Let’s Talk Typography, Font and Typeface

January 20th 2024 By Finn Orr 2 minute read

Whilst, here at Pic, we don’t position our in-house design as a standalone service, we do have in-house design (hello, I’m Finn, the design manager).
A lot of what we do for our other services, needs to look good on the page. And this is where I come in, adding the relevant pizzazz to make our content look good.
In this blog, I’ll take a look at the fundamentals of design: typography, font and typeface.
Here we go…
Something I get asked more often than I care to admit is what is typography? “It’s just the same as the font, isn’t it?” or “I think you mean font”. 
No, I don’t. 
Simply put, typography is the arrangement of letters and text in a way that makes the copy legible, clear and visually appealing to the reader.
Font on the other hand is a collection of characters in the same style, weight, and size.
Simple conclusion: type is what you see, and font is what you use.
There’s no point in using a beautiful font if you can’t understand what it’s saying.
So let us go through some dos and don'ts to help you on your typography journey.
typography size chart
letter press letters

Do align your typography and font to your purpose and target audience?

The two should be holding hands to form an excellent piece of visual communication. For instance, you wouldn’t design a chunky slab serif black and white poster for children. As children respond better to a simple and more rounded font, think colourful and less wordy.


Readability is your best friend.

Consider aspects such as font size, kerning (the spaces between characters), leading (the spaces between lines of text), colour and background. All these elements combined will help achieve a balanced and aesthetically pleasing composition.

Do establish hierarchy.

Typography can help establish visual hierarchy and guide users through your content. Use font variations such as size, weight, and style (bold, italic, etc.) to differentiate headings, subheadings, body text, and other elements. This hierarchy aids in organising information and improving content scannability.

Do pick a happy marriage of fonts.

Combine fonts that harmonise and complement each other. Select a primary font for headings and titles that stands out and captures attention, while choosing a secondary font for body text that enhances readability and supports the primary font's style. Aim for contrast and balance in your font combinations.

Avoid overuse of decorative fonts.

Decorative or display fonts can be visually appealing, but they are best used sparingly. Avoid excessive use of ‘fancy’ fonts in body text or paragraphs, as they can hinder readability and create a cluttered appearance. Reserve decorative fonts for headlines, logos, or specific design elements where they can make an impact and don’t hinder your readability.

Don't sacrifice readability for creativity.

At the end of the day, we’re aiming for a stunning piece of visual communication. While creative typography can make a design stand out, avoid sacrificing readability in the pursuit of uniqueness. Fancy scripts, highly stylized fonts, or intricate designs may look impressive, but they can be difficult to read, especially in longer passages of text.

Getting really good at typography is something that takes time and practice.

Some of the world's best designers can admit their typography skills aren’t the strongest. But it pays to know the difference between your fonts and type, and it pays more to be able to do them well.
Oh, and speaking of paying someone to do them well. Want to chat about your marketing needs? Just get in touch!

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