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Why is typography so important?

15/05/12

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These days when you hear about design for communication, for a purpose, for visual stimulation and graphics, you are bound to hear the term ‘typography,’ with a significant weighting to its mention. Many may still be unsure as to why typography is so respected and paramount in design nowadays. It has become a design entity and method in itself, especially in this age whereby its evolution and the development of its usages and available style has become so vast.

Typography is a design element to consider; it is the technique and arrangement of type within a composition. You must respect its parameters, boundaries, impact and message. It must always suit its purpose- for example match and portray a relevant message to the subject matter it is handling. There is no point applying a thin stemmed, embellished, script typeface to a protest poster now, is there? There has been an array of typefaces designed which may have stemmed from initial sketches and drawings of letters, to mark making, to seeing something in everyday occurrences that resembles lettering, to taking inspiration from some of the neutral default fonts of computer software. The possibilities of how it is created or how an idea is born are endless. Typography is important in conveying. You have to think ‘If typography wasn’t there, would the design you are using it in, still make an impact or fit its purpose?’

Typography not only deals with aesthetics, it also deals with content. Having a double purpose means clarity on different levels of communicating information. Like stated before, it should portray a message that connects with its theme or genre, but it also should have clarity of written meaning. The metaphorical and literal meanings can have a nice balance and relationship in typography! The beauty of typography means it does not always have to be straightforward or direct, as long as its design and usage, affects its audience in the desired way. Take a look at the example below on a clever use of typography, whereby meaning is not obvious, yet it is intelligent.

Typography can also be how you arrange it on the page; its positioning

from welovetypography.com

-Its involvement in composition

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by Ismael Fino on behance.net

-Its style

by Atelier van Wageningen: Sjablony (character set) for Novo Typo from Itsnicethat.com

-Its size

by Aaron Carambula from welovetypography.com

-Its link or interaction to other elements and itself

by Kissmiklos on behance.net

-Its weight

from designm.a.g

-Its spacing between letters, kerning and scale

by Petra Bindel from welovetypography.com

-Its colour or pattern

by Deanne Cheuk from welovetypography.com

and many more techniques that make it a design article.