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The Art and Science Behind the Font: Creating Effective Typography

October 14, 2015 / Inspiration

Creating Effective Typography

The art and science of typefaces is called typography, and its roots date back to the 15th century, when a system of movable type was first invented. This revolutionary concept quickly spread throughout the world and gave way to the mass printing of materials. Even though typography has a rich history and plays a huge role in design, many still think that there isn’t much to fonts. However, utilizing the correct typeface is one of the most important aspects to graphic, print, and web design.

There are hundreds of typefaces out there, and in order to have an efficient design, being knowledgeable and savvy with typography is a must. In order to be a successful designer, or to be effective at marketing your brand, one must realize that typography is more than just a choice of fonts, it’s a science. Typefaces can make or break your campaign or design piece, as it plays a vital role in how effective your text is at being persuasive with your message or objective. Remember, choosing the right typography can help deliver your message successfully by bridging the gaps within your design.  By not paying attention to your typeface, you risk losing your audiences interest and engagement, and will diminish the overall effectiveness of your message.

If you want to keep a hold of your audience’s attention and communicate more efficiently, check out these tips to learn the science behind typography that will help you bridge the gaps between your font, your overall design, and your message:

Realize that your typeface acts as a visual summary

By using the correct typeface, you can effectively express the mood and the meaning behind the text. This can be done with a sentence, or even with a simple branding statement or name. If you need an example, think of companies such as Disney, Cadillac, Hulu, IBM, LinkedIn, and Skype. Cadillac uses a script font, which properly reflects their brand, elegant and sophisticated. While Hulu uses a bold, progressive typeface, and LinkedIn utilizes a sans serif font, which is a clean and business-like font. See the connection? However, it is important to realize that this can quickly go the other direction as well by using a typeface that will turn away your audience, so finding the perfect balance is key.

There is a sense of personality in a typeface

It is vital to choose the correct typeface that keeps the overall message and your desired target audience in mind. Realize that all typefaces have personality, so you may not want to pick a whimsical and fun font if you are promoting your real estate business-unless of course, fun is your punchline. Each font conveys different emotions in people, and by using the correct font, you can get the emotions you want people to feel. Feeling lost? Don’t fret, check out our mini-breakdown behind each of the typeface choices:

Serif fonts typically conveys feelings of:

  • Comfort (Georgia)
  • Reliable (Baskerville)
  • Tradition (Times New Roman)
  • Respect (Trajan)

Sans serif fonts typically conveys feelings of:

  • Modern (Myriad)
  • Objective (Franklin Gothic)
  • Stability (Helvetica)
  • Clean (Calbri)

Modern fonts typically conveys feelings of:

  • Chic (Century Gothic)
  • Progressive (ITC Avant Garde)
  • Style (Didot)
  • Strength (Futura)

Display fonts typically conveys feelings of:

  • Amusement (Giddyup)
  • Friendly (Cooper)
  • Expressive (Valencia)
  • Unique (Spaceage)

Script fonts typically conveys feelings of:

  • Creativity (Lavanderia)
  • Elegance (Bickham Script)
  • Affectionate (Edwardian Script)

Remember in good design readability is key

With the four main categories of fonts just mentioned, it is also important to realize that readability can be vital in your objective, so you may not want to do something like use a script font within your body copy. As a general rule, serif fonts are best suited for print, sans serif is best suited for digital work (web), script fonts are best on formal invitations and is not ideal for body copy or the web, while decorative fonts are great to use in an eye-catching headline, but is not ideal for body copy or on the web. All in all, you want to ensure that your words are easily decipherable, so your readers can easily read what you are trying to say.

All in all, it is important to remember that it’s not just the font…

As an end note, it is important to remember that in good design, it’s not just the font that matters. Yes, picking the right typeface is very important (as we just went over), but realize picking the correct font goes hand in hand with your overall layout! Technically, typography includes the design, color, layout, your typeface choice, as well as the kerning, tracking, and leading used. Collectively, this all has an effect on your overall message, can help determine how the viewer will interpret your design, and can help keep a firm hold of your audience’s attention.