PoissyPoissy
typography lesson

by Andre Somov

Typography can be fun with a few basic rules.

The word typography originates from the Greek words τύπος + γραφή (typos = form) and (graphe = writing); it is described as “the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible.”

graphic design vancouver

Since the days of “desktop publishing revolution” in the late 1980s a lot has changed in digital typography. We all use fonts in our daily lives, often without thinking about it. Font is these days used synonymously with the term “typeface”. But before the arrival of digital typography and desktop publishing, “font” meant a single size and “typeface.”

Beginning in the 1980s, with the introduction of computer fonts, a broader definition for the term font evolved. Different sizes of a single style are now generated from a single computer font, because vector fonts can be scaled without loosing resolution.

Good typography

Visual contrast between one font and another makes good or bad typography. Then comes the contrast between text blocks and the empty (white) space around. If you make everything bold, then nothing stands out. Also you end up looking as if you are SCREAMING at your readers. If you stuff the page with closely packed text, readers see a wall of gray; their brains will automatically reject the lack of good visual contrast. Also making things equally bigger doesn’t help at all. Even boldface fonts become boring quickly; when everything is bold, nothing stands out.

Type and legibility

We read mainly by distinguishing the overall shape of words, not by reading each letter, and then assembling a recognizable word:

graphic design vancouver

 

Avoid all-uppercase headlines they are much harder to read, because words formed with capital letters are monotonous rectangles that offer few distinctive shapes to catch the reader’s eye:

graphic design vancouver

 

Legibility depends on the tops of words

Your choice of uppercase or lowercase letters can have a dramatic effect on legibility. Generally, capitalize only the first word, and any proper nouns for your headlines and/or subheads. Down style headlines are more legible, because we mainly scan the tops of words as we read:

graphic design vancouver

 

Notice how much more difficult it is to read the bottom half of the same sentence:

graphic design vancouver

 

What is more legible

On the other hand, you use initial capital letters in your headlines you disturb the reader’s skimming of the word forms:

graphic design vancouver

 

Andre Somov
Andre
About Andre
Andre Somov is a 25-year old veteran in the graphic design field. He is the owner of Poissy Design and an Internet Marketing expert. Connect with Andre on LinkedIn.

No Comments

Leave a Comment

typography lesson
Typography: Lesson 1