How Knowledge of Typography Make You a Better Graphic Designer

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Key points in the article are: What is typography || What are elements of typography || What are the basic rules of typography? || Why is good understanding of typography necessary? || How to choose the right typeface?

We spent most of our time either on our mobile phone or scrolling a website and we’re constantly surrounded by written words.

From the newspaper that we read in morning to the files that kept us busy for the entire day, typography is all around us. We are digesting the written words throughout our day.

As we live in a visual driven world, text that is written nicely grabs more attention of the consumer. A designer, while creating design, spends a major portion in selecting the right typography for their design.

In today’s competitive scenario, when brands are trying their best to stay ahead of others in the industry, they are trying every distinctive and unique approach to target their customers.

Designers use typography as a tool to grab customer’s attention. They use typography to create a long impactful visual on the mind of consumers

If we see, besides images and colors, typography plays one of the major roles in the development of the brand, especially when the brand is a startup.

Designers can present different emotions and atmosphere just with the right typography.

The Fundamentals of Typography

Since we are discussing the ubiquity of typography and the power it holds, it becomes more essential to properly understand the fundamentals of typography in detail.

Having the proper knowledge of typography becomes more crucial when you belong to any creative and artistic background like graphic or web design.

This article will lift up the lid from everything you should know about typography. While starting with the basic definition of typography, we’ll move towards its elements, rules and why good understanding of typography is necessary for a designer. Ready? Let’s dive into it to explore more.

Ready? Let’s dive into it to explore more.

1. What is typography & What are its elements?

Typography is an art which adds life to text, it’s a procedure and technique to arrange letters and text in a certain way to make it look appealing for the readers.

Designers use typography in design in a certain way so that they can convey the mood and intention of the design effectively.

Designers use typography to communicate and make an impression on viewers and it’s these typography designs through which brands interact with their consumers.

Elements of typography

Typography is not just a simple arrangement of letters. It involves various other things like font, size, style, spacing etc.

To make your fundamentals of typography strong, you need to understand these elements of typography in detail.

a)   Fonts and Typefaces

Fundamentals of Typography: Leading, Kerning, Tracking

This is the most important thing to understand. Even professional designers mistakenly use these terms interchangeably.

While the typeface is the broad term which generally means the family of font belonging to that typeface.

Fonts are different weights and styles of typeface. To make it simpler for you, let’s understand this with an example: Helvetica is a typeface and Helvetica Regular, Bold, Italic, Light are its fonts.

All typefaces have different font sizes but similar x height so when designers want a variety in their design, they usually go to choose different ‘fonts’ of same ‘Typeface’

b)   Leading, Kerning & Tracking

Fundamentals of Typography: Leading, Kerning, Tracking

The physical space between two lines is called leading and the value of that space is known as leading value.

Kerning is the physical space present between two words.

Tracking is the space present between two letters.

c)    Color

Fundamentals of Typography: Text Color

The elements which help the text blending into the design is the color. It brings out the true value of text.

Design use a certain color and when text is put either into the same or contrasting color of the design, it conveys the true meaning of the design

d)   Hierarchy

Fundamentals of Typography: Text Hierarchy

Hierarchy marks the different distinctions in the typography. By creating different headings, subheadings, lists etc, it helps the designer to guide their viewers. It puts an emphasis on which is to be read first.

e)    Alignment

Fundamentals of Typography: Text Alignment

Alignment is a process to ensure that there’s equal and right amount of space between word and letters.

2.    Basic rules of typography

a.     Read Text

Basic rules of typography: Read text

If you want to produce the excellent copy that grabs the attention of the consumer, you need to read the entire text.

When you read, you understand which parts need more attention and which can be deleted.

So to apply any of the elements to the text, make sure you read the entire copy properly so that you can convey the exact meaning effectively.

b.     Maintain Hierarchy

Basic rules of typography: Hierarchy

Hierarchy is about putting the elements in certain order in such a way that the viewer’s eyes automatically fall on the most important part of the design in the first place.

To create hierarchy, designers use different font weights and size to make it easier for a reader to differentiate between the primary and secondary text.

This hierarchy holds the power to capture the viewer’s attention for a longer period of time and drive the reader to the most important part of the design.

c.      Choose the right colors

Basic rules of typography: Choose right colors

To enhance the reach of text, designers add vibrant and contrasting colors to text so that it can stand out. This is the part which gives the most creative freedom to the designer.

While a lot of freedom is there but the choice of wrong color can destroy the entire design and its meaning. So always be careful while selecting the color.

