Why does this matter?

“Typography isn’t some niche area of graphic design. It is its central aspect.”

– Me (which is why it isn’t very poetic)

Students in my typography course have wide ranging ideas about the importance of this topic; some even avoid taking it until they absolutely have to. To those in my course — or any typography course — you must understand that typography is woven into graphic design like the cotton and spandex in your stretch denim (there’s no analogy for you if you wear raw denim). This isn’t a topic reserved for those who are really interested in working with type; it is a topic for anyone who wants to create any design that includes written language. It also isn’t about designing new typefaces; it is about using text to effectively communicate based on the objectives of a design. Typography is at the core of design whether that design is a logo, community newsletter, mobile app, or packaging. It shows the design’s meaning, helps readers make it through long pieces of text, and leads people to take action. Let me show you what I mean…

From this example, you can see how a design can fall apart when typographic fundamentals are ignored. But what about if you’re working with more text? Having less text in your design can cause issues relating to typography even more obvious. So if we have lots of text — such as in a book, magazine, newsletter, etc. — it’s easier, right? Let’s try an example with quite a bit more text.

I hope these examples have shown the importance of understanding even a few typographic fundamentals. This handbook aims to show you these fundamentals at work by showing you these concepts at work and by giving you the opportunity to test what you’ve learned. Read through the next chapter to learn about the interactive elements within this handbook.


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Typography Handbook Copyright © by David Piechnik is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.