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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
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
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
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.