The 10 Commandments of Typography

On: April 24, 2014
In: Design
Views: 1468
10 Commandments

As designers, one of the main parts of our job is to pick out the perfect typefaces that will set the mood for our piece, get our message across effectively, appeal to the correct audience, among other thing. Often when I sit down to design something, I either don’t have a typeface in mind at all, or the one I have in mind ends up turning out nothing like what was in my head. This leads to the wasted minutes (sometimes hours) perusing through tons of typefaces trying to find the perfect one (or two). Here are 10 basic “commandments” that will help you narrow down your typeface exploration time!

1. Know your font families: Geometric Sans, Humanist Sans, Old Style, Transitional, Modern and Slab Serif. All these years as a designer and I had NO idea there were this many families!

2. Combine a Sans-Serif font with a Serif font. I do this often… if you find the right ones, they will compliment each other well!

3. The opposite of #2… combine a Serif font with a Sans-Serif font.

4. Don’t combine two fonts that are too similar. You need balance in your designs and choosing two fonts that are too similar won’t create enough contrast in your designs, throwing off your balance.

5. Opposites attract. Choose two fonts that contrast nicely.

6. Two is plenty! Most often, use only one or two fonts in your designs. Using more than that can make your design too hectic. (Though I will admit there is always exceptions!)

7. Don’t ruin the mood. If you combine two different font moods, it will throw off the entire mood of your piece.

8. Compliment. Though you want to avoid using similar fonts (see #4), it’s important to choose fonts with complimentary moods from similar times.

9. Contrast is important! Using contrasting bold and thin fonts often create a unique look.

10. Please avoid the following fonts at all costs: Comic Sans, Papyrus, Curlz, Viner, Kristen and Symbols.

Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

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