10 Typography Design Tips for 2021
Typography makes a big impact on the quality of a brand design. Avoid beginner mistakes and create typography that sets your brand apart.
Have you given much thought to the fonts you are using on your website, blog, or other brand assets?
If not, you are overlooking a critical piece of the design puzzle. Typography is an integral part of your brand’s identity. Once you understand how to use it, you will never see fonts the same way again.
Font styles can make the reading experience more enjoyable or distract the reader. A captivating font will make people stop and take notice. But a poor choice will have them looking in another direction.
The primary goal for written text is to communicate with the target audience. Having some guidelines to follow will help you avoid mistakes and keep readers happy.
Here are ten tips for creating professional brand typography.
1. Start With a Solid Foundation
The fonts you choose will make or break your design. Take your time and determine the mood and tone of your content. For example,
Are you going for a casual and friendly tone or formal and sophisticated?
Is your audience primarily male or female, or a combination of both?
Do you want a traditional, classic feel or contemporary, modern look?
Need ideas? Look at websites, blogs, and publications that your target audience reads. Note the fonts used on these sites.
Keep in mind that the goal is to get it right from the beginning. Changing fonts down the road can be a real pain.
Here’s a handy little tool to help with that.
2. No More Than Two
Combining fonts is a common practice in typography but it can be tricky. There are several aspects to consider when putting fonts together. Stay with one but no more than two fonts.
If you decide to use two fonts, pick one font for headlines and another for body text. You can use a bold or italicized version of one of these for calls-to-action or other lines that you want to stand out.
This site is a will help you combine fonts.
3. Less Is More
White space is a design term that refers to the blank page space around your text. Many poorly designed websites have too much text. This makes for a poor reading experience. Just landing on a site like that will have you clicking the BACK button in a heartbeat.
For greatest impact, keep your text content to a minimum. Avoid using too many words or images. “Busy” web pages overload the senses.
White space creates a border around each area of your website or print material. It helps readers make a smooth transition from one section to the next. Make sure to give each section of text room to breathe.
4. Not Too Big, Not Too Small
Fonts should be easy to read, especially in digital design. The ideal size for body text is 16px (pixels) and some sites use even larger text for body copy. Headlines can be 32-px or 48-px, depending on the font you choose and its location.
Some standard font uses and sizes for each:
Body text: 16px or 18px (16px works well for mobile, 12pt is fine for print)
Main headline/heading: 48px (36pt for print)
Pro Tip: In digital media, font display will depend on the device (i.e. mobile phone), browser, and the size of the screen. Make sure your fonts display properly regardless of the device or screen size.
For more on font size settings, click here.
5. Keep Your Distance
Line height and line length keep each line of text separate and easy to read. Line height is the space between lines and should be at least 120% of the text height. This keeps everything spaced for easy reading without looking awkward.
Line length is the width of each line in a paragraph or block. Best practice for readability is 45–90 characters, including spaces.
6. We Still Read Left to Right
In English-speaking nations, we read from left to right. The same rule applies to your website. While it’s fine to justify-center quotes or short headlines, most text should be justified left.
7. Break It Up
Unless you are writing a novel, keep sections of text short. Most readers only skim text anyway. Breaking it up into smaller sections makes it easier for them to consume. Limiting blocks of text to two or three sentences works well.
Also, don’t be tempted to squeeze text into places it doesn’t fit. Good editing can solve this problem.
8. Do Not Overemphasize
Limit use of “all caps”, bold or italics text, and underlining. These options are good when you need to create emphasis, but overdoing it reduces impact.
Pro Tip: In digital media, underlined text usually indicates a link. Stay with underlined text for links only.
9. The Space In-Between Matters Too
Kerning is a term in typography that refers to character spacing. Having more or less space between characters can change the reading experience. In some cases, it may be beneficial to widen the space between letters or numbers.
This will vary depending on the font you are using and its purpose (headline, sub-heading, body copy, and so on).
Keep in mind that certain fonts take up more space than others. This applies to height and width. You may have to experiment with different sizing to find the perfect setting.
10. Choose Wisely
There are a lot of fonts out there, many of which are free. It can be tempting to fall in love with a fancy font but that doesn’t make it a good choice for your brand.
Some fonts are utilitarian, meaning they have a variety of uses but may appear ordinary. Others were designed for headlines only.
Take your time and do some research on any fonts you are considering. Make sure they will be a good fit for your brand. Just because a font looks good on someone else’s website or business card doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Until next time,
Learn more about brand strategy.
Are you struggling to connect with your audience? Do you want to show them how you're different from competitors?