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FAST CLASS: Typography Fundamentals

Lesson 3 of 7

Text vs. Display


FAST CLASS: Typography Fundamentals

Lesson 3 of 7

Text vs. Display


Lesson Info

Text vs. Display

So now that we've looked at a few examples, you've heard me mention, um, text typefaces and display type faces. Eso. Now we're gonna go and and that's it. Sometimes it's a tough distinction, but I'm going to try to give you some generality so you can have a basic understanding of the difference between a text typeface and a display typeface. Text typefaces tend to be more subtle designs. They tend to emphasize ledge ability and readability. Of course, the readability ISMM or something that you are in control of, um, and they tend to have personalities that let let's say, whisper rather than shout. Okay. And that's because the reason you know you want to read a book and not get tired of it after a few pages or not, have it hurt your eyes or something like that. Text faces are meant for ah, lot of reading. Okay, they're not usually what's used to attract the person to the peace to the website, to the movie titles or something like that. They're usually used for when you get into somethin...

g. Display typefaces, also called headline typefaces, tend to or can have because they don't always stronger personalities they can evoke things such as strength, elegance, friendliness. Could be child, child, child like could be danger, like we saw in the other book cover on. And they tend to trade ledge ability for, um, or powerful field the type phases you see on the left, our text typefaces, which doesn't mean they can never be used for display. Okay, I'm just to see the thing that is important to understand is that when a typeface is designed by a type designer, they have a particular usage or size range in mind. So they're designing a text face or they're designing a display face. It might be able to be adapted for a broader range of use, and they might have this in their mind sometimes. So the letter forms might work well for everything. But not always. The things that don't work well for everything that we are going to talk about in the next session on fine tuning and tweaking or finessing is the spacing. Okay, but we'll get into that later. So what you see on the left, you see sand sheriffs and you see, uh, Saref. So Gil Sands is clearly a sands EITC century you can clearly Century stone and office Sina, you could, uh well, not off a sina century, and stone sends. You can clearly see the sheriff's news Gothic Clearly a sands so san serves can be used for text and they can be eligible. Okay, What you will also notice here is they all have a similar Wait, So you're not gonna see? As I said earlier, you're not gonna see an ultra light and ultra thin. You're not going to see a heavy black wait used as a text face because they're harder to read. On the right is a selection of display faces now granted thes air extremely, uh, intricate, decorated, if you will faces with big personalities. That's not to say that every single display face has that news. Gothic is often used for headlines and display as well in the boulder weights. And that's fine. But I'm just giving you an example of the kinds of things that you might see when you're looking for display typefaces. Okay, so they are harder to read. Uh, they have a lot more detail. They do have a lot more personality. Okay, so they might be absolutely appropriate for a particular job that you're looking for. The thing that you have to consider is how many words you need to set. Because what might work for 12 or three words might become really hard to read for three lines of it. Another category we just talked about text on display, but a an ever growing category of typefaces are those that fall under script kala graphic and handwriting, fonts, script and Cala. Graphic fonts can overlap the text and display categories so some can be used for text, and some can be used for display and not too many confused for both. But perhaps, uh, they tend to be, or they can be elegant, formal and classy, especially scripts. Or they can be humanistic, quirky and individualistic. There's really no limit. There's no sort of set look for script in cala graphic funds. They're good for things such as invitations, announcements, headlines, initial letters. I also see them a lot using ads. In fact, I'm gonna show you the whole idea of using something that's a little less formal, like like a little less formal in terms of being and historic, you know, the Catalans and the Gara Manz. I mean, those don't work for everything. So these kinds of faces have a different function in a different purpose and can achieve a different goal. The face is on the left are scripts. And as you can see, there's many different kinds of scripts. Um, they can have a severe slant. They could be very upright like line of script and Redondo and fling. Okay, they can be of a normal with or they could be extremely condensed, such as ball morale or aristocrat. Uh, is Adora is a script, but it's not as formal as something like Edwardian script or being a become script. So you do have a wide variety of scripts to choose from. The typeface is on the right arm or kala graphic, meaning they might have originally been done with a brush They're not. They don't have the same formality as scripts, and these were all all different. Okay, so something like kick clearly it's very strong, very dark, very heavy. Look, great. In certain instances, not gonna look great for 23 lines in the headlines. It's gonna be hard to read. So that's zero. Some of these might not have as much legibility, Um, as others. But they certainly have their own personality. I mean, things like free mouse. Uh, ballerina. Oh, um kendo. They have specific personalities, uh, that if it's right for a job, it could be spot on. If it's wrong for a job, it could just ruin the whole job. So and that's true with any of these. But it's definitely true with the wide