Join Ina Saltz for an in-depth discussion in this video The theory of typographic relativity, part of Foundations of Typography.
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I'd like to talk about an important concept in typography, which is the role of proper proportions, or as I like to call it, the Typographic Theory of Relativity. This theory applies to everything you design using type. This is about the way in which typographic elements interact with each other. A successful design has many parts and those parts all exist in relation to one another. For example, if you are following a recipe when you're preparing a meal, and you decide to change the amount of one of the ingredients, you have to also change the amounts of the other ingredients in proportion.
The relationships of all of the ingredients to one another is a key factor in how they interact to create a balance of flavors. Put another way, every ingredient has an effect on every other ingredient. Another example of the Theory of Relativity is the feeling you get when you walk into a well-designed room. You feel comforted by the flow of space in the room. Its proportions, surfaces, colors, and shapes, and all of its furnishings, accessories, and lighting appear to go together seamlessly.
It's not random, it's not an accident, it's the sum total of good decision-making and an understanding of how every element interacts with every other element. Type is like that too. Typographic elements exist in a relationship to one another. They must be balanced in size, weight, position, orientation. There must be balance among styles, colors, and other factors in order to clearly communicate your message. Everything in your design exists in relation to everything else.
That is what I mean by the Typographic Theory of Relativity.
- 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