One day, I was working on a project for a client who had provided me with a font they wanted me to use. I quickly realized that the font was too small, and the lines were too long, making it a nightmare to read. Despite my attempts to explain this to my client, they were convinced that the font was perfect and refused to change it.
That experience taught me a valuable lesson: typography is not just about choosing pretty fonts or making your design aesthetically pleasing. It’s about making your design easy and comfortable to read for your audience. That’s why I’m excited to share with you these 9 tips I’ve learned over the years as a designer to help you improve your typography skills and take your designs to the next level.
1. Use not that many fonts (limit your fonts)
I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen designs with too many fonts. It can be tempting to use all the cool fonts you have at your disposal but trust me, it will only make your design look chaotic and inconsistent. Stick to two or fewer fonts, and ensure they complement each other.
2. Limit Line Length
Have you ever read a paragraph that seems to go on forever? It’s not a pleasant experience. Keep your paragraph length between 40 and 60 characters per line to ensure your readers aren’t overwhelmed. It may take a little extra effort, but adjusting your line width for each font size will ultimately pay off.
3. Use the right Line height
Line height may not be something you’ve thought about before, but it’s essential for creating a comfortable reading experience. For example, if your font size is 14px, your line height should be 23px. Try the golden ratio if you’re unsure how to use line-height.
4. Use a baseline grid
Creating consistent vertical spacing with typography and page elements can be challenging, but a baseline grid can make it much easier. It’s an invisible way of giving order to disorder and can help create a more cohesive design.
5. Letterspacing and caps
Using different font styles and letter spacing can be fun to add some personality to your design, but be careful not to overdo it. Keep it subtle, and remember the KISS method: Keep it simple, stupid.
6. Color contrast
It’s essential to ensure your text is readable, even when using a background colour. Make sure your colours contrast to make your text stand out.
7. Use the suitable font-size styles (Setup a hierarchy size)
Creating a hierarchy of font sizes can help guide your readers through your design. Paragraph text should be at least 12px, but 14-18px is the best choice for readability and comfort.
8. Use font(s) what are working together
Fonts that complement each other can make your design more cohesive and attention-grabbing. Take the time to choose fonts that work well together.
9. Justify left, and the Gap
While the centred text may look nice, it’s not the most natural way to read. Justify your text to the left and create some space between your lines to make it easier on the eyes.
Typography has always been one of my favorite aspects of design. It’s amazing how something as seemingly small as font choice or line spacing can make such a big impact on the overall look and feel of a design. In particular, using a baseline grid has been a game-changer for me. It’s a simple technique that can make a big difference in creating consistent vertical spacing and order in my designs.
While these tips can be incredibly helpful in improving your typography, it’s important to remember that there are always exceptions to the rule. Sometimes breaking the “rules” can lead to unique and creative design solutions. It’s all about finding the right balance between following established best practices and taking creative risks.
I hope these tips have been useful to you and that you’ll incorporate them into your future designs. Remember to always keep learning and experimenting, and you’ll continue to grow as a designer.