5 typography tips you need to know


Whether you are a graphic designer or a do-it-yourselfer  here are some quick insights about Typography that you may not have already known. For those of you that are visual learners, like myself, I have included fun images so you can "read" my blog post like a picture book if you prefer.


The legibility or readability of your message will make the experience easier and more enjoyable for your reader. The last thing you want is for your message to get lost or left behind due to a lack of readability. Without going too far into typography nerd-ville, maybe I will do that in a future post, the easiest way to make sure your message is readable is

• Use a regular font weight. (not super thin or super bold)

• Be aware of contrast. A good rule of thumb is to have a least have a 70% contrast between the type and the background. For example, a dark orange font on a red background probably wouldn't be the easiest to read.

• For body/paragraph copy try and stick with serifs. These are the easiest to read. Sans Serifs work as well but definitely try to avoid using script, display or slab fonts for body copy.

• Consider scale. Try to avoid using super condensed or wide fonts your body copy.

• Try not to yell at your reader. Though using all caps is an effective way to make your type stand out, it's not usually appropriate for the main copy of your content.



The huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Did you struggle reading that? Cool right?



2. Hierarchy

Whether you are creating a logo, formatting text on your blog or arranging type on a poster there should always be some sort of visual hierarchy within your design.



In other words, we all have the attention span of a rock. In a world where time is money we need to keep things as minimal as possible so readers can digest the content easily. If I am doing my job correctly you will be able to easily scan through this blog post and know exactly what you are getting yourself into even before reading through all the finer points. This is similar to the way in which someone begins a speech. You grab their attention by quickly laying out and giving an overview of the points you are about to make.

To incorporate visual hierarchy with typography specifically you do this by using different sizes, weights, styles and contrast. Try to limit yourself to two font, three at the most, for each of your designs. It's sort of a golden rule within the design community. But hey, rules are made to be broken sometimes right. But seriously, if you want your work to read-easy and look professional stick to two to three fonts.

BONUS TIP you can also use color, texture, imagery  and patterns to create a visual hierarchy.


3. Kerning

Kerning, not to be confused with tracking, refers to the space between two individual letters or characters. Improper kerning can create a disconnect or visual tension that can disrupt the flow of reading. Kerning is somewhat subjective but there are some strict kerning rules for the typography snobs out there. For the everyday user you can just eyeball it.



Tracking, not to be confused with kerning, adjusts the spacing between multiple letters, from a single word to an entire paragraph. This too can hinder or help readability. When your tracking is too tight the identifying aspects of the character can get lost and when your tracking is too loose the shape of the word is difficult to recognize. You may also see tracking being referred to as letter spacing in some programs.



Leading refers to the exact space between multiple lines of type within a paragraph. This is measured from baseline to baseline. You may also see leading being referred to as line spacing in some programs.



Applying all of these tips I have mentioned will surely improve your designs but if you would like to know my recommendations for font pairings, sign up for my email list. You will gain access to kick-ass freebies including two font-pairing guides.

There you have it. If you found these tips helpful please let me know in the comments below.  I'd love to hear from you!

Alex Cottles

The Routine Creative, Richmond, Virginia, 23220