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Hierarchy and functionality

From: Foundations of Typography

Video: Hierarchy and functionality

We're surrounded by type all of the time, so how does type stand out in a busy environment? Specifically, how does typographic hierarchy work? Hierarchy is the way type is organized in order to indicate levels of importance to the viewer. Within the world of packaging, there are two different kinds of hierarchy. One is how well does the entire package separate itself from the other packaging all around it and how does it project its individual personality? The second level of hierarchy is within each package are there clear levels of typographic hierarchy indicated by size, weight, color, orientation, and adjacency.

Hierarchy and functionality

We're surrounded by type all of the time, so how does type stand out in a busy environment? Specifically, how does typographic hierarchy work? Hierarchy is the way type is organized in order to indicate levels of importance to the viewer. Within the world of packaging, there are two different kinds of hierarchy. One is how well does the entire package separate itself from the other packaging all around it and how does it project its individual personality? The second level of hierarchy is within each package are there clear levels of typographic hierarchy indicated by size, weight, color, orientation, and adjacency.

Those graphic techniques are the designer's tools. Kettle Chips try to distinguish themselves as healthier chips. The roughness of the typography suggests that the chips are less processed. The logo stands out because of its size, its prominent position at the top, and because of the big swoosh of the K over the T creates action. The logo's irregular base line and woody texture suggests that the chips are organic. Popchips on the other hand have a slick fun modern look.

The Os of the logo are popping out just like the name. The I is implied by the space between the H and the P and by the big dot over the imaginary I. the word pop is bigger, it's literally popping. It's a modern minimalist approach to a chip, distinctly different in this category. The typographic hierarchy on the package is clear based on the size of the secondary pieces of text, all natural, the variety of popchips, and the description is all the way at the bottom which are smaller and therefore less important.

Here is a good example of two companies selling the same product in entirely different ways. Tire Tread Licorice takes a typographically aggressive approach. The name of the product, the type style of the product, and the actual product all send the same strong message. On the other hand, Newman's Own Licorice takes a calm approach, using traditional elements and an old-fashioned type style. The hierarchy is created by size. The word licorice is the most important, then the image, then the other descriptive information, Lack Licorice, Twists, Made With Organic Sugar.

I love looking at wine labels because there is so much typographic diversity and personality. These labels are both striking and memorable but for different reasons. The rojo mojo label uses a minimalist geometric sans serif. Note that the R and the M don't even have a stem. The designer looked at the name and envisioned fuller Os connected by the J. The SHIRAZ and the black text here below the name are obviously secondary. It's a type and inevitable construction.

It's all about the type, it stands out because of its simplicity and strong contrast. On the other hand, this is memorable because of the overlay of the brush written T on a very formal Roman T and the sideways orientation of the rest of the label. It's asymmetrically aligned. Bodega and Tamari are flush left. Rerserva is centered and the slash of the malbec line aligns with the serif of the big red T. Other type is tucked into the footer serif of the T.

It's dynamic, it's mixing several typefaces beautifully. With the cropped off letters you feel as if there is action beyond the edges of the label. They're both graphically strong, but completely different from one another. All of these packages in their own way strive to stand out from the competition and to define themselves by appealing to a different demographic through their use of typography and design. To recap, hierarchy is the visual organization of text. Employ techniques to make your design stand out.

show the viewer what to read first, second third, and so on. Creating hierarchy is simple. Size and weight matter most, color and contrast and position in the composition matter too. Creating visual prominence and setting priorities for the viewer is something you can do.

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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Typography
Foundations of Typography

46 video lessons · 30233 viewers

Ina Saltz
Author

 
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  1. 9m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 58s
    2. Why good typography matters
      1m 55s
    3. The power of type
      1m 53s
    4. The theory of typographic relativity
      1m 53s
    5. Getting the most out of this course
      1m 26s
  2. 23m 49s
    1. Serif vs. sans serif
      3m 27s
    2. Display type vs. text type
      3m 39s
    3. Type history
      2m 48s
    4. Type classification
      4m 8s
    5. Other type categories
      3m 24s
    6. Guidelines for combining typefaces
      3m 49s
    7. Using cases
      2m 34s
  3. 18m 28s
    1. Anatomy: Parts and shapes of type
      4m 35s
    2. Size and measurements of type
      2m 18s
    3. Type families: Widths, weights, and slopes
      3m 53s
    4. Reviewing the terminology of type, based on function
      3m 27s
    5. Working with color and tonal weight: Exercises
      4m 15s
  4. 20m 27s
    1. Kerning and kerning pairs
      3m 33s
    2. Tracking and leading
      3m 49s
    3. Exploring variations in type alignment
      3m 55s
    4. Hyphenation and justification
      3m 13s
    5. Indents, outdents, and hanging punctuation
      2m 26s
    6. Other typographic best practices
      3m 31s
  5. 10m 3s
    1. Where type begins: The mark of the hand
      2m 28s
    2. Related parts and shapes: Family resemblances
      4m 35s
    3. Designing a typeface
      3m 0s
  6. 22m 19s
    1. How legibility and readability differ
      3m 48s
    2. Examining factors affecting legibility
      4m 46s
    3. Hierarchy and functionality
      4m 29s
    4. Systematized hierarchy
      3m 52s
    5. Paragraphs, drop caps, and entry points
      2m 41s
    6. Typographic abominations
      2m 43s
  7. 11m 8s
    1. Opposing forces of typography
      3m 8s
    2. The grid: A structure for containing type
      3m 6s
    3. Contrast and scale
      4m 54s
  8. 9m 41s
    1. Typographic expressiveness
      3m 22s
    2. The emotional impact of type
      2m 47s
    3. Three-dimensional type
      3m 32s
  9. 8m 55s
    1. Working with numbers
      2m 10s
    2. Expert characters and analphabetic symbols
      1m 56s
    3. Using typography to navigate content
      1m 51s
    4. Using typography to navigate the environment
      2m 58s
  10. 9m 14s
    1. Managing fonts and building your type library
      3m 14s
    2. Developing your typographic eye
      2m 31s
    3. Breaking the rules
      1m 41s
    4. What's next
      1m 48s

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