Typography is the art or process of setting and arranging typefaces to stylize the appearance. A font is another word for typeface. Did you know that Helvetica has 111 different styles? There are two basic categories fonts fit into. There are “serif” and “san serif” and the difference is very simple. One has decorative “feet” while the other doesn’t. “Sans” (a French word that means without) helps you remember which is which. San-serif type fonts are without the curls or small appendixes (feet) that we find at the end of each letter. Script fonts are much like penmanship or cursive writing. There are 90,000 typefaces available today, with over 455,000 unique individual font files, and 25,000 font families. That’s a lot of type!!
Fonts are aligned in four different ways. Flush left means the text is aligned along the left margin or gutter, also known as left-aligned or ragged right. Flush right, the text is aligned on the right margin, also known as right-aligned or ragged left. Justified text is aligned along both the left and right side margine and is also known as fully justified. The last type of alignment is centered – where the text is neither left nor right margin but an even gap on each side of the line.
We found a great link with infographics to teach you more about typography: http://tinyurl.com/cvz4rbk.
There are special fonts that are websafe and should be used to enable search-engine friendly browsers. Not all fonts are viewed the same on other people’s computer so it is wise to choose specific fonts for easier readability on the web.
Here is a list of common fonts to all versions of Windows and Mac computers: Arial, Comic Sans, Courier, Georgia, Impact, Lucida/Monaco, Palatino, Geneva, Times New Roman, Trebuchet, Verdana, Symbol, and Webdings/Zapf Dingbats.
More Typography Facts!
- Leading is the space between lines of text and is measured from baseline to baseline. Leading is important when setting paragraphs because it influences the readability of the text.
- Tracking and Kerning refer to the adjustment of space between type. Tracking is the adjustment of a group of letters (or a word). Kerning refers to the space between individual letters.
- Columns are used when shorter lines of text are needed to help break up a large space so they are easier to read. A general rule is to have no more than 50-60 characters on each line. This is a standard number depending on the project.
- Too many type faces is not a good thing. Try to limit each design piece to 2 or 3 type faces and styles. This usually means the header should be one bold, standout font and the body copy should be another. Subheads should be smaller than headline but bolder than the body copy.
- The last piece of advice on Typography – If you can’t design typefaces to be visually pleasing, hire an expert!