Typography is a core feature of all information design, from small space ads to annual reports, even of internal memos and emails. Good typography raises the level of presentation, makes information more readable, ideas easier to follow and gives layouts flow and a sense of space. Good typography makes your messages clear and tells the reader something about the professionalism of you and your company, the kind of products you sell, and can guide them to take the action you want them to take. Bad or careless typography can make your company seem small or unprofessional, can make your product feel cheap, or can make your ideas hard to follow. You can spend all the time in the world crafting your message, and if you present it in a way that is hard to follow or badly organized, your audience will miss out on what you’re trying to tell them.
Most people don’t see the details of typography until the details are absent. They may not notice that a particular typeface has extremely thin strokes until they see it printed quite small and realize it looks broken. They may not recognize the importance of type hierarchy until they can’t tell which paragraphs in a long document relate to each other.
How can you tell the difference between good typography and bad typography? The basics are pretty easy and you likely do it unconsciously already. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “this page looks too busy, there’s too much copy”, that was likely your brain telling you that the copy didn’t have the proper leading (space between lines) or wasn’t organized with a consistent type hierarchy. If you’ve felt that a company was too small or unprofessional to give your credit card to based solely on how an ad looked, it may have had a lot to do with their using six different type styles and that everything on the page was bolded.
So, how can you use typography to make sure your documents say what you intend them to? Following a few basic rules is a good start:
- Use a maximum of two typefaces. Use different weights (thin, bold, black) of the same typeface if you need to break up information. Be consistent. If one subhead is bold, all subheads of that same level should be bold.
- All fonts have a personality, use one that is appropriate for your content and brand. You wouldn’t use the same type style on a six year old’s birthday invitation as you would on your wedding invitation or a business event invitation.
- If you’re using multiple typefaces (remember, only 2), don’t use two that are very similar. For example, consider using a serif for the headline and a sans serif for body copy.
- Don’t use Comic Sans for anything other than a six year old’s birthday invitation. For a good explanation of why, click here.
These typography basics should keep you from being the target of your company typography snob. For more typography rules see Designmantic’s infographic on the 10 Commandments of Typography below.
Courtesy of: Designmantic.com