Archive for May, 2011
What can I do to improve how my type looks? I’m glad you asked. Here are five tips you can use that will instantly make your type look better.
Kerning is the space between letters. When your kerning is all helter skelter, things just look “off” and you might not be able to put your finger on the issue right away. It brings an unnecessary tension to what you’re designing. In most design programs you can adjust the kerning between letters. Below is an example of good vs. bad kerning. In the top example, I went a little out of my way to create bad kerning for example’s sake. As you can see there are letters that are too close together as well as too far apart confusing the eye and the mind. The bottom shows how nice the text looks with proper kerning. It is easier to read and understand.
Beware of two round letters next to each other such as “bo,” “oc” or “oo.” Two round letters will optically look like they’re further apart when they’re really not. You might kern them closer together a little to offset that. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Just don’t beat it to death.
Tip: If you’re using the Adobe Creative Suite, try selecting all your text using the “Optical Kerning” setting. You’ll find this is a quick and easy way to make your kerning look sharp.
2. Use fonts within the same typeface
If you want a nice unified look within your design, you should try sticking with one typeface and using the different font variations within the typeface. For example, the typeface would be Gotham and you would use the different font variations of bold, light, italic or otherwise. You might try using the standard weight font for all your normal copy and a bold or heavy weight for headers. You could use an italic or oblique font for emphasis or quotes. Here’s an example:
3. Use a contrasting typeface
Building off the last tip, something else you might try is to use a contrasting typeface. When using different typefaces together it’s a good rule of thumb to use no more than two together. Also, make sure you don’t use two that look similar to each other. People might think it is a mistake. You’re going for contrast here, so make it look different. Since above I used Gotham, a sans serif typeface, I’ll pick something that has serifs. I’ll use Minion Pro for the subhead to contrast the Gotham main copy.
4. Use a contrasting size
Using contrasting sizes in your designs in general can help to add visual interest. Try using that principle in your type. To really go all out, try doubling the size from the main copy.
5. Add some color
Finally, this may not come as a surprise, but hey! Add some color into the mix. See my last post about Kuler to help you out.
What have you done to try and make your type stand out? Let’s hear it in the comments!