In most disciplines, you need to know the rules before you break them. Typography is no different. There are rules, and following them correctly results in a clean, professional appearance. Breaking them deliberately and correctly can also have nice results, making your type unique and maybe even out-of-the-box brilliant.
To help designers and developers put their best foot forward, we’re happy to present “Tips for Better Typography,” where we’ll cover some basic rules of typography and related tips to help you set type in a way that’s professional and beautiful. Below, we’ll cover some tips and guidelines around line measure, line-height, kerning and special characters.
The width of a body of type, or line length, is also known as the measure. In content-heavy design especially, you don’t want to make your lines of copy too long; it can cause eye fatigue and make the reader lose interest. A good rule of thumb is to limit lines of copy to around 65 characters per line, including space and punctuation. Another good rule of thumb is to increase your leading in proportion to the measure.
As a slightly less than metrosexual guy, I believe there are three key elements a man needs for his overall presentation: a good haircut, a decent watch, and nice shoes. Of course clothes and grooming matter, but these three items are key in presenting ourselves in a way that’s polished, professional—and, let’s face it—pretty.
Let’s extend that analogy to graphic design. There are a few key elements that define a brand, most notably logo, positioning, editorial voice, design approach, and color. Once that’s been established, we’re all ready to go out into the world in the form of a site launch. Right?
June 23rd, 2015 by Richard Turgeon
Wired recently ran a piece entitled Typography is Why Jeb’s Logo is Worse Than a Piece of Crap. I say this in a non-partisan way, but it’s one of those headlines that kind of says it all.
Even though Bush has been using a variation on this logo since 1993, the recently unveiled 2015 version unleashed a new barrage of snark from the design community, with pundits criticizing everything from the typeface (Baskerville) to the exclamation point (“I don’t want to be told to get excited”) to the baseline of the exclamation point. AdWeek fed the flames of the controversy by reposting a bunch of mostly negatively “humorous” takes from the twittersphere.
May 12th, 2015 by Richard Turgeon
The Art of Font Identification
Pretty much every designer has seen a font they love on the web, a billboard, packaging, in a magazine…maybe even in a TV commercial. Maybe it’s an oldie but goodie, or a trendy new font that seems to be showing up just about everywhere. You want exactly that font to use in one of your projects.
The tough part is when you don’t know the font’s name.
We’ve all been there, right? That’s why I recently took an informal poll of some fellow designers on how they “find that font.” I asked them: Do you use a font-identifying website? Consult a “go-to” friend? Do you scour a print catalog hoping you find it? Maybe go about ID’ing through your knowledge of font anatomy?
What I found is that the “correct” is a combination of all of these options, with some interesting nuances in everyone’s unique specifics.
Using FontBook As A Font Identifier
- First “reach out to design buddies” on Skype or IM.
- Second is to scour his personal collection of 3,121 fonts (!) on his Mac for a match.
- Lastly, he browses the FontBook app for iPhone and iPad by FontShop International—the undisputed mother of all printed font catalogs (remember those?)
An overview of tools and techniques for finding your favorite fonts—along with some insights on how to choose the right fonts for your project.
Why Typography Matters
I’ve been fortunate enough to blog about typography for Extensis for the last several years. As a published author, avid reader and designer, I’ve always loved fonts and typography, but my research for this forum in particular has only deepened my respect and appreciation for the art and craft.
With a recent Bloomberg post on this topic, we just had to weigh in on our own picks.
The resume font post heard ‘round the world
Recently Bloomberg published a short list of what their interviewed experts deemed some of the best (and worst) choices for resume fonts. Great idea for a typography-related post, we have to admit—which is evident from the deluge of posts repurposing and referencing the piece.
April 29th, 2015 by Richard Turgeon
In recent years, there have been a number of studies on how powerfully music can affect us. Psychologists and scientists have been looking at the link between music and mood, work efficiency and concentration for years. Music can stimulate learning, improve concentration, enhance cognitive performance, boost productivity, motivation, and endurance, and even affect your memory.
April 9th, 2015 by Richard Turgeon
We’re very excited to announce the release of our all-new FontLink module for Universal Type Server (UTS). FontLink examines and gathers fonts for InDesign documents before they are handed off to InDesign Server, removing manual document processing tasks for output.
To learn more about FontLink, we’d love for you to join us for our free, live webcast, Thursday, April 23, 2015 11:00 a.m. PST, with our own Jim Kidwell. You can learn more, sign up, and register here.
March 18th, 2015 by Richard Turgeon
Dress up your docs with bold typography
For a long time, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint users were forced to choose from a menu of system fonts like Arial, Impact and—for the typographically challenged—the dreaded Comic Sans. No one in corporate America was safe from bland docs and presentations with type set in the same-old, same-old. Even if you installed your own fonts, scrolling down the font menu was still a pain. The tiny display type didn’t help, either.
It doesn’t have to have to be this way anymore.
March 4th, 2015 by Richard Turgeon
Using Extensis Portfolio for social media success
As you may have seen, we recently touted our latest updates to Portfolio, which includes being optimized for OS X Yosemite (v10.10), advanced reporting options, and blazing fast operation.
In this post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at Baylor University’s innovative use of Portfolio to engage their social media audience in real-time.