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Typography in graphic design and web design

Typography is an important feature of graphic design and web design that often gets overlooked. However, it can have a profound impact on an overall look and feel of a design, as well as the effectiveness of the message it conveys. Good typography can make a design feel elegant and sophisticated, while poor typography can make it look amateurish and unprofessional. In this blog post, we will explore the role of typography in graphic design and web design, including its importance, best practices, and examples of how it can be used effectively. To ensure we provide the most valuable insights, we have partnered with Reactive Graphics, a leading web design London agency, to gather their opinions on the topic.

What is typography?

Typography is one of the most commonly used elements in web design and is the most direct way to communicate visually. Typography refers to how text is visually presented, including how it is arranged to make it easy to read and look visually pleasing. But it’s not just about looks. Typography can also create a particular feeling or support a message. To accomplish this, designers use different typefaces and font styles, along with adjustments to the size, colour, spacing and other features of the text. The primary aim of typography is to make written language look beautiful and more importantly, simple to understand when it is presented and read.

Why is typography so important for web design?

Deliver a message

Web design is centred on effective visual communication, which involves using typography to amplify the message of a design in a clear and legible manner. When it comes to image-based web design, the typography must be bold enough to catch the viewer’s attention, while in text-heavy web design, typography design is critical for distinguishing various sections and highlighting essential messages. Regardless of the type of web design, achieving a deliberate and cohesive balance between competing elements is crucial to ensure that the primary message is conveyed quickly and easily to the viewer.

Gives personality to web design

How do you want your users to feel when they first enter your website? Do you want the site to feel friendly, high-end, welcoming, playful or serious? It is imperative that the typography reflects the personality of the brand or product. A good starting point when faced with this challenge is to define the core traits of your brand and start to gather typefaces that reflect these traits.

Grab the viewer‘s attention

Typography plays a critical role in emphasising important messages. It is a simple yet powerful method of making a word or phrase stand out in a design. Several techniques can be used to draw attention to the typography, such as enlarging its size, changing its colour, or using a different font or typeface to create contrast with the surrounding elements.

Establish hierarchy and makes text reader-friendly

Through careful consideration of font size, weight, colour and placement, web designers can create a clear visual hierarchy that guides the viewer’s eye and helps them understand the content in a logical order. If all the type in a layout looks the same, it can be difficult to know which is the most important information, or what to read first. Size is one key way through which web designers create a hierarchy and guide their readers. Headings are usually large, sub-headings are smaller, and body type is the smallest. But size isn’t the only way to define hierarchy; it can also be achieved with colour, spacing and weight.

Build brand recognition 

Typography plays a vital role in building brand recognition by creating a distinctive visual identity that customers can easily associate with a particular business or product. Having the same font style, size and colour on different platforms, like logos, websites and packaging is important for strengthening brand recognition and creating a memorable visual identity. In addition, typography can communicate the brand’s personality and values, making it stand out from rivals and leaving a long-lasting impact on customers.

5 rules to make web design text look better

1. Standard fonts are better than decorative

Choosing the appropriate font is an essential aspect of any brand identity. The right one can give your brand additional layers of symbolism, to help you better communicate your company’s values and goals. A standard font style can contribute towards higher conversions and overall user experience, while an offbeat style can seem quirky and confusing. Also, not all fonts are readily available across different platforms. This means that if you are going with an unfamiliar font, the reader’s browser or device might not be able to display your content properly.

2. Use no more than three typefaces

Designers, particularly newcomers, often make the mistake of incorporating too many fonts and styles into their work. Ideally, it is best to limit the number of fonts to two or three typefaces. For example, you could use one font and size for the body, another for the header and a third for the subhead. While it is perfectly fine to choose fonts from different typeface families, it is crucial to ensure that they are cohesive and work well together. Avoid using two very similar fonts, as this may come across as a mistake or a lack of attention to detail, leading viewers to assume that the wrong font was used by accident.

3. Create a visual hierarchy

One way to achieve this is by dividing text into paragraphs, which helps to organise the information and make it more digestible. By breaking up long blocks of text into smaller sections, readers can quickly scan and locate the information they need. Additionally, the use of headings, subheadings, and bullet points can further enhance the visual hierarchy and draw attention to key points.

4. Line length

When it comes to web design typography, it’s essential to consider the number of characters per line. For computers and tablets, the ideal range is between 40 and 70 characters, while for phones, it should be between 30 and 40 characters. Additionally, the recommended size for website text is 16-20 px, which implies that the width of the text block should be no more than 760 px.

5. Use left alignment

Web design that incorporates symmetry can be a visually powerful tool for emphasising balance. This naturally draws the user’s eye across the page, from the left to the right. This can be a big advantage in an age where we are so used to scrolling down, skipping to the information that we want.

In conclusion, typography plays a pivotal role in both graphic design and web design. Its impact on the overall aesthetic, message delivery and user experience should not be underestimated. By choosing the right fonts, creating a visual hierarchy and establishing a consistent brand identity, designers can effectively communicate their message, evoke specific emotions and build strong brand recognition. Following the best practices such as using standard fonts, limiting the number of typefaces and considering line length can greatly enhance the readability and appeal of web design text. By paying attention to typography, designers can elevate their designs and leave a lasting impression on their audience.

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