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What the Font? A Quick & Helpful Guide for Professional Typography Usage


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Emerging designers, solopreneurs and small businesses, this is for you. It's just about everything you need to know when working with type in your designs and presentations to make sure your words have the right message, evoke the right emotion or action, and speak to the right audience. Good typography is subtle, yet stylish.

Published in: Design

What the Font? A Quick & Helpful Guide for Professional Typography Usage

  1. 1. Whaatt tthee FFoontt?? A quick & helpful guide for professional typography usage {for emerging graphic designers, solopreneurs, and small businesses} BROUGHT TO YOU BY: creative studio dezinegirl lifestyl bran desig
  2. 2. What’s the difference? FONT vs TYPEFACE There's a general acceptance of the terms font and typeface can be used interchangeably, even among typography professionals and graphic designers. But what is the dierence you should know? page one
  3. 3. Technically speaking, way back in the old days of analog printing, blocks of letters were used to create bodies of text. A font was used to describe a subset of blocks in a certain family typeface, such as Helvetica or Arial—but each font could be a dierent size or weight. N EWS Helvetica, Arial FONT TYPEFACE page two
  4. 4. As you are aware, fonts are no longer thousands of tiny blocks of movable letters; they have become digital computer files that you can manipulate however you wish. We likey! page three Font or typeface? We say toh-may-toh, you say toh-mah-tah.
  5. 5. page four What’s a serif? KNOW YOUR TYPEFACES Typefaces have their own personality. Choosing a typeface is similar to choosing a photo or color: you need to determine what kind of ideas or emotions you want to provoke, what your message is, and who your target audience is. To help you with that, here is the breakdown of common typefaces and their characteristics on the next four pages:
  6. 6. page five A A Serifs have tiny “feet” at the ends of the letterforms; small lines tailing from the edges. Serif fonts are mainly used in print materials such as magazines, books, and legal documents because they are easier to read in galleys, and less likely to cause eye fatigue. serif DESCRIPTIVE KEY WORDS: reliable, corporate, respectiable, formal, traditional, comfort, impressive, classy, timeless, conservative, safe, established San Serifs do not have the “feet” at the ends of the letterforms; they are “without serifs”. These fonts have become widely popular on the web since you are reading pixels, not printed text; and Sans Serif is easier on the eyes at that size. Designers also favor them for print with their versatility and clean style. sans serif DESCRIPTIVE KEY WORDS: modern, informal, youthful, friendly, stable, clean, neutral, playful, universal, happy, fresh
  7. 7. page six A The stepsister of the Serif is the Slab Serif. With it’s chunky “feet”, and thick, block-like lines, the Slab Serif adds a modern or strong style to headlines, displays, logos or names of products. It’s a high-contrast, horizontally-biased typestyle not only very legible, but also produces well-defined lines of text. slab serif DESCRIPTIVE KEY WORDS: friendly, playful, modern, bold, solid, strong, conrmed, fresh
  8. 8. page seven A Script typefaces are derived from the fluid and varied stroke originally created by handwriting, and it can be categorized as formal cursive writing or a looser, more casual writing. The formal style can be found in headings on wedding invitations, certificates, and diplomas—anything that needs an ocal look. Whereas the casual style can be seen just about anywhere—greeting cards, logos, captions, or websites as a design element. script DESCRIPTIVE KEY WORDS FOR FORMAL STYLE : elegant, affectionate, feminine, ofcial DESCRIPTIVE KEY WORDS FOR CASUAL STYLE : relaxed, personal, unique, playful, creative
  9. 9. page eight A The name pretty much sums it up. Display faces were created to be shown at large display sizes (typically 36 points or larger) like a major headline, or on a book cover. Most people associate this face as decorative type, but not necessarily so. Basic Serif or Sans Serif fonts at larger sizes can be labeled as display. Just like script typefaces, these are never used in galleys of text. display DESCRIPTIVE KEY WORDS: visually driven, informal, custom, friendly, expressive, a plethora of emotions So, who shot the Serif? {good ol’ humor of designers}
  10. 10. CHOOSE YOUR TYPEFACES WISELY page nine How do I decide? The typeface[s] that you choose will have an impact on your readers, whether in emails, resumes, brochures, menus, logos, or websites. With this knowledge, success is near.
  11. 11. page ten Readers may not even realize that they react psychologically to the appearance of a text. The wrong font could cause the opposite reaction than intended.
  12. 12. Design a visual hierarchy so viewers can easily scan your content; ie headline, subhead, body text, callouts, quotes, etc. The use of type is a very important tool to create a visual hierarchy, whether it’s the size, color, weight, or placement. page eleven THIS IS A HEADLINE This is a subhead - usually in bold or italics, several point sizes smaller than the headline. This is body text, typically a dierent font than the headline, and sometimes the subhead. The most legible size is about pts.
  13. 13. Be careful to not mix fonts of the same family, variant or style at the same level of your hierarchy. Each level should be specific and unique. Aim for adequate contrast in typefaces. If they look similar, even at dierent levels, they could come across as confusing and unclear in presentation. Combine Serifs and Sans Serif, or dierent weights and styles of one kind of typeface. page twelve
  14. 14. page thirteen Focus on readability and legibility: use accurate point sizes, leading, kerning and tracking. Too small of a point size will be unreadable, especially in print. Bad leading, kerning and tracking can ruin an otherwise stellar piece of copy. It’s all about balance. Rule of thumb: good typography is subtle, yet stylish.
  15. 15. SOURCES page fifteen
  16. 16. BROUGHT TO YOU BY: creative studio dezinegirl lifestyl bran desig DEZINEGIRLCREATIVE.COM