What is meant by typography?
And what does this mean for your project?
Typography, as the Collins Dictionary states is the ‘way in which written material is arranged and prepared for printing’. It is the way in which your written idea is given a visual form.
The art of typography therefore covers elements such as the typeface and fonts chosen, hierarchy (what your reader should spot and read first) and white space. Getting all of these elements right is a skill which can make all the difference between your report, for example, being well received or being set aside in frustration.
What’s the difference between a font and a typeface?
Let’s now dig a bit deeper into one of the more well known elements of typography – fonts and typefaces. The two words are often used as if there is no difference between the two, whereas in reality there very much is. This is then where you can really impress your graphic designer.
Most people use ‘typeface’ and ‘font’ interchangeably, and, in most instances that’s absolutely fine, your graphic designer should be able to interpret your meaning.
However, in some cases, when you’re really getting into the detail of a campaign and what’s working or not working, it’s helpful to appreciate the difference. It can be hard sometimes to articulate why we like or dislike something when it comes to design. Having an understanding of type can help you to better understand why something might be resonating with you or jarring, and therefore what changes you would like to see made.
First off we have another term, the type family. This refers to the collection of typefaces and fonts that together make up a type family. For example, Arial is a type family. An Arial typeface might be Arial Bold or Arial Italic. We then have, making up the typeface, the fonts, this is where things get even more specific. An Arial font for instance might be Arial Italic, 20PT. Together, all the Arial Italic fonts would make up the Arial Italic typeface, with all the possible typefaces making up the whole type family.
The impact of your type family
Type families are created with very different purposes in mind and to generate very different emotional reactions. When it comes to your brand or your project then you need to be clear as to what emotional reaction you want to achieve in your audience.
If you are an organisation whose principal output is research for instance you might not want to generate a specific emotion in your audience but you will want to come across as authoritative with a type family / families which are legible and readable. If however, you’re creating a campaign designed to stop your audience, draw them in and make them think you might be prepared to sacrifice readability to an extent.
The possibilities when it comes to type families, typefaces and fonts are virtually infinite, to get the best results be clear with your designer on your goals and audience and you’ll be able to dramatically enhance the impact of your brand.