmonious design and a more solid overall feeling.
Less is More
If you’re a designer, you’re probably sick of hearing the term “minimalism”, but the truth is that, in typography, it is also a very important principle. Too many fonts might look like a way of grabbing someone’s attention, but why do you need their attention if you can’t efficiently convey your message? Shoot for three, maximum – it allows you to contrast different words, but also to create a nice balance. This is especially important when creating posters – which sometimes are excellent with just one font alone. Instead of different families, you can also play with bold and italics, but be careful not to overuse them, as it can look messy and chaotic, pretty easily.
Kerning is an Art
Even though designers usually say font integrity is important, there are a few aspects you can and should edit. They are the kerning (space between letters), tracking (the overall space between a group of letters) and leading (the vertical space between two lines). In terms of design, the most essential one you should really master is the kerning.
Awkward spacing is real, and kerning might be your best solution for that. Not only do you use it to reach a more visually appealing outcome, but readability plays a big role in this aspect, as it relies on home much space there is between letters. Too close – too chaotic. Too far – hard to read.
But how can you find that perfect balance in terms of kerning? Here are a few tricks:
- Turn your text upside down. This allows you to look at it in a pure visual way, without reading the words.
- Blur it. Be it on photoshop or just squinting your eyes, the principle is the same as the latter one. If you can distance yourself from the meaning of the word you can work on its visuals more efficiently.
- Use an “o” to space the words. No need to actually pace it there, but imagine there’s an “o” between each letter, giving you a more consistent text.
Hierarchy: Control the audience
You should be the one that decides not only what the audience is going to read, but also how it’s going to do it. Be with subheadings, font sizes, different fonts, colors or bold and italic, start by organizing your information in terms of importance. Maybe the place of a talk isn’t as important as the people who will be speaking. If you think in terms of a story you’re telling your reader, the information will be transmitted in a much more efficient way
You can relay information with only designs and colors. You can also do it with only text. But from the moment you learn how to master those two arts and the way they complement each other, you’ll realize how efficient, effortless and precise you can make people react and remember detailed data about your brand or event. Type away and, as always, thanks for reading!
Tips on How to Take Advantage of Typography in Design