Typography design is more than just choosing font and font size from your computer menu. Typography is an art and skill with a long century-old history, since the day when wood and metals are first timely used to print letters. We can learn a thing or two about typography’s long history, and we can also use some practical tips about how to make letters look better in daily projects like resume, name cards and bulletins.
Here are some ways to upgrade your design quality by using the right typography choice. We will know further about typography of letters and types of typography.
Adjust the Personality with the Message
Is one letter looks better or worse than the other? Or maybe you have a favorite font that you always use in every chance you have? Whatever the case is, you cannot maximize the existing font choice.
This happens because every typeface has their own personality or characteristic. One font might look friendly, classy, serious, luxurious or even silly. But most font doesn’t always compatible with everything, so you need to choose what font speaks most for you, and which one is most suitable for your design. One way to do this is by discussing some characteristics and quality you want to communicate in your design. If you already have a planned content, it’s even better – you can adjust the font choice with built tone inside the text.
Every letter has their own voice, this voice affects how we feel about a text when we read it. And by this we can also gain information. A typeface can also be a power to make every communication text form more effective and persuasive. When a characteristic of a font is compatible with the text characteristic, people will be able to read the text quickly and easily. When the character is lost, then reader will have more difficulties to read and understand the text. The easier we make audience to read, the bigger chance that audience will find what they are looking for, and then clicking and buying the item – or whatever the purpose of the design / text is.
A brief example: a combination of a modern-but-vintage for body care product based on an old recipe. It’s minimalistic yet using a vintage font, it shows that the product is home-based and using traditional ways on its production or ethics.
Adjust the Taste with Audience
So, it’s great when you already choosing a font and think that it already suits the design purpose. But one more problem arise when not everyone will read the taste from the same font. After choosing a font that suitable with the design, you will want to make sure that the font suits the audience.
A group of audience will feel that one font is trendy, meanwhile the others will think that the same font feels old. This happens because the way we see font is very much affected by cultural relationship, which also related with age demography and geographic location. Be sensitive with demographic perspective in your design, and ask someone from that group if you are doubting your choice – it will be very important to make a typography in graphic design to be very effective.
But what is you work on a design that has to tell a story to a larger group of audience, instead of a specific one? You might want to choose a more neutral font, a typeface that doesn’t have an obvious strong characteristic, but blends naturally. This kind of fonts sometimes also referred as “workhouse” font type, basic serif or sans-serif fonts that can be used almost anywhere because they don’t attract too much attention.
Match the Font Size with the Design Context
When choosing and sorting fonts in graphic design, readability should be your main concern. You don’t want to frustrate your audience by making your text too small to read – or to annoy them by making gigantic texts. The practical rule is: body text size should range from 10 to 12 points for printing projects, and 15 to 20 pixels for website (most browser default text size is 16 pixels). An ideal size can always change, depends on the characteristic and structure from every font.
What about other font type on a text that is meant to be a quick read? You need to try using a design context -physical size and/or how it will be presented and displayed- together with some realistic thought as a guidance. A smaller projects like name card, for example, or a longer part of a text will need a smaller font, but still also need to be clear and easy to read.
A larger project such as posters or banner can use larger fonts because there are many space used and people can also see the design from afar. With project that has relatively small text, it depends on its context and audience, you can also be more creative and stylish with your font choice.
A graphic design is good when it has good hierarchy, nicely sorted, easy to navigate and easy to find the information needed. Typography hierarchy is especially important for a design with many texts such as newsletter, books, magazines, and even some websites.
Some use of hierarchy in typography design in general:
- Using text size to emphasize information based on importance level.
- Using the right spacing to make a structure that is easy to view.
- Grouping related items into small groups.
- Making clear divisions (with headings, subheadings, and so on) when needed.
Do not Ignore Spacing and Alignment
Details can both form and destroy a design. Some of details that take most effect in text design is spacing and alignment. They can make difference between a confusing and messy design with a clean and neat design. Here are some general spacing type:
Also referred as letter-spacing, is a horizontal space between all letters in a text – can be a sentence or paragraph. Adjusting this will make text looks more tight or loose. Decreasing tracking is a technique that usually used to save space in design, but it can make a text is difficult to read. Finding the right measurement (not too tight and not too loose), and also match the font choice is the best way to keep readability quality.
Also referred as line-spacing, is a vertical space between lines and text. Just like tracking, both extremes can make a design text difficult to read and look ‘dead’.
Margin is empty space around the design, unless you are making a specific effect and in purpose, you don’t want your text to look falling apart from the page (or screen). A spacey room on the edges make a design more comfortable to read.
This refers to all white/empty space in a design. When you have a lot of information to put in a design, a white space seems to be a wasted space, but it is an important part of an orderly and balanced design. White space make audience can read the whole design and give their eyes a chance to rest.
So far, alignment and text consistency is the best way to improve typography design. Combining text alignment style (flush left, center, justified, etc) in a design without a logical purpose only makes it messier. Here are some extra tips before we continue to more ways to upgrade your design using typography on the next article:
- Don’t use justified alignment. Justified alignment is almost always create uneven spacing and white space, so it will look messy and difficult to read.
- Choose one style to decide body copy (usually it’s flush left) and use it continuously.