Looking for a gung-ho and electrifying font that screams, “LOOKY HERE!”? Think again. Graphic design is not just about aggrandizing a brand or pleasing the aesthetic eye. Pro league or novice, some basic principles govern every visually effective masterpiece, big or small. And within that grand scheme lies the foundation of graphic design basics – typography. Typography is a fundamental essence of effective branding that is often taken for granted amid selections of fanciful color palettes and impressive images.
Gone are the simpler days of yore where the only two text design choices were either tediously handwritten calligraphy or typewritten text. While many graphic designers lament how competitive the market is, technology bestows upon them the carte blanche to create allegory visuals. And since effective marketing today relies on storytelling, basic typography design should compound meaningfulness and personality. It’s really just part psychology, creativity, and logic.
On the hook for more? This scoop on graphic design basics typography is for:
- Seasoned graphic designers looking for some afflatus inspiration.
- Budding designers picking up fundamentals for effective design.
- Small business owners creating their own marketing material.
- Everyday DIY-ers looking create personalized posters or greeting cards.
What is Typography?
Before you can even blurt the words “Times New Roman,” hear us out! Typography is more than just picking fancy-pants font styles. It also consists of how one arranges letters and manipulate space to present a visually attractive and easily readable copy. Hence, typography in design conveys not only contextual information. It also elicits a mood and imparts a visual message to the audience even before words are being read.
Applications of Digital Typography in Design
It seems almost eons ago where typography was exclusively applied to print collaterals. But today, digital design has taken over the world by storm. With constantly-updating software, one might think that graphic designers’ work has pretty much become duck soup. But because design is so simple and open to interpretation, it is complicated. Graphic design basics in typography today is applied to new digital channels not limited to:
- Social media visual
- Web design
- User Interface (UI)
- PowerPoint Presentations
- Digital banner ads
The Importance of Typography
Designer Massimo Vignelli said, “Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.” Whether you’re looking to cut a swath for an aleatory event poster or build a personality for an aspiring brand, typography is elemental. Here are three huge reasons why you should not peter out its importance.
Reason #1: Typography Forges Brand Recognition
Did you know that consumers remember a brand only after interacting with it 5 to 7 times? Imagine if each of these encounters presented a different typography style. They’ll probably never get to remember your brand! Brand managers from multinational organizations, therefore, often use a little rulebook known as the brand guidelines. It’s a useful tool that can govern the consistency of typography used in all the organization’s marketing assets. This includes the instructions on the fonts and formats used in all communication, from emails to billboards. Hence, it’s no trifling task for a graphic designer to consider typography as part of their brand design—a family of fonts that will fit the bill for different applications.
The reason for creating brand guidelines is simple. Consistent representation of a brand establishes consumers’ trust by portraying a strong sense of reliability, stability, and brand identity. That said, you can imagine that once the elements of a brand’s design have been constructed, swapping horses midstream might lose you some loyalty if the revamp campaign is not appropriately executed.
Reason #2: Typography Can Keep People Reading
James Felici said, “The beauty of type lies in its utility; prettiness without readability serves neither the author nor the reader.” Aesthetics aside, typography dictates the text’s space, illegibility, and appeal to readers. Sadly, recent research has uncovered that the percent of content actually read decreases with an increase in the word count. (We’re glad you made it this far in the article!) Now take that fact, add poorly formatted text in a chunky manuscript, and you’re quite likely to lose your audience. That is especially so for marketing materials.
Thankfully, the Global Journal of Health Science has discovered that all readers read more smoothly and at better speed when text line-spacing is being set to 2.5. Be it book publications or websites, abiding by the rules of graphic design basics – typography plays a huge role in making the artwork’s message digestible and appetizing.
Reason #3: Typography Sets the Mood
We are unaware, but subconsciously, psychology plays a huge role in how we perceive artwork. At first glance, we decide whether a brand is worth our curiosity, time, or investment. In fact, research suggests it only takes 0.05 seconds to form an opinion of, say, your website. Typography constitutes a large effect of such on the audience. Some choose to use large-sized and loud fonts to capture attention. Promotional artwork materials often use this format. Meanwhile, some more established brands such as Apple go with a more minimalistic and subtle approach, applying plenty of space and a clear, simple font in their visuals.
With the play of typography elements, some pieces relax the viewer, while others inspire motivation to take action. Understanding the basics of typography to craft a personality and set an emotion is important for every modern graphic designer.
Reason #4: Typography Directs the Eyes
I’M SURE THESE CAPS HAVE CAPTURED YOUR ATTENTION. BUT DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD GET A TAD ANNOYING IF WE USED THEM FOR THE ENTIRE ARTICLE? Case in point!
Unformatted typography can make a graphic designer’s piece as dull as dishwater. Similarly, if you use fonts that visually “scream” throughout the artwork, you’re quite likely to lose your audience as an eager beaver. After all, too much of something becomes monotony. With the rights strategic play of typography, graphic designers have the alchemy to direct the audience’s eyes to the most important message. This manipulation is important in our goldfish-attention-span era, where consumers are likely to lose interest in marketing materials that are wordy. Keep reading and learn more about typography hierarchy further below.
Graphic Design Basics – Typography Considerations
Creativity is an amorphous talent. One that no one can get too much of. While creation requires ingenuity, effective branding and marketing is a whole genre of its own. Here’s a laundry list of items to consider:
It’s no surprise that you’ll probably be able to identify a brand just from the typeface itself. Typefaces are hence a powerful tool in the design of a strong brand identity. If you’re out on a hunt for a typeface, ponder over the following to make an apt decision.
It isn’t just a font. Your typeface should represent your brand’s personality. For instance, if you’re portraying a mood of nostalgia, you might consider picking serif over sans serif. Serif styles go back to ancient civilization carvings and carry some cultural characteristics, whereas sans serif represents a modern, clean look.
The choice of picking between thicker or thinner strokes in each letterform depends on your artwork’s purpose. When applied to smaller fonts, thicker strokes become difficult to read, while thinner fonts can make a solid statement when used for large-scale prints.
Functionality is just as important as aesthetics but is often overlooked. Consider using entire font families. Font families consist of different versions of the same typeface style with varying qualities such as thickness. Because a shared design style defines them, they can be applied where needed while still providing visual harmony. Examples include using different variations of the same font family for headers, sub-headers, and paragraphs. This ensures the text’s illegibility without the concern of distortions across different artworks. Should you decide to use different complementing fonts altogether, learn more about harmonious font pairings here.
Some fonts may be readily available on everyday platforms such as Microsoft Office and email applications. Meanwhile, other novel typefaces may require the user to download it before it can be used. As a brand designer, it’s important to consider the font’s convenience and functionality when creating brand guidelines. After all, the purpose of having a rule book would be moot if nobody can access or use the font you’ve chosen to maintain brand consistency.
Establishing and applying font hierarchy principles is one of the most important aspects of creating effective graphic design works. The purpose of a hierarchy is to create distinctions between the text so that the viewer can notice the copy’s prioritized components first.
Graphic designers use hierarchy to help the audience consume as much important information as possible from a piece before losing his or her attention. This differentiation is made with a play of colors, size, contrast, and alignment. Headings should always be larger in font than subheadings and subsequently the standard text body.
White space, also known as negative space, is just as important as the rest of the content in an artwork piece or user interface. This is any space that is not covered by text or images and can include padding, margins, and line spacing. It’s an important reminder for graphic designers that sometimes, less is more. An attempt to cram in as much information as possible into an artwork results in a cluttered and unappetizing piece. This might result in the audience’s loss of interest or decrease in attention span because of the tediousness of its readability.
Size and Alignment
The size and alignment define typography hierarchy in any design. Ask any seasoned designer, and he or she would say that inconsistent alignment exasperates the perfectionism in them! The purpose of applying alignment is to unify text and ensure clean and uniform space between different design components.
Meanwhile, size in typography can be used to construct a signal. Bigger font sizes, bold, caps, or underlines emphasizes a segment of text. The rule of thumb is to use these sparingly. You don’t want to confuse or overwhelm your audience with too many signals, lest you lose their interest.
K.I.S.S (Keep it Simple Silly)
All’s fun when you’re working on a one-off project. But if you’re planning to build your brand for the long haul, it’s important to remember that every piece of design tells a continuous story. Don’t complicate things by changing typography styles with every new piece you create. Stick to a tone and a core message that you wish to convey. Better yet, hire a graphic designer to craft your brand guidelines!
Ralf Speth said, “If you think that good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” When productivity is in demand, there’s never shame in outsourcing your artwork.
Outsourcing doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. The key is to look for seasoned and attested graphic designers who understand the principles of graphic design basics typography.
Platforms such as Bunny Studio consider your brand’s attributes and translate them into visual intelligence that can help you stand out from your competitors. Besides having a ready-to-use piece delivered, you no longer have to worry about font copyright issues.
Backed with recommendations, the self-serve platform works with global talents to design everything from magazine layouts to infographics, from illustrations to web designs. Each deliverable is vetted to ensure that visual hierarchies are being adhered to. You can also outsource your written content and video ads so you can focus on more important things like strategizing your brand direction.
Don’t take graphic design basics- typography for granted! Type is branding and a huge component of effective visual communication. After all, design is thinking made visual; It’s not just about making something eye-catching. It’s also about understanding the logic and psychology behind how your audience absorbs messages from your artwork. A graphic designer’s work attributes to a waste of resources if it does not deliver the intended key message, mood, or call-to-action. That’s why when all is said and done, don’t be afraid to test your design style on your consumers to see if you’ve hit the nail on that revenue conversion head!