By Amanda Guy - our Designer
Graphic Design Projects & Starting a New Design or Layout
When new design projects come into the office, the first thing I try to think of when I am ready to start designing is, which typeface will represent their brand the best? If they’ve described their business with adjectives like clean, sophisticated, simple, then most likely I’ll dive head first into the Sans Serif fonts and go from there. It’s also a good idea to pair fonts, but you have to be careful with this. Not every pair of fonts will go together. It’s not a good idea to pair two completely different serifed fonts together, nor is it a good idea to pair two fonts that are extremely similar to one another. What would the point be in that?
Great design is deliberate and serves a purpose. Hopefully the next time you look at a logo, a newspaper ad, or a sign, you take the time to notice how carefully the type was laid out, or maybe how it wasn’t. Soon you’ll be nerding out on typography just like me.
Here are a few things I consider in my top 5 list for using typography:
1. The Typeface or Font
2. The spacing of the typeface - Leading & Kerning
Leading & what?--Leading means the amount of vertical space between lines of text. Kearning means the space between characters/letters--This is something us design nerds are pretty obsessed with. We can also be pretty analytical about the tracking, the font’s point size within a design and the space between words when justification is a factor. There are right ways to display text, and wrong ways. I won’t get into all the nitty gritty details, because that’s why you come to a professional design agency in the first place, so you don’t have to worry about these things, but poor design is commonly caused by improper use of fonts and negligent craftsmanship to the spacing of the letters.
3. All of the Copy
This is where I ask myself what exactly needs to be said in the design. If I’m making a rack card or a brochure for a client, I always like to have all of the copy in place first before inserting the visuals. It just helps to see how much copy you’re really working with before deciding that you want to throw graphics into the mix. And maybe I want to use a pull quote here and there in a brochure--A pull quote is when you grab a quote or sentence from the main copy and display it in a graphically pleasing way that will grab the attention of your viewer. If you want to draw attention to a certain part of the brochure, this is a great way to do it.
4. The Layout
Above I talked about using copy with brochure and rack card layouts, but let’s say I have a project that’s a little more complex than that. Recently, we designed the new 2017 Park Project Field Guide for the Glacier National Park Conservancy. This 48-page final product is one of the coolest projects I’ve worked on, and the final layout works really well overall. We stayed consistent with typography, and that helped tie things together overall.
By using columns, I was able to place the typography on each page before adding visuals. We knew that we wanted to use large, full bleed images throughout the magazine, however, we also knew that we couldn’t do this on every page. Some pages would be more text-heavy than others. So with this in mind, we made sure to also leave white space to give the viewers' eyes a break.
The columns allowed us to create titles, body copy, and pull quotes. We were also able to consistently insert page numbers and photo captions. When all of the copy was in place, we added the rest of the visuals and then designed the rest of the layout and graphics.
5. The Final Product
Depending on what the final printed or digital product might be used for will often determine what typeface we use on projects as well.
Generally, and this isn’t always the case, it’s a good idea to use a serifed font in books. Have you ever read a novel that was printed in Ariel or Helvetica? Most likely not, because serif fonts are easier on the eye. The little feet of the letters help guide your eye across the page. This is why newspapers historically used Times New Roman as the main body copy. Eyes flow across this font easily.
Okay, so let’s throw a digital screen into the mix and say our final product is a website. In this case, sans serif font is best. The typeface you’re reading right now is sans serif (the letters don't have little "feet"). You may not have known that, but it is. It’s easier to read a sans serif font on a bright screen.
Well there you have it. Amanda's top 5 things to consider when using typography. Hopefully I’ve just blown your mind on typography. Just remember that the typography you see has been laid out for a reason and put there deliberately. And just for fun, I want to share this link with you.
The above link will take you to an article that is hilarious and really makes my day. You’ll notice it’s even typed out in the Comic Sans typeface. If you’re into typography, or a design nerd, you’ll really appreciate this post by Mike Lacher at McSweeneys.net.
Wheelie Deep Thoughts
This is where we showcase fun stuff-- new work, case studies, weekly updates, job openings, and general awesomeness from members of the Wheelie Crew.
Read Posts About:
Glacier Park Conservancy
Spencer Trail Signs
Glacier Park Inc.
Whitefish Trail Signs
The North Fork
The Montana Scene
Logos We've Made