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The beautiful art of typography

Typography is a great discipline to learn and understand in the field of graphic design and one of the clearest indications to me as a Creative Director, if a designer understands the rules of design or whether they are just using a computer to lay it out.

When clients can not afford imagery great typography can infuse the emotions required to bring a piece of work to life.

Now this might sound obvious, but having worked with many teams consisting of a designer and copywriter, how often the copy is not read by the designer and the language understood. This is a huge mistake. As a designer it is critical we understand the language of the copy so we can bring it to life visually when typesetting.

Now typesetting is the actual process of laying out the text, starting with a grid, a foundation that fits within the requirements of the media to be used, for example website or brochure. One area of printed typography I can never understand is why designers use columns within the grid that are too narrow and produce endless hyphenations. This is a classic mistake of inexperienced designers who are lazy and allow the computer to lay out their text. This makes the text difficult to read and can ultimately make the reader not be bothered to continue. I appreciate this is the small detail but this is the difference between standard design and good design and something I always look for in CV’s and portfolios when people apply for positions with us.

Now within the typesetting you need to look at the font choice, sometimes brand fonts will already be stated so the actual layout will be important to attract your attention. Other times you have a free reign on choice and this is probably the main factor to embed a personality into the piece.

Then you need to look at hierarchy, the levels of importance of certain parts of the text and how the rhythm will draw your eye in and lead you through the story.

Colour is actually one of the last things you need to apply as this can distract. I usually design in mono first, especially when it comes to logo’s as the above require craftsmanship whilst colour is styling and that should always be last.

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