range of, um, Kala graphic typefaces that are out there. I'm going to take a moment. I know. I'm using the words font and typeface. It might seem interchangeably. So I want to just stop for a moment and tell you basically the difference, because in some cases they are. They can be used interchangeably. Um, a typeface is actually the design of the letter forms is the design of the glimpse. So when we talk about, you know, I'm mostly going to say typeface because that's the design of that. That the designer has has, uh, has created a font in the digital world is really software. Okay. Ah, font is what you load onto your computer with a font is a digital representation of a typeface in today's world. It was different in the world of metal because in metal type, um ah Font consisted of a complete set of characters at a particular point size. So if you had a font of Castle on, it was nine point, and it was all the characters use for nine point or point or 15 point or 24 point. But in the digital world, it is the digital data or the intellectual property, or the software that you load on your computer so that you can represent the typeface. Okay, so handwriting fonts. Remember I said, There's there's there's scripts and there's kala graphic. Well, handwriting, fonts are a little bit in, uh, a category of their own. Um, when you're deciding on it and higher handwriting fonts have gotten really, really huge. Now you see a lot of them out, and they all have a kind of a similar look, and I'll show you a few. But there's many different styles of handwriting fonts. Um, if you're going to use a handwriting font, you want to check the ledge ability of the caps and the lower case. Sometimes they're not. So ledge a ble and how ledge a bill do you want them to be? And you can't make them more readable. If they're really poor, they don't have a lot of ledge ability. Um, you should view this is extremely important, actually for everything, view them at the required size range. So, for instance, don't just go onto a foundry website and say, Oh, this is the fun I want. This is great. I got an invitation or I haven't and I want to use it for the whole ad because it comes in two weights. That's not good. You need to know if you're gonna use it at, let's say one inch on the cap height and then you need to set something in 14 point. You need to know how it's going to look at all those sizes. Okay, it might not look good at smaller size. It might not be as eligible. It might lose everything. On the other hand, it might look good in a text size and look really blah and have no impact at the large size. So when you're selecting a font or a typeface to use for a job, you should try to get an idea what it's going to look like at the size range, the largest to the smallest handwriting. Fonts are fun to use, but use them with caution because a little goes a long way. Thes air, all some handwriting fonts. Some of them actually did come from People's riel handwriting's that were submitted to me when I was director of typeface development at I T. C. Some people were submitting images that they wanted to become fonts. And for instance, the second one, Delirious was submitted to me by D. Densmore Damico and she This was I mean, people weren't using computers as much she had a whole hand written letter to me about, You know, I'd love to submit this design, and I saw this handwriting and I went, Oh, my God, this is incredible. We have to make a hand. We have to make a font out of that. So ah, lot of what I was doing at that time when I was with I. T. C. Uh um, in that involvement is try to introduce some handwriting's because they weren't a lot in in available at that time that were unique and different, and I mean, that's an interesting story about that but we don't really have time to go into that. So much to say that she had to submit every character in maybe 10 or 12 versions. And then we decided because making a fun, which which is best because writing a handwriting and making a handwriting font or different because you have to have repeated letter forms, you can't have an infinite number of changes. So all of these air different handwriting fonts, the one on the top of the right Claire hand is similar to what you see most often today. There's lots of versions of This is a very popular kind of style, but there's still a lot of different handwriting. Fonts that can work for different jobs could make things very unique. All right, so now we're gonna look at some images of, um, script, kala graphic and handwriting fonts. Um, this is I mean, this is lovely. Here's where the type is not taking. You know, first, it's not not the focal point. It's really it's Maryland, so you can have crazy busy type. Okay, but you can have something super elegant. It's very easy to read. You know what it is? It says it all. It says it very elegantly and very simply combining. It's also a nice pairing off. They I don't know if you called it. Yeah, I call this a handwriting font. You see, it goes with something very simple. A lot of white space. This is actually this was done. This is a font. Okay, if you look at some of the repeated letters, um, it's called smack designed by Jill Bell. And this is I know this is old music already, but these were all fonts, and it looks great. So here it's not about being super eligible. You could read counting crows. The subhead is a little harder to read. Doesn't matter. It's about getting the feel of the music thes air, some of, um, or current handwriting fonts from actually promotions on the web. So if you go to enough of websites or web or type foundries and sites like that, you're probably going to see these. If you go to enough of these either type foundry websites, they do really cool graphics to promote the typefaces, so they give you ideas on how to use them. Okay, um, just because we're talking about typography doesn't mean it's all about fonts. Okay, Sometimes the best fund for a job isn't a fun. Sometimes it's hand lettering. Okay. Some