Written words constitute a large part of what we absorb in the online environment. We see them on ads, eBooks, memes, news, websites, etc. There are times when it’s easy to read the lines or hard to read even the headlines. Especially when you’re reading from your phone, you might need to zoom the page to read the words. Such a scenario is greatly influenced by typography. Emulating the tone of the sentence or story is a designer’s responsibility. Their challenge is to harmonize the look of the text and its context. More so, they need to understand the importance of typography in graphic design.
Typography is the art of arranging text to make it appealing, clear, and readable. It involves the appearance, font style, and structure of a message to elicit emotions. Thus, the art of typography means bringing the text to life. The roots of typography can be traced back to the 1400s. Johannes Guttenberg invented the movable typeface. It’s a cheaper way to create written words when every written material has to be done manually. The movable typeface was called the blackletter. It’s because the letters are dark and intense. But the first typeface is not very legible. Today, it’s known as Textura.
Other sets of typefaces followed suit. Nicolas Jenson, inspired by the text in Roman buildings, created the roman typeface in 1470. In 1501, Aldous Manus designed the italics. The first time where typeface contained square serifs was in 1815. This was called the Egyptian or slab serif by its creator, Vincent Figgins. The most loved typeface of our time – Helvetica – was created by Max Miedinger in 1957. Many other typeface variations exploded. These give us plenty of looks and options in typography today.
The Seven Elements of Typography
Alignment. This is the process of unifying the graphics, images, and text into equal distances, sizes, and spaces. An industry standard is to align the text to the right. This is a counter-intuitive style because people commonly read from left to right. However, you can experiment with alignment at the center or right side. Just be sure that the distance, size, and spaces are consistent.
Color. The most exciting element of typography is color. It has three factors: hue, saturation, and value. A balance between these three factors makes a text easy to read. Text color can make a message stand out. But getting it wrong makes it appear confusing and messy.
Consistency. This is the main element of typography. The rule of thumb to create consistency is not to use more than two typeface groups in written content. This is to avoid making it confusing and messy. When using two typeface groups, you must achieve hierarchy by using a particular typeface on headers and the second one on subheadings. You can also experiment with colors and sizes to make the design attractive.
Contrast. In typography, contrast refers to the weight of a font. It may either be written in thin or thick stroke. Write ideas or messages you want to emphasize in thick strokes. Most designers play around with different colors, sizes, and typefaces to create an impact. Such a contrast makes the text eye-catching and interesting.
Fonts and Typefaces. Let us first define font and typeface to avoid confusion. A font is a graphic representation of a text. It is distinct in weight, width, size, and style. A typeface is a family of related fonts. Each typeface carries fonts with similar characteristics. The three basic typeface groups are decorative, sans serif, and serif.
Hierarchy. In typography, hierarchy is organizing the text according to importance. It can be created using color, contrast, and size. The most common example of a hierarchy is a larger heading size, a smaller subheading size, and standard text. Other designers will emphasize heading by putting it in a different color. Bad design means not placing any distinction in each section of the text.
Whitespace. Often referred to as the negative space, whitespace is the empty area around an image or text. To make a design look more stylish, the artist has to create a breathing room. A text with enough white space draws a viewer’s attention because it’s easy to read. While text crammed within a box looks cluttered and hard to read. You can create whitespaces in the form of an empty area, margins, or paddings.
Importance of Typography in Graphic Design
Designers commonly overlooked typography. But it’s crucial to graphic design. Below are the importance of typography in graphic design.
Adds value to your design. Website visitors focus more on the textual content because that’s where they get information. Typography that balances graphics and text adds value to a design. It is impressive enough for the readers to give value and share.
Deliver the message of the graphic design. Typography helps in communicating the message of graphic design. Just by looking at typography, readers will know the type of message a website delivers.
Evokes the right emotion. Using the right typography evokes the right emotion. It makes a graphic design perform better by influencing the feelings of the readers. Bolder characters drive urgency in action. Decorative fonts create fun and excitement. There’s a lot more emotion than typography can evoke.
Holds the reader’s attention. Good typography has the reader’s attention. By reducing visual fatigue, they’ll stay reading your message. It also eliminates any distractions in the design. So, they’ll pay more attention to it.
Whether the goal is to simply create your own logo sticker or as complicated as building a brand through a website, bad typography has the power to ruin a project entirely. It may even have a disastrous effect if you want to monetize a design. So, it should never be left out. The best solution to get the perfect typography for every design is to use free design software. They are equipped with typography tools to easily and quickly craft fonts that match a design. It also helps the designer conveniently play with alignment, color, contrast, typeface, and whitespace.