Join John McWade for an in-depth discussion in this video Use it sparingly, part of Learning to Set Display Type.
- Generally speaking, display type is for show, so you want to use it sparingly for just a word or two. That's how we most often see it, on packaging and logos, and posters, and so on. It's not designed for lengthy reading. Think of it this way: display type attracts, and text type explains. Here's an example of that. It's a page from a concert program, and only our performer's name is set in script, but it's perfect.
It's there to attract you and set a breathless mood. That's it's job, and it's done. If you tried using it for more than that, it would be overwhelming. So the rest of the page is set in a complimentary text face. You can use display type for longer passages, a few sentences, maybe a paragraph, with a few caveats. First is that you're willing to sacrifice readability for artistry. Two, the face should be fairly conservative, and three, make it bigger than usual.
This setting meets these requirements. Poor Richard is a good example of a storybook typeface. It's fairly conservative, it's only a few sentences, and it's fairly big. To use display type in a long document like a book, use it first on the cover or title page. That sets the scene. Then to carry that look throughout the book, you can use it for small page folios, and for chapter headings. That's all it takes.
Sometimes that's too much if there are a lot of them or they're long, in which case you could use it just for drop caps, more like this. So to summarize, display type has both form and function. Often its form is its function. We associate its look with other things, and it needs to be used sparingly.
Join John McWade as he explains how to design in a variety of styles and voices using display type, which is type that's set at headline size and above. He discusses type families that include strikingly expressive characters, shows how to combine typefaces, shares how to avoid common design flaws, and takes you through working with type in photos. This art form is applicable to print advertising, brochures, magazines, posters, fliers, slide decks, and much more.
- What is display type?
- Form vs. function
- Setting display type
- Combining typefaces
- Tightening or loosening a setting
- Using display type with images
- Avoiding common mistakes
- Typographic voice