Typography is defined as the style, arrangement or appearance of printed letters on a page. In my opinion, typography is not a science, but an art form. In graphic design, typography is so important that it can make or break a campaign design. Each typeface has its own style, character and appearance that are chosen for a specific purpose. There are so many unique elements of typography that I won’t touch on (i.e. serif fonts, sans serif fonts, spacing between letters, spacing between lines, etc.) but will explain my process of designing with typography.
Good typefaces are designed for a purpose, but not even the very best types are suited to every individual situation. Each type is characterized. For example, there are some typefaces that are feminine looking, some have a masculine or even grunge feel, another can look historical (maybe you are designing a WWII poster, for example) and others are neutral. It’s not always that simple when looking at a typeface, but it’s a good start when you are thinking of a design for a client. I take a look at what the client is asking for, what details or images are given to me, and go from there.
My condensed version of choosing a font to use for a design is as follows: First, I look at what I’m designing for–web or print. Secondly, once I set the type, I read it. If you’re setting text, whether it be for a novel or for a single-word headline, read it—really read it. Reading the text will give up vital clues, not only for choosing the right typeface or typefaces, but will also serve as an aid in the overall design of the page. Thirdly, who is your audience and what is your canvas? Who will read your beautifully set text– Scientists, lawyers, engineers, children? Consider, too, the canvas (the page). A cramped page with small margins may benefit from a lighter type, whereas ample margins may well merit a blacker and bolder typeface. If your text’s final destination is paper, then print it and see. Finally, I always need to remind myself that typography really is an art and that many of the decisions I make, including type choice, are subjective. All art, in my opinion, is subjective and it will always come down to the client and making sure they are happy and satisfied with the final product, which always makes my day when a design is a success.
Here are a few of my favorite typefaces to work with: