An introduction to typography: The non-designers guide

Visual art in the digital world is not just about its pictorial storytelling. At times, you can create the same intensity (or more) by using typography. In fact, typography, if used the right way, can help you better highlight your brand USPs and to establish a unique brand identity.

It is even more critical for the modern-age designers to learn to identify between a good font and a bad font. Whether you’re designing a website, brochure, flyer, social media designs, ebook or billboard, paying attention to even the slightest detail can bring in a world of difference to your designs.

What is typography?

Typography is the technique of arranging types (letters & characters) to make your designs visually intriguing. It is, usually, the combination of line length, selection of point size and spacing.

However, it is not a new concept. Many years back, before the advancement of computer and open source fonts, people used printed materials in the shape of letters and characters to create typography in a physical space.

Why is typography important?

Typography is all around you. Every font, letter or character around you plays a vital part in formulating your decisions and opinions. It can also be responsible for the way a message is conveyed, making it critical for a marketer.

For example, Apple changed it’s default font Helvetica Neue and replaced it with a font developed in-house, called the San Francisco. The differences between the two fonts are subtle. However, San Francisco is much bolder, friendlier and space-efficient, making it easier to read even on tiny mobile screens. In fact, calligraphy and typography were one of the only college degrees Steve Jobs took, which played a crucial role in the growth of Apple.

Each font is unique and has the ability to affect their viewers differently.

Sans Serifs and Serifs

Typography can be divided into two, namely, Sans Serifs and Serifs.

Serifs are basically the fonts with the ‘little’ decorative feet at the horizontal or vertical ends of a letter (called Serifs). They are older than the sans serifs and therefore, gives a traditional feel to your texts. They work better on print than the web.

Eg.

Serifs

Some of the well-known Serif fonts include,

  • Times New Roman
  • Bookman Old Style
  • Droid Serif Pro
  • Palatino
  • Bodoni

Sans Serifs, on the other hand, are those fonts without the decorative feet. The word ‘sans’ means ‘without’. These fonts are modern and are easily readable. They are mostly meant for the web as they come in taller and wider combinations.
Eg.

Sans Serifs

Popular Sans fonts include

  • Montserrat
  • Roboto
  • Raleway
  • Source Sans Pro
  • Oswald

Script and Decorative fonts

Script are those fonts that look like a script/handwriting.
Eg

Script

Script fonts are more open and are best suited for a big space. These kinds of fonts work best as a title.

Script fonts include,

  • RM Celtic (Formal Scripts)
  • Causal mark script (Casual Scripts)
  • Allura (Calligraphic Scripts)
  • Canterbury (Blackletter Scripts)

Decorative fonts are also similar to the script fonts but they are more suited for titles and headlines.
Eg.

Decorative

Popular decorative fonts include

  • Utopia
  • Couturier
  • Mr Chalk
  • Atomic Age

The effective use of fonts to convey your brand’s emotion is an art, which includes plenty of practice and trial-and-error. Remember, there is an emotion behind every font, colour, design, ad or article with which each brand is trying to communicate with the world.

If you want to learn more about conversion focused web design. Feel free to contact us.

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