Typography is the art form that focuses on using typeface to communicate a message. It has been around for hundreds of years, and is increasingly being seen as one of the most important aspects of design.
Basics of Typography
Typeface and Font
Many assume that typeface and font are same thing, but this is incorrect. A typeface is a family of fonts, such as Helvetica regular, Helvetica regular etc. Whilst a font is a style or weight within a family of fonts.
The two main and most common typeface classification include:
Serif- Serif is a traditional fonts that are characterized by the decorative flourishes or lines that trail off the the letters shape. Good examples of this type of font is Times (new) Roman.
Sans-serif – Evident in the name, San serif contains non of the features of serif. Sans serif is often describes as being more modern and clean. In some circles, some argue that it’s easier to read, although this is very much debated issue.
Kerning and tracking
Kerning is the spacing between letters. Whilst, tracking is the spacing between groups of letters.
This describes all the possible characters in a fonts, which include the letter, number and special characters.
Factors that makes good typography
The typography of a website is often what gives the site it’s character. A good typography makes the site easier to read and as result more user friendly. The fact that most people go onto a website for it’s content, it’s important designers know how best practice in typography.
The first factor is consistency. A site that has different fonts looks messy and makes it difficult for the site to build a solid identity. In circumstances, using two or three typefaces can work when crafted carefully and used consistently. This can result in a more interesting looking site.
Line spacing is also important. As a general rule, the spacing should be roughly 0.3 – 0.5em larger than the font of the text. Although this may vary depending on the font used. The purpose being precise is to maximize reliability.
The rag of a text should also be considered as this can have a serious effect on readability if it casues the block of text to be jagged or uneven.
Other factors include scaling, measurement, aliment and hierarchy which can help effectively communicate certain information..
Examples of good typography