June 12, 2014 at 6:20 pm

The Importance of Typography in Design 

The Importance of Typography in Design 

When was the last time you purchased something from a company that used “Comic Sans” to brand themselves? Probably not recently. That’s because aesthetics, specifically those of typography, help to send a message. Making your message believable, professional, and legible all boils down to how you use and manipulate fonts to benefit your needs. When thinking about the importance of typography there are four key elements to keep in mind: repetition, contrast, proximity, and alignment.

Here’s an example that is incredibly relatable and in my opinion, needs to happen ASAP:

Typography in Design

I stumbled upon this innovative project in which Tyler Thompson completely revamped the lame boarding pass airlines use today. Maybe it’s just me and Tyler, but I have found myself digging inside my carry-on countless times to check the information on our current and forgettable boarding passes. Maybe this has something to do with the small, faint, typewriter-esque font found on these pesky little slips of paper.

Now let me break down how Tyler followed the four principles to help make a memorable and bold boarding pass:

  1. Repetition- His spacing, font size, and alignment is all consistent, clearly thought out, and organized making all of the separate pieces correlate with one another.
  2. Contrast- If you miss the large black bar that automatically informs you of the most important information a traveller needs, you may need glasses.
  3. Proximity- The information you need the second you get through security is all located on the central black bar just centimeters from each other, if that’s not proximity I don’t know what is.
  4. Alignment- Unlike the very sporadic placement of the traditional boarding pass, Tyler’s is in three distinct sections that groups together the appropriate information.

In addition to these four principles, it’s also important to limit a project to a total of 2-3 fonts that complement each other. The chart below gives great insight on how to pair fonts.

commandments of typography

Given these tips you’ll need an impressive font selection to get the job done. You can download fonts from a variety of places and, if you’re lucky, they’ll be free.  However, paying for the perfect font is definitely worth it. Here are some of my favorite font sites to find free and purchasable fonts.

  1. Dafont.com
  2. Losttype.com
  3. Betype.co
  4. Myfonts.com

Remember that fonts are like fashion; some fonts are in style and some are just simply a “no-no.”  Choose wisely to make it practical and legible for your purposes.

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