Kristin Pruis • December 18, 2014
A critical mistake small business owners make frequently is to overlook the importance of typography to their business. The art of typography is more than just knowing which font to use. It encompasses everything from information hierarchy to kerning.
Neglecting to pay attention to typography within your business’ communication, in my opinion, is one of the top design offenses that can make your business and brand appear unprofessional and sloppy. Here are some great tips to help your business to keep it’s cool.
Pro Typography Tips
There are a few things to consider when putting together any communication that has typography as a focal point or uses a lot of copy.
- Less is always more. Focus your message. Readers are more likely to read a headline and brief description than a huge paragraph. Don’t try to say everything in one pass. Break up the engagement or link to a page with more information
- Color can be powerfully communicative, but if it’s over used or abused it can hinder readers from engaging or reading further. Focus on creating emphasis with color and avoid creating a rainbow or pairing colors that clash.
- Use varied font sizes and weights to create hierarchy and interest. Decide which elements are the most important on the page and give them appropriate treatments. Don’t go overboard! The final arrangement should look cohesive
- Make use of free font services to broaden your font choices. Beware that all free fonts are not created equal. Try Google Font Library, Lost Type or Font Squirrel for the best quality choices.
- Consistency is key. Once you have decided on an appropriate set of fonts to use for your communications, stick with them.
Different Styles of Fonts and Typography
Also, don’t forget to brush-up on your typography terms and definitions:
Serif Fonts – A serif font has small strokes or “feet” on the ends of its letters as seen on fonts such as Times New Roman and Georgia. Serif fonts can also be called Roman fonts and are typically used in more traditional and formal situations such as in legal documents and wedding invitations.
Favorite Serif Fonts: Merriweather, Bembo, Adobe Garamond, Lora
Sans-Serif Fonts – Sans serif fonts do not have small strokes on the end of the letterforms like in fonts such as Arial and Myriad Pro. Sans-serif fonts can also be called Grotesque or Gothic. They can be used in a variety of ways and are often used in web design apps and user interfaces for software.
Favorite Sans-Serif Fonts: Gotham, Bebas Neue, Din
Display Fonts – Display fonts are specialty fonts that are used sparingly as headlines, logo marks or to create emphasis and texture. Display fonts have unique forms that make them great to use for titles but poor choices for body copy. They often also called decorative fonts and can range from scripts to abstract shapes.
Favorite Display Fonts: Homestead, Lavanderia, Deming
Typography Terms You Should Know
The amount of horizontal space in between any two letters in a given word. Certain typefaces, and fonts used at a large size, require special attention to kerning in order to make sure that all the letters appear evenly spaced from each other. Bad kerning can make a word look misspelled or cause embarrassing errors.
Tracking refers to the amount of negative or positive horizontal space between a series of letters or words. The default value for tracking is 0, but you can adjust it to be negative to appear condensed or positive to appear loose. A value between -10 and 10 is usually the sweet spot for most lines of text unless you are doing a special treatment.
Leading refers to the amount of horizontal space between two or more stacked lines of text. Increasing leading between lines of text in paragraphs will make it easier to read. Multi-line titles, however, often require less leading between their lines to make a bigger impact.
Need more help with communicating to your audience with professional looking typography? Contact K Design Co. for help.