Monday, January 28, 2008

Ten Tips on Type

Ten Tips on Type:
1. Limit the number of fonts you put on a page. Four is the maximum you should ever use, but I usually stick to two.
2. Center your text less often. Centering text is often overused and is hard to read, especially when used on a long quote or paragraph.
3. Align your text with something – or “ground” your text. If your text is under a picture, try lining up the text with the left-hand or right-hand edge of the picture.
4. Centering is often used for more formal designs like on wedding announcements, birth announcements or graduations. For this reason, centering can be a great way of laying out a quote to give the words emphasis. Centering can sometimes isolate text. You don’t want your text to look like it’s floating on the page. Trying moving it to different places on your page and grounding it so it works spatially with other elements on your page.
5. Be aware of spacing between your lines and letters. Spacing between the letters is called letterspacing. Sometimes it’s a cool effect to emphasize one word by increasing the space between the letters. Consider doing this with a title.
6. Leading is the space between your lines. Big spaces between lines can make it hard to read. The eyes like a consistent flow from one line to the next. A good rule of thumb is to set your leading 1 to 2 points bigger than your font size. So if I am typing with a 12 pt. font, then my leading would be a 13 or a 14.
7. Choose the right font. Different fonts work for different purposes. A grunge font would not be good for a wedding invitation. A flowery script font may not be the best for a layout about the favorite man in your life. Highly decorative or themed fonts are not generally good for journaling because they are hard to read in large quantities and can be distracting. Some fonts look ok in all caps and some don’t. Script fonts are hard to read in all caps because of the big swirly lines.
8. Choose fonts that compliment each other. The contrast in fonts provide a nice balance in design. Use a serif font with a sans-serif font. Or a script font with a non-script font, or a thick font with a thin font. One should be more pronounced than the other. One makes a statement and the other one backs it up.
9. When adding type to your layout, it’s important to think about the layout as a whole. If you want the focus to be your picture, you’ll want to make sure your fonts, font sizes, font colors, etc. aren’t competing for the attention.
10. Sometimes we want certain phrases or words to stand out. Try italicizing any text you want to stand out. Or try making the text a different color. Another way may be to put the certain text in all caps. Try to avoid underlining or bolding and come up with a unique way to emphasize.

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