People often think of imagery as the main communicator in design. But, in many cases, typography can communicate a message even better than photos or illustration. Because typography is graphical, typeface is always a direct form of visual communication (even if it wasn’t designed to be). The impact of typeface can't be diminished or overstated. So, here are our top typeface strategies.
Choosing a typeface is one of the most important decisions in setting an appropriate tone to communicate your message. Check out the page from the Gutenberg Bible below. Looks pretty important, right? Today this would be considered a barrier to communication to lay out a whole book in such a fancy font, but it certainly sends a powerful message.
Fonts like Roman, Blackletter, Monospaced, and Symbol (serif, sans-serif, script and ornamental), will give a fairly distinct feel to a piece. However, as always, it depends on how you use them.
Size communicates on its own, but speaks the loudest when used with contrast. These two examples use type size, in contrast with the size of the square itself, in order to draw the eye:
Spacing is adjusting the space between individual letters or between the lines of type. It is often used in detail-oriented projects such as logo design. The spacing between letters and between lines of copy is adjusted for several reasons, but in our case, we’re going to concentrate on the feel that can be communicated with spacing in general. Take a look at the next two examples.
Feel the difference?
Hopefully, I’ve shown that even small decisions about type can make an impact, and the imagery that type creates can create a message and feeling of its own. Type doesn’t even have to be readable to communicate!
The decisions we make about type design always depend on a project’s goals. As always, if you need help using the power of type in your favor, I’m here to help.