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Jul 18

10 Quick Tips For Great Typography

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Knowing how to do typography design is crucial if you want to set yourself apart from the crowd as a designer and elevate your design to new heights. Carving out time to learn something new can be daunting, though.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were CliffNotes for typography? They could help get you started, guide your learning, or just give you a refresher every time you need one. If only, if only… But, wait! Don’t despair!

The world may not have CliffNotes for typography, but we have something better.

(drum roll)


Or, actually, a free download of everything Chris learned in design school, distilled into a handy dandy ten-part manual. It’s useful, it’s short, and it’s pretty sweet if you ask us! We like it so much that we animated it, too.

Here are ten (super) quick tips for great typography:

Justify Left

In Western culture, people read top to bottom, left to right, so justify your text left. This makes it easier for the person reading to navigate through the copy.

Use One Font

Certain typefaces can carry different meanings and interpretations. Keep things simple and stick to one font to avoid messing with the complements of the typeface.

Skip a Weight

Go from light to bold, or medium to extra bold when skipping weights. This creates a nice contrast to keep your text intriguing.

Double Point Size

Double or half the point size you are using. If you’re using 30pt for a headline, complement that with 15pt for the body copy. If you want to amp up the drama, try adding 3x or 4x the point size.

Align to One Axis

Build your type along one primary axis, and align elements to the grid line you’ve set.

Pick Any Font

Use any typeface you like as long as it’s one of the following: Akzidenz Grotesque, Avenir, Avant-Garde, Bell Gothic, Bodoni, Bembo, Caslon, Clarendon, Courier, Din Mittelschrift, Franklin Gothic, Frutiger, Futura, Garamond, Gill Sans, Gotham, Helvetica, Letter Gothic, Memphis, Meta, OCRB, Rockwell, Sabon, Trade Gothic, Trajan, and Univers.

‍Group by Using Rules

Use rules or lines to group related pieces of information. This also makes dissimilar objects look more orderly when paired together.

‍Avoid the Corners

Don’t place elements along the edge or corners of a page unless to deliberately cut elements off. Negative space is a good thing. Let your design breathe.

Mind the Gap

Typography is all about spacing. Avoid having a single word on the last line of the paragraph, otherwise known as a widow. Don’t allow a new page or column to begin with the final word or line from a previous paragraph.

Relax, It’s Just Type

Remember, be bold, or italic. But never regular.

If you want to see these rules in action and with clear examples, go grab that free download! Honestly, the pages are pretty enough to print, so we encourage you to kick it old school, print ‘em out, and maybe hang ‘em up in your workspace!

Kristin Lajeunesse