• Charmaine Crasto

The right type, to type right: Typography


The elements of typography

We live in a world where we stumble upon written words at every nook and corner. You wake up in the morning only to grab your phone and scroll through your texts, the same routine you probably followed when you got into bed. From reading newspapers and books to simply canvasing shop fonts, type is all around us. We find a hundred different ways to recuperate the efficacy of the written word, primarily through the works of theater, but do we ever ponder over the designer’s part in reflecting the rhythm of the sentence or word? Do we even think about the fact that the final words we read or see are a result of a meticulously crafted association between the appearance of the text and what the text says? And do we ever consider how a type choice exposes various moods, auras and emotions? Well, don’t pressure yourself too much for not heeding, because there’s a whole art devoted to bringing something as basic as a text to life, the art of ‘Typography’.

Clear, legible and visually appealing, isn’t that how you like your text? That’s exactly what typography is, the art of arranging letters to provide the best possible outcome, a trick around the lines of permutations and combinations. Typography ropes in the structure, appearance and primarily the font style, intended at invoking specific feelings and emotion while providing a certain character to the conveyed message.

Typography is an extraordinary craft dating back to the 11th century. However, reduced to only books, magazines and public works back in the day, today, typography is mainly linked to the world of digital art and print. Some would even say that web design without typography is like hot chocolate without marshmallows, lavishly incomplete. Lurking around the intensification of visual appearance, typography has etched its place in the world of web design, because in a digital age like today, where every small business has a website, it's the art of the text that actually gives the page its identity, setting it apart from the herd.

As we dwell deeper into the world of typography, we begin to realize that it is far greater than just picking up alluring fonts, but rather a critical component of the user interface design. The job bestowed upon typography is vital in establishing the websites over all timbre, as it is aimed at ensuring a gold standard user experience by improving readability and accessibility along with providing guidance and information. Not only will good typography enhance the website’s personality and build brand recognition but typography is also responsible for holding the reader’s attention as great typography could be the reason for someone staying on your website for hours instead of just minutes.

As interesting and atypical as the art of typography may sound, the true fascination lies in the works behind the scene that build up to its creation. Typography is a consolidation of numerous elements that are responsible for the final form it encompasses. Fonts and typefaces, contrast, consistency, white spaces, alignment, color and hierarchy are just some of the many modules that make up the art of typography.


An example of a difference between a typeface and font

There’s usually some confusion that surrounds the terms font and typeface, leading to them being used interchangeably. However, a typeface is a brood of analogous fonts, while fonts refer to the load, girth, and genre that create a typeface. Serif, sans-serif, and decorative are the three elemental typefaces used in typography, where a good web designer uses not more than three fonts, keeping decorative fonts to a minimum in an attempt to keep the interface uncluttered and streamlined.

Three elemental typefaces of typography

Contrast is an element of typography that allows a designer to lay emphasis on a specific sentence or word. The right contrast can make text striking, deep, and attention-grabbing, which can be achieved by playing around with the typefaces, size, color and size until you reach a convincing result. Contrast is a fundamental element when it comes to the creation of brand logos, posters, menus or even magazine covers. Consistency, alignment and white spaces, hierarchy and color are also elements of typography responsible for a reader's undisturbed attention, with color being the most vital. Value, saturation and hue are the three basic components of color, and striking a balance with these three is the key to making the final text eye-catching and legible.

Typography is art that is often overlooked, but is undoubtedly a crucial component of any text. Just like how durable buildings require a strong foundation, magnificent websites, blogs, logos, magazines, menus etc. require the creative support provided by the art of typography.

Well, let's leave you with a thought to ponder on, did you reach the end of this blog because of the content or the text? Probably a secret we'll never decipher!

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