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May 5, 2010


The confusions of Typography

I have recently stumbled upon this great book from a recent post by my friend Meagan. It made me start thinking about how typography has become a very confusing subject for designers the last couple of years. So many fonts, so little time. Here is a great book by Studio 3 that breaks down typography letter by letter in a fun way.

Hyperactivitypography from A to Z is an activity book for typographers illustrated in a nostalgic vintage style to give it a sweet and childlike look. The book is packed with activities, ranging from silly to hard-core nerdiness. It’s great to test your skills on and to learn new things while having fun. Who said typography had to be stiff and boring? – I agree!

Would you like to buy this book? You can by simply sending an e-mail to!

I have been lucky enough to find a small goto list for those new designers out there on some basic type rules of thumbs. Pi Design has kindly put together the following list:

  1. Limit your use to two (three at the most) typefaces for a single piece. Just because you have 638 fonts loaded doesn’t mean you have to try to use all of them at once. Having too many typefaces can cause your piece to appear fragmented, weakening your message and confusing your readers.
  2. When choosing a combination of typefaces, don’t pick two typefaces that are too similar. A safe bet is to pair a serif typeface such as Garamond, Caslon, or Times with a sans-serif typeface like Helvetica, Frutiger, or Futura. Choosing two typefaces that are too similar may seem to be a mistake on your part.
  3. Consider how much copy your audience is going to be reading in the typeface you choose. Is this a headline that needs to be read in a second or two, or a long passage of text? Choosing a light or thin typeface for either of these cases is probably not the right choice. Headlines need to be noticed and should be set in a strong and legible typeface. Choosing a light typeface for the body of a long article can strain your reader’s eyes to the point where they simply stop reading.
  4. Think ahead and decide whether you’re going to need to reproduce the typeface at extremely small or large scales. Not all fonts are created equal, which should be clear by their range in price. Cheaper fonts are generally not as well-drawn and detailed as the expensive, and while at normal point sizes this may not be too obvious, at larger scales, the imperfections can be glaring.
  5. Choose a typeface to convey the type of personality you want your piece to have. It may seem like an oversimplification, but if you want it to be taken seriously, choose a typeface that looks serious; if you want your content to appear fun and bubbly, choose a fun, off-beat typeface. Look at it this way, if you were trying to get a job at the bank, would you show up dressed like a clown?
  6. I couldn’t help but throw in a bonus tip: When you feel the urge to select comic sans from your list of fonts, let go of the mouse, step away from the computer, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and think twice about what you’re about to do.

If you are unable to follow rule #6, please stop reading my blog. No really, I mean it.

Read more @ How to safely choose the correct font

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. May 5 2010

    FAB Post! Love the rules!


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