Typography: so much more than just fonts

What is Typography?

Simply stated, typography is the visual art and technique of creating and arranging words. It includes the style, appearance, location, spacing, size, and weight of letters that compose the words.

Important words to understand:

  1. Typeface: the look or style of the letters. You may have heard people describe letters as “serif” or “non-serif,” which is one aspect of what creates the typeface. Essentially, an artist creates a “family” of letters that share similar characteristics and convey the same feeling or look.
  2. Font: the size and weight (or boldness) of the letters. The idea is to take letters from a typeface and place them in your website in a specific font.

Why does typography matter?

Each typeface has a distinct personality and communicates a different vibe. Therefore, when choosing a typeface you need to consider what impression you want to make. The typeface sets the tone of the page, from serious to playful, old-fashioned to modern. Also, the arrangement and sizing of text contributes to the readability when done well, or disaster when done poorly. As a matter of fact, an experienced designer recently explained how poor typography and card design at the Oscars led to the now infamous mis-reading of the winner of Best Picture. Consequently, an experienced designer will use size, placement and weight strategically to direct the reader’s eye to the most important information first. It is also essential to use discretion with typefaces that are not most commonly used. While complicated typefaces can be beautiful, they can render a block of text completely unreadable.

Elements of Good Typography

  1. Consistency. Use only a couple typefaces on your website to create a polished, put-together look. The goal is to make the typography essentially invisible. Typography should create an impression, but not draw attention to itself through irregularities or polarizing typefaces.
  2. Hierarchy. Arrange text in a way that the most important information is large and somewhat central. You can control the path that a reader’s eye takes by using the size and placement of words.
  3. Alignment. While many amateur designers like the poetic look of center alignment, it is much harder to read. Readers already barely read websites preferring to skim most of the time. Align text on the left or right to give the reader’s eye a clean line to follow to increase comprehension and ease of reading.

Web design is a delicate balance between using science and precision to keep your message clear and creating beauty to delight and awe. It takes time to master the tightrope between these competing agendas, something Design Break Studios has dedicated ourselves to. For this reason, let us help you find the typeface and arrangement to take your website to the next level.

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