Fundamentals of Typography

This week’s chapter from Graphic Design School focused exclusively on typography. While a type enthusiast should have a pretty complete knowledge on this subject, for the purposes of this blog I’m just going to touch on some good basics.

The first thing the chapter offered was how to understand and select typefaces. Since there are a vast majority of different fonts out there (even Microsoft Word has well over a hundred different fonts to choose from) finding just the right typeface can sometimes be challenging. The first thing you probably should know is the difference between a serif and a sans serif font. A serif is “a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter in certain typefaces.” A serif font is historically older and the serifs are there to mimic brush strokes and are supposedly easier to read in body text while sans serif fonts are much newer and have a more modern aesthetic. 

Here is a great infographic about the different parts that make up a letterform. While it is interesting to know all of them, specifically make sure you at least can see what a serif is. (source)

Here is a great infographic about the different parts that make up a letterform. While it is interesting to know all of them, specifically make sure you at least can see what a serif is. (source)

There are also many different classifications of type such as blackletter, oldstyle, script, transitional, modern, square serif, serif, and sans serif. It is important to know the difference between the different subgroups and when it would be appropriate to use such since they all have such different aesthetics and tones to them. For example, for a wedding invitation you might prefer to use a script font because they often evoke elegance and formality while blackletter might not be such a good choice because it is much more dramatic and somewhat old fashioned (unless of course, that’s the look you’re going for!).

Here are seven different fonts I selected to show a variety of the different type faces there are out there. Notice the differences between them and contemplate why a certain style might be a good choice for typographic reason but maybe not for something else.

 

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