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Exploring the rules of typography

From: Illustrator for Web Design

Video: Exploring the rules of typography

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.

Exploring the rules of typography

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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This video is part of

Image for Illustrator for Web Design
Illustrator for Web Design

67 video lessons · 24833 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye
      18s

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