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When it comes to typography, there aren't necessarily any concrete rules that we have to follow; however, in order to provide the best experience for your users, you should try to implement some best practices when you are crafting your type for the web. In this movie, I'll be exploring some of rules of typography and discuss various ways that you can implement them in your workflow to get better result for your type. Rule #1: readability trumps creativity. One of the first considerations you will make when designing with type is which typeface you are going to use for your project.
While the type should reflect the tone of the content you are creating, you should always focus on making the type readable. There are literally thousands of typefaces available today, so you are not stuck with Arial or Helvetica necessarily. But when it comes to web typography, we have to walk a very thin line when it comes to the readability of our text. Rule #2: size does matter. Your text should be large enough to be read on any monitor or device, but not so big that it appears out of place or screaming at your end user.
In most cases, your body text will need to be set between 12 and 16 pixels. Of course, this is ultimately up to you. But I tend to skew more towards the 16 pixels end of things, for optimal readability, especially on newer devices and displays with higher resolutions. Remember, we are not just designing for one screen anymore; these days we have cover the full range of devices that are accessing our content. Nobody wants to have to pinch and zoom 10 or 15 times just to read your blog post, trust me. Rule #3: scale it up.
Once you have chosen your base font size, you should then think about the scale and hierarchy of the remaining typographical elements, like headings, subheadings, and menu items. After you've defined a scale, you should stick with that scale throughout your entire design. This will make it much easier on whoever is responsible for converting this design into HTML and CSS later on down the road. And it will also create a nice unified appearance throughout your design as well. You can create your own scale, but an example might be starting at 14 pixels for your body text, you could go up to 16 for your first heading, 18 pixels for your second, 21 for your third, and so on.
I usually define two points. I call them Anchor Points. I setup my body text size and also my largest header first, and then I fill in the numbers in between. These two anchor points allow me to evenly distribute my scale throughout the range of type elements on my page. Now let's move on to rule# 4. Emphasis is an important thing. Occasionally it will be necessary to emphasis a piece of text in order to draw the user's attention to some important element or piece of content. This usually entails using both bold and italics, but it can also mean using things like all caps, extra bold, color differences, and even underlining.
Whatever your choice for emphasizing your content, stick with that choice throughout your entire design; otherwise, your type will look messy and not well thought out. This also makes it easier when coding this type via CSS, so the developer doesn't have to create multiple emphatic styles. The final rule revolves around whitespace. The use of white- or negative space between objects and type is a very powerful thing. This empty space allows your elements to breathe and has a way of creating its own emphasis without the use of any extra tricks. One of the big trends on the web today is something called minimalist design.
Doing a quick Google search will give you a better idea of what I am talking about, but with these designs you see plenty of whitespace throughout most of the compositions. websites with good use of whitespace tend to be easier on the eyes and invite the user to casually browse without feeling rushed, to see all of the content that's been simply just jammed together. Keep that in mind as you begin to put your type together. The only other rule that exist in typography is the unwritten rule that allows us to break all of the other rules I just talked about. As long as you are providing a unique experience for your user that both serves creative message and delivers information, you are free to do whatever you want when it comes to typography.
And with the advent of things like web fonts and services like Adobe Typekit, the possibilities for web typography are only going to continue to grow.
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