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Design Fundamentals: Typography

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Class Introduction and Typography Basics

Justin Seeley

Design Fundamentals: Typography

Justin Seeley

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction and Typography Basics

Lesson Info

Class Introduction and Typography Basics

Hey there. I'm Justin Seeley, and I want to welcome you to this course on typography type is one of my favorite facets of graphic design. I'm really excited to talk about it here with you. What we're gonna talk about first is just the basics of typography. We're gonna talk about how type affects our brain, what makes up good and bad. Typography also explained some key terms and definitions that you need to know before you get started with type. Then throughout the rest of this course will talk about actual workflow of typography. Talk about how I find different typefaces, that I like how to pair them together, how I create a type palette and a whole lot more. It's go ahead and get started. So when we think about typography, typography is the art of creating, setting and styling. Text on a page could be a business card, a flyer, even a billboard. Doesn't matter. Typography and it really is an art form. And I truly believe that typography is not easy. It's somewhat difficult, actually. A...

nd knowing all of the subtle nuances that go along with it is something that you need to be prepared to study in depth if you want to get really good at it. So why is type so important? Well, type is essentially what tells the story around the design piece that you've created. Most of the time. You'll have some sort of imagery incorporated into your design in some way, shape or form. That might be a logo. It might be an actual photograph, but at the end of the day, it's the text that tells the story. The text needs to be well written. It needs to be easily read. There are a lot of things that go into making that happen, though. Let's take a look at some of them. Type impacts emotions based on how you said it. So you can create type that makes people happy. You can create type that makes people angry. You could even create type that makes people sad. Choosing the right typeface for the project you're working on is very important, almost like color is very important because it's going to affect the way people emotionally respond to whatever it is you're showing them. When we talk about positive typography, we're thinking about things like thin serif typefaces. This would be something kind of like times New Roman, for instance. It's a very common type face. A lot of people use it, especially in documents that you have to sign. I've ever filled out a contractor bought a home or something like that. You've probably seen a type face similar to that because they don't want those to be daunting task. They want those to be easily read. They want them to be somewhat lighthearted, and so that's why they choose typefaces like that for those types of documents. Round typefaces also come with a sense of joy and humor. You've seen like bubble typefaces and things like that, almost like not necessarily a novelty typeface, but just rounded, like maybe aerial rounded or Helvetica rounded all those different types of typefaces. They are very, very light hearted and fun, and you see them a lot on things like birthday cards, invitations, cartoons use a lot of rounded typefaces, and all of those things are meant to evoke that positive reaction from the audience. Novelty typefaces, which some can look like the rounded typefaces I just spoke about novelty typefaces are ones that mimic like famous logos or typefaces that people have created by hand. You've also got novelty typefaces like ding bats and Web dings and stuff like that. All of those different types of typefaces are very just humorous in nature, almost comical. In some cases, you've seen lots of tight fit. The one that gets the most flak from everybody is comic Sands. That's a that's a novelty typeface. If I've ever seen one, and those are all meant to bring up the mood a little bit, it's not meant to be serious. It's not meant to be, you know, putting things into ah, really strict box. It's all about having fun. Flourishes is another thing that makes for really upbeat typography. Think about a wedding invitation when you see a wedding invitation. Chances are it's got some whimsical flourishes on some of the letters. Whether that's a why or maybe the tale of a W or something like that. All of those have some sort of flourish on them. Generally, you'll see that a lot in hand lettering as well. People who draw letters by hand tend to do use flourishes quite a bit. They do that because that is a positive thing. It evokes a positive reaction from the audience. And then last but not least, that goes along with the flourishes that we talked about script, typefaces, script typefaces are really popular, and they're gaining steam in today's day and age. I'm not sure why, but it's an interesting thing to keep an eye on the script. Typefaces are usually, in my opinion, a little harder to read, but they also come with some really cool styling that really appeals to the I. So I include them in the positive typography category. Now what about negative typography? Things that people don't like? Well, fix strokes. That is something that a lot of people don't like. And we'll talk about that when we talk about slab serif sin just a little while. But basically thick typography is oftentimes hard to read. It's also, if you get too tight of a current in between two characters, things can bleed together, and often times thicker type is sort of signifying someone being overbearing, strong. That kind of thing might be mean in some cases, so you just gotta watch out for that harsh lines. That's like if you're using a grunge type face of some sort and It's got really harsh scratch lines, or it's got a lot of like erosion or grunge attached to it, that kind of thing. Harsh lines can be very off putting to a lot of people all caps if you're in. If a child over the Internet generation, you know that all caps means you're yelling at somebody, don't use all caps. If you can help it now and some of these slides here, you can see that I've used all caps for the headings like negative typography. In some cases, it's okay to use that. If it's a point of emphasis, you just don't want to use all caps for the body of a letter or for the the main part of a menu. Let's say that at a restaurant, nobody wants to read that. It's hard to read Number one and number two. In the day and age that we live in. People are gonna kind of equate that with you screaming at them. That's never a good thing. Messy handwriting. If you are a hand lettering person, you gotta have good handwriting. And if you're using a lettering type font, you have to make sure that it's clean you've got to make sure that it's easily readable. That's the big thing. Ledge ability with typography is the most important thing above all else. Above styling above color. Anything else. Readability is the ultimate thing. You have to pay attention to ransom style. You'll see a little example of this here in just a minute, but it's basically like using a mix of multiple typefaces at one time or using a typeface that's actually meant to look like a ransom note. And if you don't know what that means, you should probably go and watch some movies where people get kidnapped because they have all these little things where they cut him out of magazines. They stick them on a piece of paper and just looks like a hodgepodge, if you will, of all these different typefaces and the example I show you here in just a moment, you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. But that kind of creeps people out. It gives them a sense of uneasiness. It's not. It's not good. And then finally, tight typefaces know what I mean by tight. I mean very thin typeface is not necessarily the strokes or thin, but the letters themselves are actually compressed and anything that's really tightly current together to the point where you can't read in between. It just kind of bleeds through when we talk about examples of good and bad typography here in just a moment, I'll show you some examples of letters that are too tightly current, and you'll see that it's harder to read, and it just kind of get a squint at it like that, and then that's automatically gonna make you upset. This is a little quote that I think you should remember. Here. Type is used to convey information, and it needs to be readable, poorly set typography, regardless of its context or its meaning. It generates a negative connotation or a negative emotional response. You always need to keep that in the back of your head, no matter what the context of the type. I don't care if the theme is a ransom note. Don't use ransom type. It just doesn't It doesn't fit. So you've got to make sure that no matter the context, your text is completely readable so that the viewer can look at it, scan it, understand it and move on. Now type does need context. Type has to be corresponding to something. It has to make sense in the context that you're using it. For instance, Take a look at this. Would you love to have a birthday invitation that looks like this? Now it looks like something straight out of a horror movie. But this is something that is a great example of the context of this is way off. Happy birthday. That's not necessarily a bad thing to say to somebody saying Happy Birthday with an eroded typeface and maybe some stuff dripping from the top, they're not exactly a good thing. Ah, the ransom typeface Number one. It's really poorly done in terms. Off contrast, you've got white on a pink background, and then the typeface itself is very ransom. No dish for lack of a better term. You can see here it's just kind of a mixture of all different typefaces. Looks like it's cut out of a magazine. Some of them look like they've been rubber stamped, and it's all in capital letters. I'm breaking literally like all the rules that I just talked about in one slide here, you can also see if you can read it that it tells you you're cordially invited to the wedding of Jim and Heidi on Saturday, october 4th 2018. I don't think Jim and Heidi, you're gonna be very excited about these invitations, though, because this is more like I need a $1,000,000 or I won't return your dog kind of thing. Not good. All right, let's talk about some examples of good typography and bad typography. This is something that I do all the time. I walk down the street or I'm driving in the car, riding on a bus wherever I am, And I'm constantly looking at typography. Whether that's on a movie poster, an ad that I see on a billboard, big screens that I passed by, like in Tennessee. We have a big football stadium. They've always got ads running outside of it, and I'm always looking at the typography, and