Typography Basics old

Hey Visitor do you know the difference between Serif and Sans Serif? Do you know how awesome Futura is? And how not awesome Comic Sans is?

Those are some of things you'll learn about on this mission. Lets get started.


How do you create effective designs with text? That is what Typography is all about.

Creating visually interesting typeface combinations is more of an Art than a Science. Like any Art, there are no absolute rules to follow. However, there are some best practices that you should follow when choosing font combinations.

Guest instructor Gareth David discusses the Typography as an Element of Design below.


You will also need to be able to correctly identify a font's style (oldstyle, modern, slab serif, sans serif, script, and decorative) and know when to correctly use each.


Concordance - a harmonious state of things in general and of their properties; congruity of parts with one another and with the whole.

Concordance is the simplest method of Font Pairing. You choose a "super" typeface family, like Helvetica, that has multiple font styles (regular, thin, bold, etc.). These fonts will share a similar x-height, shape, step.

Contrasting - opposition or juxtaposition of different forms, lines, or colors in a work of art to intensify each element’s properties and produce a more dynamic expressiveness.

Contrasting is more of a challenge than Concordance. The goal is to find fonts that are different, yet share enough similarities (x-height, shape, weight, etc.) to work together. Think thick vs thin or serif vs sans serif.

Designers usually do the "O" test when determining what contrasting fonts would work well together. When pairing two fonts together, if one has a tall, oval shaped “O”, but the other font has a round “O”, generally those two fonts don’t seem to pair nicely. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve found it to be a good initial test.

Don't forget readability and legibility. Professional design isn't about what you think "looks cool", but the best design option to deliver the message to the audience.

Now let's see if you were paying attention.


Most people either LOVE typography or they HATE it. If you love it, it elevates your ability as a designer to a whole other level. At the heart of good Typography is understanding kerningtracking, and leading along with contrast.

What is Leading, Kerning and Tracking?

Follow along with the tutorials below to learn how to manipulate type in Adobe Illustrator.:

  1. Point Type vs Area Type
  2. Kerning, Leading and Tracking

Being able to identify and pair fonts is the first step in using Typography as an Element of Design. The second step is knowing how to tweak the default font settings by adjusting kerning, leading, and tracking. Lastly, it is about being creative with your font choices and knowing when, where, and how to use Typography effectively to create visual interest in a design.

Typography can seem boring at first, Visitor. However, it can make or break a design more than any other element of design.

Coming up we are going to apply Typography to design logos, posters, etc.

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