We’re back with the second part of Typography Tips - let’s start where we left off – Spacing…
There’s one type of spacing which is often overlooked: kerning. Kerning is sometimes confused with tracking, but it’s different—it’s the amount of space between a single pair of characters. Kerning is often that last thing you’ll check to make sure your typography looks as polished and professional as possible. Every font is designed with default kerning, but sometimes those settings aren’t ideal for certain letter combinations. Particularly for large, visible typography like headlines, you’ll want to do a visual check to make sure certain pairs of letters don’t look too far apart or too close together, then manually adjust the kerning if need be.
We all love our fonts, but you can have too much of a good thing. Too many different typefaces in one design can look messy and amateurish. As a rule of thumb, use no more than three different fonts in one design, though this “rule” can be broken to good effect in the right context. If you’re looking for a starting point for combining fonts, a basic sans serif font plus a serif font will almost always go together. It can be easy to overuse those weights and styles (like bolding, italics, or capital letters).
Design platforms can help us do some amazing things, but they also make it easy to commit some typographic faults if you’re not careful. When you stretch out typography vertically or horizontally, it distorts its proportions and letter shapes. A better alternative is to scale the type proportionally to preserve its original appearance.
Typography rarely stands alone in a design. It interacts with other design elements, particularly the background. For type that has good visibility, it’s important that the text has sufficient contrast with the rest of the design.
Clashing colours: if you’re applying colour to your typography, make sure it complements other elements in the design. Colours that are too different or even ones that are too similar can be hard on the eyes and bad for visibility.
Patterned or busy backgrounds: a background that has a lot going on can make any text hard to read, and you don’t want to frustrate viewers with a design not being able to find the information they need.
Special effects: transparency effects, warping, and other text treatments can be fun and useful in certain situations, but also easy to misuse. Make sure to always keep your typography’s visibility and readability in mind as you try out different creative approaches.
One of the best ways to improve your typography is pay attention to how other designers use type in their work. This is a skill that takes practice and developing an eye for what works and what doesn’t, so keep a lookout for great typography—you never know where you’ll find it!
So now it’s up to you! It’s our hope that you’ll be able to use these tips and guidelines to boost your typography skills. As always, happy designing from #TeamQBC!