Applying Typography Styles to Design

Typography in a design sense simply means the type, as in the ‘font’ used in a design or document. Despite being a crucial aspect of many pieces of work and an integral component of written work, the impact of typography on design is often overlooked. However, a document’s typography can radically strengthen or weaken the overall composition. Similar to how colours should be chosen carefully for a design, typography should also play a major role during the design development process.

Basic Typography Styles
Serif typography has tail strokes on the letters and is the best choice for long stretches of printed text. They give the impression of refined elegance and traditionalism. An example of the serif computer font is “Times New Roman”.

Sans-serif typography lacks tail strokes on letters and is best used for electronic text or to emphasise certain stretches of short printed text, such as titles. They give the impression of modernism and stability. An example of a sans-serif computer font is “Arial”.

Ultra-calligraphic typography normally attempts to capture the artistic qualities of handwritten calligraphy and often has many decorative or exaggerated serifs as a result. They give the impression of elegance and grandeur. Since they are difficult on the eye, they should be restricted to use primarily for artistic reasons on short stretches of text. An example of an ultra-calligraphy computer font is “Lucida Calligraphy”.

Script typography may or may not be ultra-calligraphic but attempts to capture the essence of actual human print. There are many styles of script fonts, so the impression they give can range from fun and casual to refined and conservative. Since they are quirky and add a human quality to the text, they are popular for artistic reasons or when integrating text into a photographic design.

Summary Overview

The typography style used in a design or work is not only important for practical reasons such as readability, but can also be used to reinforce the message of a text or evoke certain symbolic meaning. For instance, a technology company that uses a sans-serif font within its logo would help reinforce the idea that it is a modern, stable company.

The best way to become better at using typography to add to a design is to notice how it is already being used in the surroundings. Review works that may not only be pleasing to the eye but also functional in some way. Pay attention to the way typography is used in certain contexts, and take note of any disconnects between the message of a text and its appearance.

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