Learn about some guidelines for working with type.
- [Instructor] Here are some guidelines that you could work to. They're general rules of thumb really. Headlines should always be large and placed prominently on the page. Now, conventionally that's at the top but it doesn't necessarily have to be there, they could be down the margin or in one of the thirds. It depends what you're working on. If you're in a magazine where they have exceptions to many, many rules in the magazine world, you'll have a lot more latitude to play with it.
But remember what the purpose of a headline is. It's to inform the reader and to some degree entice the reader to consume the text below, so know what it's about and then to read it. A typeface that is not truly legible is not truly a typeface and that is very, very true. There are some really out there for want of a better phrase typefaces that exist but they really meant for use on things like posters, maybe premises display signs and those things where they're being used more of an image in fact, type as an image which is a thing, it's not something I'm just saying, it is actually a thing bu that's what they're there for.
So, don't try and use something like that in main copy, headline copy and so on of a document because your reader will just be confused by it, they won't consume the text and you're defeating your own objective. Limit the number of typefaces in your document to three at most and when you're starting out cut that down to two. In fact, try and keep it to two throughout the entire length of your career unless you're doing something again in a magazine for a particular reason or going retro circus poster or whatever, three is the absolute maximum.
It is possible to create beautiful documents with a single typeface that has many, many fonts inside of it, so Myriad for example, one from the Adobe type library that's installed with the Creative Cloud apps, that has several font variants inside of there with many, many weights that you could use to change your hierarchy and to make that clear and to do all of the decoration necessary with your text. Never set the text or body copy as it may be referred to of a document in capitals.
At most, one line of caps should be as far as it goes and if you're using small caps, that's where you get proportionally scaled uppercase letters to replace the lowercase text, only use fonts that have those actual glyph shapes in them. Many softwares actually offer ways to fake that by scaling down the capital letters to a smaller size but it's really obvious to people who love type and people notice far more than you think.
Keep your measure between 45 and 75 characters per line, that's what the word measure means in typography. It's really all about the journey that the eye takes to read a line and skip to the next one which is why newspapers are set into columns so that you can skip backwards and forwards with just small movements to read the text rather than spanning the entire width of a page, so 45 to 75 is a pretty good rule of thumb to have a decent measure of text.
Readability is one of the main purposes of typography. If you're using smaller text, then use fonts that have decent X-heights and use good spacing to optimize the readability of that text. Remember what we were talking about a moment or two ago in the character measure. It is all about readability. You have to look at it from the perspective of your reader and make it easy for them to consume the text and by extension for you to achieve your objective in communication.
Always think really hard about using fully justified text. That's sometimes called forced justified text and it's where the characters meet at the ends of every line. In small doses, I think that can be really, really impactful but you'd need quite some skill to make it work over larger lengths of text. And what you want to avoid are the rivers, those are the big gaps that you see appearing inside of paragraphs when the characters and the word spacing are being modified to make sure that there's a character on the far left and the far right of a column.
Just think really hard about having to use that because it can look just as awful as it can be impactful. In terms of size, body text should be between 10 and 12 points in print and 15 to 25 on the web. If I recall correctly, the browser default is 16 on there but again, that's a good size for a reader. You don't want people squinting or straining to see text and the spacing in between text should be at least 120% of the text size and at most 145%.
So, just as an example, if we were using 10-point text, 120% of that would be 12 point as the interlinear space or leading size and 145% would be 14.5. Just get the spacing nice. Again, it's about the transit of the eye across the text. Jumping across big gaps between lines can be just as wearing as overly long measures and in fact, it can look worse because you don't know if the things are actually related to one another.
Finally, rules are made to be bent and broken. If you can justify it, if you've got a reason to do it and you believe in it, then bend and break those rules. That's how great things sometimes happen but you always need to consider why you're doing these things. Don't just do it and you may need to justify it to the person who pays the bill.
- The creative process
- Layout and composition
- Transforming images and assets in Photoshop
- Drawing logos in Illustrator
- Designing graphics and documents in InDesign