Why Your Typography Skills Need Work

August 25, 2013

Are you awesome at typography? If the answer is “no,” then you know your typography needs work. And it’s not just about choosing the right headline fonts with the most attractive kerning, either. Typography plays a critical role in how noticeable your message is and how well it is understood. When it comes to print marketing materials, then, typography plays a major role in your ultimate return on investment – or lack thereof. The following lists five reasons why your typography needs work.

1.  95 percent of design is typography

Oliver Reichenstein’s piece proclaiming 95 percent of design to be typography resonated with the design world. He quotes Emil Ruder, who in 1969 said, “Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty. A printed work which cannot be read becomes a product without purpose.” The same, argues Reichenstein, holds true for the web. Takeaway: If you’re not good at typography, you’re not good at design.

2.  The responsive web is mostly typography

If you’re still in the camp that believes the responsive web is a passing trend, I can’t help you. But if you understand that web interfaces that employ one design and one code are not only the here and now, but the future of design, it’s critical to also understand the role typography plays in driving responsive design. Not only do you need to know how to design with attractive typography, you need to know how to do so in a manner so that your typography looks just as good in different screen sizes, resolutions and responsive layouts. Takeaway: Typography will play an even more critical role in the future.

3.  Typography conveys your message visually

The style of your typography says a lot about the emotions, moods and brand images you’re trying to convey. From casual to critical, humorous to horrifying, sentimental to crass, your typography can help readers understand the tone of your written material. Takeaway: Though typography conveys information in writing, it also conveys emotions and motivates action.

4.  Typography directs readers’ eyes

Typography doesn’t just convey information, it conveys a path through your print and digital designs so your readers follow the natural flow of information. This helps you withhold critical information until just the right time; and the progression of your information can play a critical role in your response rate. Takeaway: Typography keeps your information visually in order, helping you control its delivery and motivate greater response rates.

5.  Great typography skills will make you more marketable

Want to make more money? Become great at typography. Not only will your designs be more attractive, they’ll be more effective. That combination will get you noticed in the professional design world, and you’ll have employers and clients lining up to hire you. Takeaway: Great typography skills will earn you more money and a better career.

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.