Visual design

Typography

Typography is an essential part of visual design. It’s the art of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed.

Typography is used in a variety of contexts, from books and magazines to websites and digital products.

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of typography, from getting started to best practices and examples.

Getting Started with Typography

Before you start designing with typography, it’s important to understand the basics. Here are some key terms to know:

  • Typeface: A typeface is a set of letters, numbers, and symbols that share a common design. Examples include Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Arial.
  • Font: A font is a specific variation of a typeface. For example, Helvetica Bold is a font.
  • Kerning: Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between two characters. It’s used to make text more legible and visually appealing.
  • Leading: Leading is the process of adjusting the space between lines of text. It’s used to make text easier to read.
  • Tracking: Tracking is the process of adjusting the space between all characters in a block of text. It’s used to make text more visually appealing.
Adobe Fonts (previously TypeKit.com) is a great place to get started.

How To Use Typography

Once you understand the basics of typography, you can start using it in your designs. Here are some tips for using typography effectively:

  • Choose a typeface that’s legible and easy to read. Sans-serif typefaces are often the best choice for digital designs.
  • Use different fonts to create visual hierarchy and draw attention to important elements.
  • Adjust the kerning, leading, and tracking to make text more legible and visually appealing.
  • Use typography to create a sense of balance and harmony in your designs.
  • Experiment with different typefaces and fonts to create unique and interesting designs.
Picture of word illustrating two different ways to kern letters.
Learn about Kerning at Adobe Fonts.

Best Practices for Typography

When using typography in your designs, it’s important to follow best practices. Here are some tips for using typography effectively:

  • Use a limited number of typefaces and fonts. Too many typefaces and fonts can make a design look cluttered and unprofessional.
  • Make sure the typefaces and fonts you use are appropriate for the context. For example, a formal document should use a serif typeface, while a website should use a sans-serif typeface.
  • Use typography to create a sense of hierarchy and draw attention to important elements. For example, use larger font sizes for headings and smaller font sizes for body text.
  • Make sure the text is legible and easy to read. Adjust the kerning, leading, and tracking as needed.
  • Experiment with different typefaces and fonts to create unique and interesting designs.

Get creative with fonts and typography using these tools

  • Typekit.com — Typekit is a subscription-based font library that provides access to thousands of high-quality fonts for use on websites, apps, and other digital projects.
  • Affinity Designer — The perfect app for creatives and other professionals looking to create high-quality concept art, illustrations, logos, icons, UI designs, mock-ups and more.
  • Bootstrap CDN — The recommended free CDN for Bootstrap, Font Awesome, Bootswatch and Bootstrap Icons.
  • Fonts
    Which font is best for your project? Explore the world of typography to find the perfect font.
  • Kerning
    Kerning adjusts the space between letters to create a visually pleasing and balanced look. How can you use kerning to improve your typography?
  • Leading
    How to lead type for maximum readability?
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