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5 Basic Rules on Typography
by Granny's Mettle

Whenever you get projects for designing graphics for different media materials, there are certain rules you need to know before venturing to the complexities and elaborate world of graphic design.

One of the elements considered in graphic design is typography. This is how you utilize and create your text to come out with a result that complements your images and design of the whole media material, whether it's for print or web.

For typography, here are five of the basic rules to follow (or to break, whichever suits your creativity at the moment):

Rule No. 1 - DO NOT use all the fonts in one document.

Every designer has his or her own collection of fonts, which he or she uses for each design project. As one designer would say: "If you're a designer, it almost goes without saying that you own fonts- Lots of fonts."

Aside from the existing fonts in the software program being used, most designers have their own lists that were added to the already existing list. And because of the availability of so many fonts, one may be tempted to use as many, if not all of the fonts that he or she owns.

Always remember that simplicity is more attractive than disarray and confusion. When you start using many fonts in one document, the message most often get lost in the jumble. In addition, too many fonts can distract the reader from the original intent of the design- to get a message across. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean that you have to be dull and boring by sticking to the conventional "two-font rule", which states that you had to have one font for headings and another for text. So where's the creativity in that? Just make sure to have a reason why you want to deviate from the rule and chose to use the fonts.

Rule No. 2 - "Serif type is easier to the eyes than sans serif."

There's an old principle in the graphics world that goes "Serif type is easier to read because the serifs draws your eye from character to character." Hence, sans serif type is oftentimes used for headings and short quantities of text.

Truth to tell, all fonts can be made readable (except, well, maybe for Wingdings) with the ideal design. With sans serif, although it needs more leading than serif type, it can give your documents a very modern look, and is the popular body text in Europe.

Rule No. 3 - Putting two spaces after a period is a no-no.

In the olden times, when typewriters are the thingamajigs for writers, two spaces after a period was the rule to indicate the end of a sentence.

With the onset of technology, fonts have characters of their own, with different widths, that putting two spaces after a period is no longer needed. Sometimes, this rule can create a rather annoying flaw that creates a stop rather than help you pinpoint the end of every sentence.

Rule No. 4 - DO NOT use all capital letters.

One designer said that when using all capitals in the text, there are no ascenders or descenders. The two are what makes it easy to identify the shape of a word. "The shape of almost every word becomes a rectangle, and it's harder to read."

But this doesn't also mean that you cannot use capital letters. Where can you use capital letters? Short phrases or headings do look attractive in all caps. Sans serif also works better in all caps.

Rule No. 5 - DO NOT center large quantities of text.

The eyes go from left to right when reading. It's the way to go. It rapidly scans one line, then goes from the right side of the page back to the left side of the page. When text is centered, it makes it harder for the eyes to be told to find where the next text begins again on the left side of the page, and makes it easy for the reader to skip down lines of text.

This time, it's not too easy to bend the rules. The best way is still to save centering to headings that don't run more than several lines deep.

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About the Author
Granny's Mettle is a 30-something, professional web content writer. She has created various web content on a diverse range of topics, which includes digital printing topics, medical news, as well as legal issues. Her articles are composed of reviews, suggestions, tips and more for the printing and designing industry.