You’ve heard of geography, biology, and zoology, but typography may be something you may not be familiar with. This is a quick crash course on the basics of typography.

Unlike these three scientific fields of study and others like them, typography is an art.

It is the art of designing and arranging letters and words to communicate a message or feeling. This is why understanding typography is so valuable when designing for your brand.

 

The primary focuses of typography are:

 

  • Letter
  • Text
  • Grid

 

Letter

 

Letter is what it sounds like; it’s the design of each character (a symbol with a unique function).

 

A typeface is what most people call fonts, but it is the name of a family of fonts.

 

Fonts are the typeface stylized differently

 

For example:

In this example, Futura is the typeface and Futura Bold is a font.

 

Fonts can also be divided into more categories, the main three are:

 

  • Serif (have little lines at the ends of the strokes; e.g. the font that you are currently reading)
  • Sans Serif (do not have serifs)
  • Script (appears handwritten)

 

There are plenty more subcategories of these fonts, unfortunately, there are too many to talk about in this blog.

 

Text

 

The next step is to bring the letters together to create text.

Spacing is key to creating effective text.

Tracking is the overall space between letter is a piece of text. The Hulu wordmark (a logotype that is usually a text-only) has a very loose tracking. While FedEx has a very tight tracking.

 

Kerning is the space between two individual characters. Let’s go back to the FedEx wordmark. It has a very tight tracking, but the kerning is adjusted between the “E” and the  “x,” to create that arrow shape in between.

Grid

 

Grid is simply the arrangement of content on a page, poster, screen, etc.

 

The layout of whatever medium you are using can say a lot about your brand. From a simple layout where everything is organized and aligned to a more complex, offset layout. 

 

What now?

 

Now that you have all this new knowledge of typography, do what any great designer would do. Experiment!

 

There is an infinite number of possible combinations of letter, text, and grid. Find what works, what you like, or just do something that hasn’t been done before!

 

There are so many more parts of typography to explore.

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Go do something great!

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