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Typography Tips for Design Students

We can all agree that it’s easy to get caught up in what we already do well. The same is true for graphic design students, who might find their niche and get stuck there. If typography isn’t a natural gift, don’t worry. We have plenty of tips and tricks to help you wield the best fonts for graphic design.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to improving your typography skills and grappling with your design, it can be easy to forget about other subjects. Often students pay to write essays so as not to get bad grades. This is because they may forget their projects or delay them until the deadline.

Even if you have access to plagiarism-free papers, it’s easier to manage your schedule. Create balance and allow yourself space to breathe on either side of important projects. In typography, we call this “kerning”, which we discuss below. Keep reading to learn how typography improves readability, the basic rules you need to keep in mind, and how to take your skills to the next level when you’re ready for a challenge.

Importance of Learning Typography

Customizing each design project can be both fun and daunting. Even though background images hold a lot of visual appeals, typography has a heavy hand in communicating the right tone for your design. Loopy, slender letters can make us think of femininity and elegance. Bold letters with wide spacing can feel commanding.

In addition to incorporating the emotional themes of your project, typography is the crux of readability. If you have text included in your design, you obviously intend for it to be legible and memorable. Typography is centred around the functionality as much as visual appeal. Take a look at the two tips below, which tie into the more practical side of this design element.

Use only a few fonts (or less) per project. It can be exciting to get caught up in all the fonts you have available. Adding in more fonts can also feel dynamic. However, your design can quickly become cluttered and overwhelming, so it’s best to use as few fonts as possible while maintaining clarity and intrigue. In general, you should stick to three or four distinct fonts in a project.

Create a hierarchy to help readers. If you have bulky information to convey, use fonts to create a hierarchy. A custom design that allows readers to skim for understanding will please your customer far more than a block of text in a beautiful font. There are several affordable or free guides available online that demonstrate common hierarchies in graphic design.

What Every Design Student Should Know about Typography

There are numerous rules, ideas, and best practices for mastering typography. However, we’d like to focus on three key aspects of managing fonts in your graphic design. Following these three tips will help make sure that you won’t make any major missteps that set your project back.

Learn about font families. No font exists as a standalone part of the design. The five generic font families are serif, sans serif, cursive, fantasy, and monospace. Your typography will benefit from both contrast and cohesion. Understanding which families your fonts belong to can help you make important decisions about where to draw the (invisible) lines.

Respect the integrity of each font. Don’t distort your fonts. There’s no major wisdom here, except to say that stretching and distorting typography is a big no-no. It looks clumsy and will easily be caught out – even if the viewer isn’t knowledgeable about graphic design, they’ll be able to tell that something is amiss in your writing. Simply choose a different font.

Use kerning to establish balance. Kerning refers to the spacing around each letter. Some fonts inherently crowd letters together that would do well to be separated. By using kerning, you can make sure that the letters “c” and “l” don’t turn into a “d” in your design.

How to Skilfully Use Typography in Your Design Projects

Once you understand the basics of typography, you can then move on to mastering more precise skills. These tips work just as well for a website or print design, so don’t skimp on developing any of these areas no matter your medium of choice.

Use grids to guide your design. Develop your design using a grid to create an unseen balance. Doing so will help you manage every other part of typography with ease. You can see how well your fonts transition, whether the kerning you’ve implemented is symmetrical, and whether the hierarchy of text is clear.

Practice hand lettering classic fonts for a human touch. Whether you’re working in digital design or not, hand lettering can really shift the impact of a design. Take time to practice your hand-lettering skills for the fonts you find yourself leaning toward in designs. This will also help you if you ever decide to develop your own font (and raise your prices).

Balance contrast with backgrounds. Avoid getting so caught up in typography that you lose the effect of the overall design. If you’re working with anything other than a flat background, you’ll need to account for contrast and careful colouring. Managing how you balance colours is crucial – not just within the typographical design, but within the overall project.

Master Graphic Design Fonts to Boost Your Success

Even the most talented graphic design artists will be hard-pressed to escape learning and incorporating typography. For this reason, it’s best to embrace it and dive into the world of fonts with enthusiasm. Like other design elements, learning typography is a balancing act of knowing the rules and choosing when to break them. (Except for distorting fonts – you really shouldn’t break that rule).

Mastering typography will add to the cohesion and visual appeal for any project – and it can allow you to raise your prices for the added time and care you offer customers. Don’t be afraid of the big, bad fonts, and jump feet-first into typographical bliss.

Austin Terrill

Austin is the founder and CEO of Print Peppermint. He loves art, graphic design, printing, music, recording gear, synthesizers, and ice cream. He lives in Berlin with his wife and two children.
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