projects require a type treatment that cannot be achieved within existing font. Sometimes the skill of a lettering artist or a calligrapher might be the best approach. So here's some examples. This is something done by Jill Bell. I don't even think I have to explain why this would be pretty much impossible to do with fonts, even if you had fancy fonts, because there's so everything is so interrelated and intertwined. Another piece she did. While there might be a font more easily created out of this look, if you start reducing characters and enlarging other characters, you're gonna have some that are heavy. Some that are light eso. Something like this, um, might be better given to a hand letter. Love this piece. She also did this, so this is not meant for Children. Okay, this is for parents to sell them on a particular language program that teaches, um, students to work at their own pace. Okay, so it's about it's about talking to the individuality and different learning needs of Children. So what she did is. She thought about it and she set this piece. And she does all these handwriting's herself. I don't know. I I don't even have one good handwriting. And she's got like, you know, zillions of them. Okay, So extremely clever. You can read it. You does give the message. It's definitely illustrates the message of individuality of you somebody's Children. So I think it's a brilliant solution. Uh, Gerardo Huerta is extremely talented. A lettering artist. Again, this is a logo, um, which would be very hard pressed to do like this, using any font, a little hard to see, but I think you get that. This is a highly decorated Spend Syrian, a treatment not overly complicated, but things are on an angle on. But if you don't want to use the slanting tool of your software, which we'll talk about later because that distorts shapes. But even in the word brand, the D is smaller than the A, and that's not something easy to do. Sometimes if you want things going on an angle, the best way to get them toe look good is to have it done by a lettering artist. Very cool. Uh, handwriting done by the illustrator of the image. Um, the Ole. You know what I know? That's hand done. It could you could make that of tourney paper and scan it. I mean, there's so many ways to be creative with type that I also encourage people don't necessarily stick to typefaces. If you feel inclined to experiment with doing something like this, um, a piece done for a paper company, which means you have a lot of freedom. Ah, question of identity. Okay, so this was done as part of one of the pages, and this was hand lettering, but it speaks to the message. Who am I? What defines me? You know what makes me different? So it wouldn't Wouldn't really work if it was just said in the castle on or Garry Mahon. Here it is being set individually so that it's illustrating the concept of why are we different? Um, for illustrators, try your hand it. Integrating your own type into your pieces. Beautiful invitation for UNAIDS fund raiser. Eso Clearly we you know, we know what the red ribbon is and we see the clinking glasses. So you you know what it is. But then all the important information is integrated into the ribbon by hand. Hand lettering. Okay, Another again. Thesis. A poster. This is a concert poster. How cool is that? This is something I found recently in a magazine. And I said, Well, I think this is hand. I'm pretty sure this is hand lettering. I don't think this is a fawn. Um, but it actually I mean, it works well from a design perspective to combine the typeface. You know, the actual typeface treatment with a little bit of hand lettering. So it's almost like we're gonna We're writing in our own making alterations to a recipe. Um, Another instance of one page of an editorial spread. And these are things I will say. You don't always have to hire lettering. Artist. If you're interested. And you're brave enough, try some of this on your own. You might be able to do it. You might surprise yourself. You might have a sister or a friend, a partner or a mother who you just say, you know, write this stuff out. You have a cool handwriting. Maybe I could turn it into a type treatment. So, you know, go crazy. Sometimes. Try things different this is another again. Cool it in your dreams with with this with the, you know, the headline. And I guess you'd call it a pull quote perhaps, um, it totally makes this spread. If this were sent a set in a traditional fund, it probably would be a lot more boring.

Class Description


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Full-length class: Typography Fundamentals with Ilene Strizver

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  • Select the best typefaces for your design
  • Work efficiently with OpenType
  • Think and approach projects like a type designer
  • Identify and remedy common type crimes


Typography is an essential element of design: it should communicate your message effectively, and with purpose. Yet, even professional graphic designers can lack the “eye” and deeper understanding of type aesthetics.

In Typography Fundamentals, author, educator, and expert Ilene Strizver teaches you how to take full advantage of the power of type. You’ll learn not only the fundamentals of typographic design, but also how to “see” type through new eyes - all to make more sophisticated type choices that will open doors and set your work apart.

With your enrollment in Ilene’s class, you’ll also receive access to a webinar hosted by renowned designer Gerard Huerta.

Check out Ilene’s related course, Advanced Typography: Fine Tuning & Finessing.


This class is designed for creative professionals of all levels working with type, whether you are brand new, or just want to build on your existing knowledge and fill in the gaps. In-house design teams, web developers, motion graphic designers, recent graduates, freelancers and illustrators working with type: don’t miss your chance to learn from one of the most respected educators in the field.