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Foundations of Typography
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Other typographic best practices


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Foundations of Typography

with Ina Saltz

Video: Other typographic best practices

As a professor and critic of typographic design, I see a lot of the same mistakes made over and over again by beginners. I'd like to point them out and suggest some alternatives to make your type usage more professional. In some programs and with some older type file formats, it's possible to artificially create a bold or italic version of a font. It may seem like it saves time, but you will only get the correct italic or bold designed for the typeface by selecting them from the Font menu.
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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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Foundations of Typography
2h 23m Beginner Feb 01, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Good typography can add tremendous power to your design and your message, whether it is a print- or screen-based project, a still or motion graphic, a 3D or 2D graphic. This course explains good typographic practices, so that you can develop an "eye" for type and understand how to effectively use it. Author Ina Saltz explains type classifications (serif vs. sans serif, display type vs. text type), how type is measured, sized, and organized, and how spacing and alignment affect your design. She also explains how to use kerning, tracking, leading, and line length, and covers the history and current trends in typography. The course teaches the principles of legibility, readability, and compatibility, and how they should be considered when you're selecting and designing with type.

Topics include:
  • What is typography?
  • Differentiating type characteristics
  • Using ornamental and decorative type
  • Combining typefaces
  • Using contrast and scale
  • Kerning and kerning pairs
  • Choosing the optimum line length
  • Aligning and spacing characters, words, and paragraphs
  • Understanding factors affecting legibility
  • Working with three-dimensional type
  • Putting type in motion
Subjects:
Design Typography Design Skills
Author:
Ina Saltz

Other typographic best practices

As a professor and critic of typographic design, I see a lot of the same mistakes made over and over again by beginners. I'd like to point them out and suggest some alternatives to make your type usage more professional. In some programs and with some older type file formats, it's possible to artificially create a bold or italic version of a font. It may seem like it saves time, but you will only get the correct italic or bold designed for the typeface by selecting them from the Font menu.

Remember to use Smart Quotes. Dumb Quotes, also called prime marks, may be used to indicate feet and inches, but for quotes and apostrophes be sure to use Smart Quotes, also known as curly quotes. I also see a lot of small type which is outlined by adding a stroke, but letter forms are distorted when a stroke is added. The stroke overlaps the shape of the type on both sides of its defined edges. It changes the outer shape of the type and the counter spaces get tight or fill-in.

It's okay to use large type with a thin stroke. This doesn't cause much of a problem because the proportion of the stroke is so tiny compared to the letter, but otherwise don't add strokes to small type. Here are some examples of what not to do. I took these pictures in my travels, but I'm not going to say where. On this menu board, by adding strokes to these letters, they are much harder to read. Although I'm sure that was not the intent. Another word to the wise, avoid stacking type.

The irregular widths of these letters create a rough edge on both sides of the type. The irregular spaces make it harder to read and our eye has to jump from one letter to the next, because we read from left to right not top to bottom. In this example, the longer the text, the worse the effect and stacked lowercase is the worst of all. Look how lonely that poor little I is in its narrow little space. With stacked upper and lower case, you can't create even spacing because of the varying heights of the ascenders, descenders, and caps.

Instead, look at this example from Kids Discover. In the headline charging particles, the type is oriented sideways. So there is a perfectly aligned baseline and cap height. If you have acronyms in your text, a good practice is to reduce them by a point or a point and a half, so they do not visually jump out of your text. Even better, use the font's small caps, if it has a set. The goal is to keep an even color within your text which aids readability.

The same goes for numbers. Use the set with varying heights or reduce the numbers exactly the same amount as the caps. Adding a bit of extra space between caps improves their appearance. Spacing out lowercase letters is not advisable. So to recap, use the proper bold and italic versions of your fonts. Don't add strokes to small type. Use Smart Quotes, not Dumb Quotes and avoid stacking type vertically. Do downsize acronyms and numbers to blend with the surrounding type.

Give extra space to caps, but not lowercase. These are some of the practices that will help you on your way to good type usage.

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