3.    Why is good understanding of typography necessary for designers?

a.     Speaks about the design

Basic rules of typography: Speaks about the design

Typography speaks about the personality of the design. It sets the right tone and mood of the design. Typography is the element which makes the design look serious, playful or modern.

It reflects the tone of the brand. Finding a right typeface that depicts the message of a brand is crucial.

It becomes more important to understand the core fundamentals of typography so that you can create unique and contemporary designs for the brands.

b.     Capture attention of viewers

Basic rules of typography: Capture attention of Viewers

Good typography immediately captures the eye attention of the viewers. In this competitive scenario, designers have just friction of second to hold the customer’s attention and for that second, they choose the best typeface.

You can only choose the best when you know what makes a typeface best, that is why it is important for designers to learn about typography.

c.      Make text reader friendly

Basic rules of typography: Make text reader friendly

With the right selection and careful use of typography you can provide a good reading experience to the visitors as it becomes easy for them to read the text. A wrong choice of typography can make the design look complex and chaotic.

For example, using a cursive or small font for a busy paragraph will create a sense of disinterest for readers. So even when the text is funny and commendable, it will make zero sense to the readers.

d.     Build brand’s recognition

Basic rules of typography: Build brand’s recognition

Most of the logos are typography based and they are easily recognized by people. Brand recognition is something that every brand craves for.

Fonts create that visual impact that leaves a long-time impression in the mind of the customers.

When you know how typography will help you with improving brand recognition, you will ultimately produce stunning results.


Now when you have understood why typography plays an important part in design and why it is important to know the basics of typography to become a better designer, now let’s head to the bonus section of the blog. Yes, a bonus part.

In this section we’ll focus on vital points that designers should keep in mind while choosing the right typeface for their brand.

Things to consider while selecting the typeface for your design.

a)   Understand the personality of the brand

Tips for selecting typeface: Understand the personality of the brand

Before selecting a particular font for a brand, you need to do an in-depth background check. You need to know what are the core strengths of your brand and what kind of relationship they share with customers

You need to explore in which industry they operate and when you know all this you can start making a list of typefaces depicting these traits

For example, if a brand belongs to a banking sector, it will be foolish on the designer’s part to use a cursive font for the brand.  A designer should opt something which depicts the credibility and build consumer’s faith on the institution

b)   Take care of legibility

Tips for selecting typeface: Take care of legibility

It’s better to typeface to be clear rather than unreadable. People don’t want to spend extra time in understanding what is written and if they have to do so, they will simply leave your design and move on

And this goes well for businesses which are operating on online platforms too.

Avoid using calligraphy, cursive and entirely uppercase fonts for the body text the readers has to pay more attention to it which will cause strain to their eyes

Also, try to maintain multiple sizes in the design. It will not only help people to understand the text properly but will also convey the message effectively

c)    Whether to go with Serif or Sans- Serif?

Tips for selecting typeface: Serif or Sans- Serif

It is one of the ‘Primary and Key decisions’ that a designer has to take while selecting the right font for the brand.

Generally, Serif makes a better choice for lengthy paragraphs than Sans-Serif because they act as a driving force and help the eye to travel across the lines.

Also, you need to consider your target audience. While Serif is a good option, if your target audience is the young generation, you will probably like to go with Sans-Serif fonts.

d)   Limit the number of fonts

Tips for selecting typeface: Limit the number of fonts

This is the most difficult part for a designer. With so many good fonts available limiting themselves hurt the most.

But as a professional you must learn to restrict yourself for not using more than 3 fonts in your design.

Also avoid using typefaces that look similar to bring variety.

e)    Maintain Contrast

Tips for selecting typeface: Serif or Sans- Serif

Always try to achieve contrast in your design either by using different typeface or font combinations.

Always remember the rule of thumb- Combining serif and sans serif together is the most classic and evergreen thing


Author’s Note

So, while wrapping up, All I can say is typography is not difficult to understand and definitely it is very crucial to become an expert designer

I hope this blog has helped you in clearing major issues related to typography. If you also have something to share, do let us know in the comment section below.

If you want to learn more about the practical concepts related to the typography please visit us on slideshare design field, do check our website or call us on 9911-782-350 for more details regarding the our computer and designing courses related to graphics, web, animation, post production, multimedia, video editing etc.


Read on SlideShare

Practical Typography or Typography vs Design

Practical Typography or Typography vs Design from Ravi Bhadauria

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