Practical Typography: Tips to use Typefaces in your Design

Tips to use Typefaces in your Design

Let me make one point very clear that it is not a new type of typography at all and I am not going to discuss anything out of box. Today I just want to discuss some very useful and necessary rule of thumbs to use typefaces like a pro in a design.

Below are some very common questions which are expected to face by every new designer at the time of designing or at the time of interview in a company for the post of a graphic designer. Rather than making it a plethora of text I am trying to make it an interesting quiz on practical use of typefaces.

Lets begin with our first question:

Question 1: What is Practical Typography and what are the essential thing to remember while creating a design, please explain?

Ans: Practical Typography is a creative process of arranging type to make a or more piece of text legible, readable, and appealing when displayed it on a paper on screen practically. There are some essential things to remember while creating design. Those essential things are mentioned underneath.

  • Selection of Typefaces – face of type matters a lot for legibility
  • Point size – important for better contrast and readability
  • Line length – needs to manage it accordingly
  • Line space (leading) – a key factor for better readability
  • Letter spacing (tracking) – make it feasible or keep it optical
  • Kerning – adjust the space within specific pairs of letters for better clarity

Question 2: Explain the Kerning, Tracking, and Leading in detail with all possible examples?

Ans: Kerning: Kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between two specific characters in a proportional font, usually to achieve a visually pleasing result. Example Is given below.

I want to explain two very common inevitable terms here before going deeper in such details.

Legibility is good when we are able to distinguish one character from the other. Readability is more about a block of text and how we can easily go through it. To improve legibility, you have to focus on kerning.

Example

Tracking: Tracking is often confused with word kerning, but the concept is completely different. Tracking involves adjusting the spacing throughout the entire word or sentence.

Tracking is the uniform space between all the letters in a range of text. It refers to a consistent degree of increase (or sometimes decrease) of space between letters to affect density in a line or block of text.

Normally tracking is adjusted to compensate for spacing problems caused by changes in point size. (Especially in very small and very large type). It is also used to adjust badly spaced passages of text. Example is given below.

You can also improve readability by using tracking in design.

Leading: leading is the distance between the successive baselines. Normally we use leading for double spaces between sentences. Example is given below. Leading is used to put appropriate spacing between sentences to make them legible and readable.

Question 3: How many types of leading and how it affects our design? Pleasing explain with example?

Ans:The easiest way to understand the meaning of leading is to get a piece of paper and draw two lines. On these two lines, write some text. The distance between these two lines is the leading.

There are three types of leading. Types are mentioned underneath.

  1. Negative
  2. Positive or Extra
  3. Optical/ Default

Explanation:

  • Negative: Negative leading refers to less than normal spacing between two lines and is used to get considerable visual impact in headlines, advertisements, posters, etc. negative leading makes the lines overlap. This makes for an unpleasant read and can be very frustrating.

Example

  • Positive or Extra: Positive leading is adding spacing so that the leading is greater than the point size used for type. For example, if your type is sized at 14 points, any space of 15 points or more would be considered positive. Positive leading spaces the lines out. Positive Leading is perfect and suitable for body text. Positive leading of a large body of text will make it easier to read and attractive in appearance.

Example:

  • Optical/Default leading: Optimal/Default leading is a feature found in software that automatically sets and adjusts the leading of your type based on the type size. In print, the optimal point size for body texts 10–12 point. On the web, the optical size is 15–25 pixels.

Example:

Question 4: Can you suggest 5 best tips to select typefaces for magazine on technology and science?

Ans: Every time when we start designing a text heavy or big text layout; we check for some best typefaces' combinations always. Legibility and readability must be main point of considerations while selecting a typeface for a design.

There are five best tips to select typefaces for a magazine for science and technology mentioned below.

1. Combine a Sans Serif with a Serif

This is always a best and very simple workable choice. Use sans serif and display face while in body face always use serif typefaces.

2. Avoid Similar Classifications

Never use same typefaces from a similar category as the below given example displays. Right hand side example still looks good as it has different type of personalities of the typefaces.

3. Contrast in Font Weights

Always use typefaces which are in good contrast and stressed. Contrast can be considered in various ways such as variations between the strokes thickness of typefaces or overall thickness of the the type letters.

4. Contrast Distinct with Neutral

Don't use a typeface which is neutral in contrast as in the next example's heading. This is a cool and stylish typeface yet you should use it with other typeface cautiously.

5. Avoid Combinations That are Too Disparate

All the typefaces aren't designed to be used with other typefaces; this think needs to be very clear to you. Some of the typefaces are best used when they are alone.

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