6 typography elements you need to know (part 1)

In this blog post, we discuss some basic typography elements you need to know to improve the quality of designwhether you’re designing for prints or digital.

Typography is one of the principles of good design; good typography balances out the content and the visual of your design, and helps communicate idea to viewers.  However, the world of typography consists of more than dozens of key words, and they might be very technical (and sometimes sound daunting to beginners) that it takes extra effort to know how they can improve your design. But once you get the hang of, it will always come in handy for everyday use.

01. Hierarchy

In the age of 140 characters and shorter-than-a-goldfish attention span, it’s getting harder to focus on a long text without getting distracted. Copywriters and designers need to figure out how to tinker long sentences and chisel them into a readable content in a limited space; this is where hierarchy comes into play.

Typographic hierarchy enables you to establish an order of importance, helping viewers easily navigate through your content and find things in the right place. In other words, it makes your text more scan-able

Also, it is common to group sentences into three levels of typography to let the viewers find the relevant information quickly.

02. Contrast

Creating contrast by using different font sizes, types, and colors helps establish visual typographic hierarchy and highlight ideas that you find essential. It is not simply achieved by pairing two very contrasting typefaces, but it is best achieved through a simple and well-thought combination. It’s best, for example, to use two fonts in a design since it will make your text look organized. The old mantra “the simpler, the better” also applies when you play with colors and weights to create a contrast.


Tips: You can also combine serif fonts with sans-serif fonts in the header and the main body text to create an effective typographical hierarchy.

03. Spacing and white space

Spacing and white space are fundamental in typography. First off, spacing isn’t only about separating typographic elements. Generally, it is about adjusting the space between the content (e.g. words and paragraphs) and the design elements so that viewers can navigate your design easily.

When you look at a poorly spaced layout, you’ll have a hard time reading at text that is all crammed into a limited space. In case of content-heavy designs like posters, proper typographic spacing is fundamental in establishing hierarchyit helps improve readability for viewers.

Appropriate vertical spacing (also called leading) makes text more legible.

The key to create a balanced design is to have enough space in between. This is where you could use some white space. By using generous spacing between words and paragraph and avoiding cramming typography and other design elements in one space, it will create plenty of white space. It makes the design visually make sense.

White space helps balance out the design. (Image via Nicole LaFave)

We’ll cover up more must-know graphic designers in the upcoming post. In the meantime, you can visit our previous posts that discuss the importance of typography and the basic terminology in design.

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