most of the time the ads are great because they have professionals doing it. But sometimes they do make mistakes. They have something that's too far current apart, or they've got something that has too much letting their lots of ways that you can screw up your typography. But they're also some examples of good ones. Tip single. Get this. When you look at this, this is a poster for New York and the typography itself. At first glance, might not look that great, but it is really good in my opinion. Number one, it's big. It's bold and has contrast from the background, which is really important, even though it's got an effect, apply to it where it looks like it's being hidden behind some trees and things like that. You can still read it. You can look at this and immediately know that it says New York This city never sleeps, and also the grunge texture is not overly done. So it's very nice accented there very nicely. Accent. Excuse me, and I just think this is a really good example. This is good typography. Everything is well spaced. The only thing that I might change, and I don't know if you can see this or not. But take a look at the word York in the word York, the letter y and the letter. Oh, there's too much space in between those two characters now, Kern ing. These characters would take care of that very quickly. My problem is is that it looks like the why is just kind of hanging out by itself. We don't want that. We want that to be one cohesive piece. So while this is a great example of well done stylized typography, there is just that one thing. And that was the first thing I thought of when I saw it was the Why is just hanging out by itself. And as you start to study the principles of typography and understand what makes good and bad type, you'll be able to spot that, too. And once you see it, you can't unsee it and you're probably drive all your friend's crazy just like I do, because I'm always pointing stuff out, whether it's on a movie, poster or whatever, where if we are done it in bars, even where I'm just like, Oh, that's a poorly currently like dude. It's an ad for music lessons. Let it go. Here is the example of too tight of, uh, this is the example of too tightly current typography. This is way too tight, as you can see here, the type at the top all and then the things must come to end. Those are all fine. Everything. There is completely fine. No current problems with the brown letters in this slide. The red letters, however, not good for me. The word bad runs together, and so does the word end, almost to the point where it's hard to tell the difference between the two. If it weren't for the crossbar on the A, I wouldn't even know that that's an A at the top because everything just bleeds together. That's what you want to avoid. You want to avoid things bleeding together. Letters should have a relationship with the other letters around them, but they should also stand on their own so that they're easily translated. So I would just kind of spread these out a little bit. That's not to say you can't have tightly current letters. Absolutely, you can, but you need to be able to read and identify each individual letter so that when someone's scanning across it, they can easily tell what it is that you've written out. Here's an example of some hand lettering, and while it is a really cool design, it's very difficult to read. When I first opened this up, I looked at it and I had to kind of turn my head and squint. I couldn't even tell that it was actually type. And so it actually says All we need is love. Well, that's true. But I'm not feeling a whole lot of love for this particular design here, mainly because everything just really just lays on top of itself. It's very hard to discern the individual letters from this. That's not to say that this isn't a good idea in concept. What I might do, instead of laying it out like this, would be to actually have the shape of the heart and then maybe a little bit more spacing. In between the letters and words, I might even go away from having the letters kind of move and bleed into one another. Like if you see the L in the word, all that comes down into the word need that is a little unnecessary. I think it's great to Blake. Break the plane every once in a while. That's not a big deal, but in this case I think that we're just getting too close. Two other things were just kind of mashing everything together, and if you're looking at this from a distance. It's just all gonna bleed together. It's gonna look like a heart. There's not gonna be any way to tell exactly what it sounds. Here's another good example of typography. Work hard, Stay humble. This is something actually have this sticker on the back of my car and the work hard stay humble mantra has been around for a long time. But this is a great example of well laid out typography you can see here. This is an example of things that are bleeding into one another that are still easily readable. So if you take a look at the word work, it comes down. It breaks the plane of the word hard at the top there. But they've created some space in between there almost like a little gap, so that you can still see the letter forms very easily. The work hard and stay those air connected in several different ways. Look at this stem coming off of the are right into the a center of the y. All of that is very, very connected, but you can still tell exactly what it says and then towards the bottom. There the word humble the you