Basics of Graphic Design: Typography

Typography is all that we see in the text. What text? It is put on every single thing in daily life such as on warning signs, books, comics, packaging, and many more. It can be referred to how the text is styled and appeared. It is something that is associated with the art of working with text, something which commonly we do in daily life.

When it comes to graphic design, it seems that typography is intimidating. However, it is not. Let's talk about it further, so we can make the difference before and after knowing about typography. It couldn’t be implied only in design, it will be useful for our daily as well.

The first thing that we would talk about is fonts, let’s learn about the common types of fonts.

  • Serif

Serif refers to the fonts which have a stroke accent on the main part of the letter. The stroke is called serif and that’s why this font type is called serif. The accent makes this font have a classic look, therefore it matches to be used on a traditional design theme. This kind of font is also commonly used on printable media such as newspapers and magazines.

  • Sans Serif

This sans serif font refers to fonts which don't have any accent on it so that the fonts look clear. The clear makes the fonts look modern. It is commonly used on electronic media such as computers and phones. Its clear style makes this font easy to read even in tiny size on screen display. 

  • Display

Display font can refer to any font which is commonly decorative. Generally it has a striking style. Therefore, it is most used in minimal amounts such as only as header or title.

In typography it’s a must to choose which font is best to be used. Fonts will indicate what information wants to give in design and fonts will determine if the information given is delivered or not. Every style of fonts have its character, so make sure to put the font that fits. 

Some fonts are considered to be outdated and overused. It is like comic sans, curlz, papyrus, and some other. If you are going to use one of those fonts, try to find alternatives. There are many fonts which have similarities with those outdated and overused fonts. Not using overused fonts would make our design look different and doesn’t boring.

Are you going to use various fonts on your text? Just don’t!

When it comes to the amounts of fonts style, less is more. Try to use maximum in 2 fonts. By only using those 2, it would make the design look elegant and modern. If we want to put a little contrast, repeat the previous font and try to change its size, weight, or style (italic). In this term, don’t limit yourself to use fonts which are different but complementary. Opposites attract, using the complimentary fonts might make our design look interesting. Try to combine tall with short fonts, decorative with simple, and don't be afraid to experiment on your own.

Next, let’s be familiar to some terms in typography:

  • Hierarchy

Hierarchy is something that guides the eye to read. We can use the hierarchy to guide people to which thing that they need to read first and what’s next. We can imply the hierarchy by pointing out its difference. First, decide which part that wants to be looked at first, then make it stand out. We can make it stand out by enlarging, bolding, or make it different in some way.

  • Leading 

Leading refers to space between lines or commonly known as line spacing. The purpose of its setting is to make sure that the text is pleasant to read. If you are not sure how much the line spacing that has to be given, usually the default is fine.

  • Tracking 

Tracking refers to the overall space between characters or sometimes called as character spacing. Tracking is needed sometimes to build an artistic effect or help to fix the poorly font character spacing.

  • Kerning 

Kerning refers to the space between each character. Sometimes, each character to another has varying space because that’s how its style fits. However, there are some fonts that have a poor space which is called bad kerning. When you meet this kind of font, it's better to replace it with another.

Those terms are essential for designers to build a professional design looking. As beginners, at least we know a little bit as a foundation to further learning. Always try to observe and notice how the design around us has been built, it’ll make us more aware and imply better to our design.

Thanks for reading this typography part. Don’t forget to always stay tuned on this site and see you!


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