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Typographical Features

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We often neglect the power of typographical features and fail to appreciate them. Type is present all around us, from the box of our morning cereal to our daily text messages. In fact, even what you are reading right now! Typography plays a very important role in the way information is received by the reader.

What are Typographical Features?

Typography can be defined as the art of arranging text and information to makes it legible, clear and visually appealing to the reader.

Typography is more than just the font, size, and color of the text. It is a carefully designed combination of these elements in addition to the structure of the text which evoke certain emotions in the reader. Thus being able to convey the message as intended by the user.

Why do Typographical Features matter?

There are 3 main reasons typographical features are important:

1. Typography helps build brand recognition:

Effective typography helps build brand recognition, which means that the audience or users will slowly start to associate the typeface used by the company with the brand itself.

Some of the most well-known brands use recognizable typography. This includes the font, the color, the layout, and the relationship between these elements. Sometimes just the font can be instantly recognizable. The curling 'C' of the Coca-Cola lettering, or the 'W' of 'Walt Disney'.

2. Typography can impact decisions made by the audience:

The typography used can play an important role in perception.

Typographical Features Fonts StudySmarterFonts Influence Perception, Bysani - StudySmarter Originals

The above picture shows the same sentence written in two different fonts and colors. The first one is more pleasant and is something that you would probably find in a letter written to you. On the other hand, the second one in red has an element of mystery to it and is like one that you would find in a horror movie poster! So, it is important to use the right typographical features, to determine the meaning conveyed to the reader.

3. Typography can impact the attention of the audience:

One of the most important aspects of writing is to be able to capture the attention of your audience. Typography plays an important role in this and is a deciding factor on whether a brand is successful or not.

Typographical Features Impact StudySmarterImpact of Typography on Attention, Bysani - StudySmarter Originals

Which one do you prefer? I'm sure you picked the one on the left. This is because it is so much easier to read compared to the right one! This is where typography comes into play.

What are the different elements of Typography?

There are seven main elements:

1. Typefaces and Fonts

A font is a graphical representation of text and a font family refers to the whole collection of a particular font that shares a specific design feature. The typeface includes the entire family of fonts, whereas a font is only a particular graphical representation of the text. Often, typefaces and fonts are confused with each other. The font size and font-weight are the two elements that help determine which font is to be used while taking into account the type of text, context, and audience.

The different types of font categories are - serif, sans serif, cursive, fantasy, and monospace. Each font can be associated (for some of us) with a certain emotion.

Use a maximum of three fonts to get the best results.

2. Contrast

Contrast means difference, especially when that difference is very noticeable. Sometimes it can also mean ' opposite ', like black and white. These two are contrasting colors, and is what makes black text stand out on a white background.

Typographical Features Contrast StudySmarterContrast in Colors,

In the above picture, the umbrella stands out and is evident, despite its small size in comparison to the waterfall in the background because its colors are strikingly evident in relation to the black and white background.

The use of contrast in the text helps to convey an idea and emphasize certain words by way of their color, size or style. It will make the text more interesting and attractive. You can use contrast in your text by experimenting with colors, style, font and size.

To see if you have created a good level of contrast between the colors in your text, try using greyscale, and if it is still clear then it is good; otherwise, it probably isn't.

3. Consistency

For text to be effective it must be consistent. For example, using the same style for headings, sub-headings and the main body would create a better experience for the reader.

4. White space

We often neglect the power of white space (also called negative space). White space is essentially the blank space surrounding text or design on a page. THINK: Less is more

5. Alignment

Another important feature of typography is alignment. This means that there should be equal spacing between the different elements of the text. Alignment also determines where on the page your text sits: left, center, right.

Using margins help to achieve the perfect alignment, like in this article for instance.

6. Font Color

Font color is the color that is used to write characters both in print and online. We use font color to allow for differentiation, to emphasize important points, and to make the text appealing. When deciding which font color to use it is important to consider who the target audience is and what tone the piece of writing has. Different colors can convey different emotions.

Red - red is generally used to attract attention. This color is associated with passion, energy and danger.

Orange - orange is normally used to call for action as it is associated with creativity and enthusiasm.

Yellow - Yellow is associated with happiness and optimism.

Green - Green is associated with nature, a healthy lifestyle and finance.

Light Blue - Light blue is generally linked with the feeling of bliss and tranquility.

Dark Blue - Dark blue is regarded as noble and associated with empowerment, freedom and strength.

Purple - Purple is often associated with luxury, wisdom and beauty.

Pink - Pink is used to demonstrate femininity, playfulness and love.

White - White is associated with purity and innocence.

Black - Black is seen as a color of power, elegance and mystery.

Color is an important element with respect to typography and one of the most fun and exciting elements to work with. Color goes hand in hand with contrast and they are dependent on each other. Nailing these two aspects will make the text stand out to grasp the attention of the reader, but if you have got it wrong it can be a disaster.

Color has three elements:

  • Value

  • Hue

  • Saturation

7. Hierarchy

Hierarchy is another important feature of typography. This is related to the structure of the text. Hierarchy can be emphasized using style, font, and color. For example, in this article hierarchy is established by using different colors and font sizes for the headings and main body. This makes it easier for the reader to follow the information.

Note: Think about a time you made your revision notes or a mind map where you used colors and font sizes. This is an application of hierarchy.

The next time you read a newspaper, try to identify the elements of typography discussed above. A newspaper is one place where you can easily notice these and also compare different articles.

While writing, keeping in mind that the personality and tone of your work will help decide the kind of typeface you want to use.

8. Font size

Font size is the size of the characters on the screen and in print. It is usually measured in points, pixels, or pica. When deciding on the font size it is important to consider the age of the audience and the type of text you are writing. It is suggested to use a maximum of 4 font sizes in any particular text.

Font sizes can be of 4 kinds - header, default, secondary and, tertiary.

Header font size

This is the biggest font size and is usually the heading. Headings and subheadings are usually written in two different font sizes to enable a contrast between the two.

Default font size

This is the font size that is used for the main body of the text and is usually 12 points. However, this again depends on the type of text and the audience.

Secondary font size

This font size is usually 2 points smaller than the default font size and is used for the less important information, for instance, the sources or page numbers. However, there are certain exceptions, certain legal documents, or the terms and conditions on the offer of your favorite brand. All this is written in small print too.

Tertiary (Caption or Label) Font Size

This font size is occasionally used when you want to establish a hierarchy in the main body of the text. Labels, captions for images, or sometimes even bullet points use the tertiary font size, which is different from the default and secondary ones and usually smaller than those two.

Font sizes are important to allow for clarity, differentiation, and emphasis where required.

Typographical Features - Key takeaways

  • Typography is the art of arranging text and information in a manner that makes it pleasurable to read

  • Typography is carefully considered for the following reasons:

    • Helps build brand awareness

    • Can impact the decisions of the reader

    • Can impact the attention of the reader

  • Typography has the following elements

    • Typefaces and Fonts

    • Contrast

    • Consistency

    • White space

    • Alignment

    • Font Color

    • Hierarchy

    • Font size

  • In typograph consider the personality and tone of the text you are aiming for

Typographical Features

Typography can be defined as the art of arranging text and letters in order to make them clear, visually appealing and legible to the readers. Typographical features include various aspects such as font, color, alignment, etc.

Some of the examples of elements of typography include - typeface or fonts, contrast, consistency, white space, alignment, color and hierarchy.

Typography is important as it helps build brand recognition and has an impact on the attention of the audience.


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