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TYPOGRAPHY

Typography is the theory and practice of letter and typeface design. It is concerned with design elements that can be applied to the letters and text on a page.

Fonts

Typography is mainly concerned with the style and size of typefaces. All sets of type including letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and other special symbols of the same style and size is called a font.

Fonts are usually differentiated in two ways:

(1) serif vs. sans-serif and

(2) variable width vs. fixed width.

Serifs are the distinctive finishing stokes (both horizontal and vertical) that can be applied to letters to produce a chiselled look. Variable width fonts use proportional spacing between letters, bunching them together in certain cases (note, for example, the compressed “tt” in the word “letter“) while widening them out in others. In contrast, fixed width fonts use the same spacing between letters regardless of their size or shape.

  • The following letters are in a serif font: A E F G H L M N Z.

  • These letters are in a sans-serif font: A E F G H L M N Z.

  • Times New Roman is a serif font.

  • Arial is a sans-serif font.

Serif fonts are generally easier to read than non-serif fonts, because they set out each alphabet against the background. (Research indicates that most readers can read a message in a serif font more quickly–and with greater comprehension and retention–than they can read the same message in a non-serif format. Though this rule may not apply when it comes to using fonts on  websites!)
Variable-width fonts bind letter groups better (and thus make the resulting text seem slightly more cohesive), most readers prefer them to fixed-width fonts.

Points

The size of a typeface is measured in points: One point = 1/72 of an inch. Hence, 72- point type is one inch in height–as measured from the top of the ascender (e.g., the rising stroke in ‘l’) to the bottom of the descender (e.g., the plunging stroke in ‘p’).

This is 18-point Times New Roman.

This is 14-point Arial.

This is 10-point Courier New.

This is 8-point News Gothic MT.

Readers prefer to read documents in 12-point type. As a rule, anything larger than 14 points seems loud and aggressive (like reading page after page of headlines). On the other hand, anything smaller than 10 points looks tiny and forbidding–like fine print on any document.

Style Attributes

Style attribute (e.g., bold, italic, underlining, etc.) can add significance to a particular alphabet/word, depending on the requirement.

Note: Using too many attributes too many times on a single page distracts a reader. Similar is the case with too many colour highlights.

This is italic type.
This is bold Roman.
This is bold italic.
This is underlined.

This is bold underlined.
Brightly coloured text can have a particularly strong impact.

Points and Picas

The basic units of measurement in design are points and picas. Points are used to measure type size. Headlines are measured in points. A column inch is one inch of type over one column.

There are 12 points in a pica. If you divide the point size of a headline by 12, you get the number of picas. For example, if you have a 96-point headline and want to know how many picas to allow for it, take the following steps:

* Because there are 12 points in a pica, divide 96 by 12 to get the number of picas.

* 48 / 12 = 8 picas.

* Dummy 8 picas for a one-line, 96-point.

Sometimes, you have more than one line of a headline. To determine how many picas to allow on your dummy, multiply the size of the headline by the number of lines. If you had a two-line, 48-point headline, you would do the following:

* Multiply 48 by 2 because you have two lines.

* 48 x 2 = 96 points.

* Divide 96, the total points, by 12, the number of points per pica.

* 96 / 12 = 8 picas.

* Dummy 8 picas for a two-line, 48-point headline.

Leading

The space between lines of text is called leading. The general rule for determining leading is to add 20 percent to the type size-for example, if you have 10 point text, you should have 12 point leading. It is not unusual to add more leading, but you never want to use less because it can make type much more difficult to read.  For example, the two lines before this are set in more leading.

Kerning

Involves moving letters closer together or farther apart so that they appear evenly spaced, which in turn makes them easier to read. Most fonts include kerning pairs (To, Tr, We, and so on) that adjust their spacing automatically when typed consecutively.

Choosing & Using Type

There are no good and bad fonts. There are only appropriate and inappropriate fonts. If you determine the requirement, choosing a font won’t be a problem at all!

Type is important because it is an unconscious persuader. It attracts attention, sets the style and tone of a document, colours how readers interpret the words, and defines the feeling of the page–usually without the reader recognising a particular typeface.

  • Your typeface can range from casual to formal, silly to serious, staid to stylish, old fashioned to modern.

  • Just like you would dress in formals when you attend an interview, formal documents have to have that formal look and therefore, choose consistency in using fonts that look formal.

  • You are unconsciously affected by a particular font. You can use this power to your advantage to attract attention, strengthen your message, and improve your image, or you can overlook it and work against yourself saying one message with your text while conveying another with your font.

  •  

  • The right typeface can encourage people to read your message. The wrong typeface or bad typography can make your message go unread. Needless to say, you communicate well by using the right kind of font.

Remember…

One:
Type is on the page to serve the text. It should make the words easy to read and provide a suitable background. Type should not overpower the text.

Two:
There are no good and bad typefaces, there are appropriate and inappropriate typefaces. Think about your reader and the feeling you want to convey, then choose a typeface that fits.

Typography is just common sense (this is not just some random number grabbed out of the air; it’s a random number plucked from my brain). Sure, there are a few things you learned in school that you need to unlearn, but overall, the basics of good type are just that, basic.

Here are some principles that would help one choose fonts and their sizes:

  1. Keep body text between 10 and 12 point. Use the same typeface, typesize, and leading for all your body copy.

  2. Use enough leading (or line spacing). Always add at least 1 or 2 points to the type size.

  3. On a newspaper column each line could have between 30-70 characters. Do not make your lines too short or too long.

  4. Make paragraph beginnings clear. Use either an indent or block style for paragraphs. Do not use both at the same time.

  5. Use only one space after a period, not two.

  6. Do not underline anything, especially not headlines or subheads since lines separate them from the text with which they belong.

  7. Use italics instead of underlines.

  8. Do not set long blocks of text in italics, bold, or all caps because they are harder to read.

  9. Leave more space above headlines and subheads than below them, and avoid setting them in all caps. Use subheads liberally to help readers find what they are looking for.

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August 6, 2006 - Posted by | TIPS, TRICKS & TOOLS

1 Comment »

  1. Thank u….. it was a great help

    Comment by amrita sinha | October 12, 2016 | Reply


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