goes into the S and stay. You've also got the stem of the A going down into the M. There are a lot of stuff happening in here, and if you take the time to study it, this is a great example of how this type of things should work. So how do we connect letters together? Why would we do that? What type of spatial relationship is needed to make sure that everything is still readable and able to be understood? My recommendation to you, if you're trying to start off learning typography, is to go out into the world, find posters, find pictures, find business cards, find anything you can get your hands on, lay them out on a piece of paper or on a table and take pictures of them whatever you need to do and then take a look at everything that you've looked at and study each one. Which ones are easily read? Which ones do you have trouble understanding? At first glance, which ones do you think automatically? You're like, Wow, that's a great job that they did there and I would group those into categories hard to read, no contrast. Great. Lay out that kind of thing and then start to understand why you feel that way. You might think OK, this is not easily readable because everything bleeds together. It's too tightly current, but this is really good because it's got great contrast. They use great typeface center and what I do. I do this all the time. I create all these little groups and I break it down. I'm like, OK, this is a good idea that I could incorporate into another project I'm working on, but I see why this is bad, and I also see a little bit of that in this project that I'm working on. So I need to fix that. I use real world examples of things I find every day to help me fix or to help me enhance the projects that I'm working on it in given time, it's a great way to find inspiration. Here's an example of good typography that has bad styling. Take a look at the left hand side of this demonstration here. The overall design is great, right? They enjoy the little things. Typography is very well done. Everything is well spaced. It mixes a lot of different types of typefaces. It's got serif Sand Saref since also got some scripting in there. It's very well done. But the one on the left has a huge problem. Contrast. There is none. As you can see there, everything just kind of fades into the background. Almost impossible to read, especially at a distance. That's something that you don't want to have happen. Don't sacrifice good typography, too bad design choices and a bad design choice, as you probably saw if you watched. My color course is having not enough contrast in the colors. You don't want things to get muddy. You want things to be very clear, very clean. And that one on the left. Not so much. Look at the one on the right. It's the exact same image. But this time we've changed the colors up. We've added some red to contrast with the blue and the white. We've added some yellow. We've also changed the bottom text, the white completely. Everything looks really good in this one. I think that's a great example of how styling can really make or break well laid out typography, because at the end of the day it could be as pretty as you wanted to be in the basic layout form. But when you start laying on the coats of paint, you could really do damage. All right, this is another example of bad typography. Now this picture here, it's supposed to say what graphics or something similar to the word graphics. However, they've got a lot of stuff going on in here. Too many colors, everything's on top of each other. They've incorporated grunge texture, and they've also got other words and letters in the composition that aren't ghosted there just laid over the top of it so we can't see the actual word that we're trying to read, and the rest of the letters really mean nothing. So we need to make sure that those background elements stay in the background. We need to make sure that the colors we choose for our letters actually help the letters stand out or create contrast from the background. We've got decent contrast, right? The background is completely dark, which is good. The colors are very light and bright, but they're so much going on here that it's almost confusing when you look at it. So you have to make sure that when you're making a artistic choice for something like this, that you still consider the fact that somebody might look at it and have no idea what's going on, so you really need to pay close attention to that.

Class Description

Well-organized typography is an integral part of good graphic design. Learn how to do it right in Graphic Design: Typography with Justin Seeley. He will take you through the basics of Typefaces, fonts, and the anatomy of letter forms.

Justin will teach you how to work with type so it accurately and beautifully conveys information.

You’ll learn about:

  • Key Typography Terms
  • Anatomy of Type
  • Placement and Arrangement
  • Ensuring Readability
  • The Psychology of Type

You’ll get all the basics for working with type and get helpful insights on developing layouts, improving legibility, and adding details.

Every designer works with type – learn the rules for how type influences our perception, and how to get it right every time Graphic Design Fundamentals: Type with Justin Seeley.

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I found it an excellent and complete introduction to a difficult subject! I amply recommend it. Laura

a Creativelive Student

Constance Stickler