Part III: Typography

• The Hierarchy of Typography

• Anatomy of Type

• A Brief History of Type
• Choosing Appropriate type
• Tools for emphasis and legibility

• TRY IT: 10 minute Headline
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Text Formatting choices

These variables are the key to differentiating the levels of typographic hierarchy. They work pretty much the same for print or web design. Just remember to use consistent formatting at each level, e.g., all subheads should look the same, all body copy the same, etc.

Size: The larger the type the more it jumps out (but if body text is too large it looks like it's intended for the blind).

Weight: Use light against bold for emphasis.

Alignment: Flush left, rag right. Remember that in the West, we read from left to right, so our eyes prefer a hard edge along the left side. Most body copy these days is set flush left.

Alignment: Centered. Don't center body copy or much text at all. Great for big, bold headlines.

Alignment: Flush right, ragged left. Use only in rare circumstances. Reader's eyes have a hard time finding the next line.

Alignment: Justified, or force justified. Pushes type to both edges of margin. Makes nice, straight columns, but there's a trade off: uneven letterspacing that can create rivers of white space, epecially if the column width is narrow.

Case: ALL CAPS IS HARD TO READ IN LARGE DOSES but grabs attention with its authority. Lower case connotes friendly, low stress, easy text.

Leading: The space between lines. Open it up to invite busy readers into your text. With too much leading, our eyes have to leap from line to line.

Space: Use air around words for emphasis, to set them of, especially if they're bold. Keep spacing consistent, such as the amount of added "air" between chunks of text.

Text width: Legibility studies show that the ideal column width is about 36 characters, or 1-1/2 times the alphabet. Small amounts of text can be placed in narrower columns.

Indents: use indents to set off a subhead/category by leaving extra space to the left and/or right margin of the text below.


Ad (before makeover)


After Robin Williams applied her principles of good typography. (11)
Try to identify the changes to the various levels of type and how the changes affected contrast and form.

next: 10 minute Headline