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What Is Typography?

Learn about typography from graphic design consultant Chanelle Henry in this Howcast video.

Transcript

One of the best parts about design is being able to figure out each element of it, and one of the most important element that sometimes I think we forget about is photography, or fonts, or types. So typography is really also a very vast subject matter which you can study, like the history of fonts.

A beautiful movie called Helvetica teaches you like the history of how Helvetica was even born, and how like back in the day there used to be different like metal presses for each and every single letter. Now it's a little bit easier, now you're just trying to decide, okay, well, which font looks good, and which font is really going to bring my point across? I've always noticed that a lot of people in the natural industry, like to use papyrus which is a no-no. They use it because it looks earthy.

But it's one of those fonts, just like Comic Sans or any other, like Times New Roman, like Wallets, good and it comes on your computer, it's something that you shouldn't use, and it's one of those designer no-nos, that as soon as I see it, I know that pretty much you're an amateur designer. You want to make sure that you study like, the trends of typography.

A really good site is Smashing Magazine, in which they tell you the best fonts that are out there, and they usually do it kind of quarterly, like they tell you the best Script font, the best free fonts, the best Sans-Serifs and Serifs, and those are important to know too.

So a Serif is a font that usually has like the tail, as you'll see here with the P, it's not just straight down, or with the H it has like the little curves and the flairs, whereas a Sans-Serif doesn't have that, it's more so just something like this, where a font, where you don't see like the little tails in the T.

So it's good to know, like you know, when you're trying to do a message, which font best speaks to that message, or which font best speaks to that character. There are a lot of beautiful sites out there, Typography Served which shows you different, like how people are using type in like modern day things, and how it looks, and sometimes there are even free downloads.

There's a lot of font houses, font houses, like Font Shop, or they have beautiful, like, fonts, user fonts that you usually have to pay a lot for, but it's still like beautiful fonts that work well with your design. And then there's free fonts. Fonts Squirrel is a 100% free, and you can use it with a web kit, so that you can actually see these fonts in your website designs, and actually be able just to kind of see like how it's going to look, or how you can utilize it. It lets you test drive the font now, and you can see see how it's going to look, and how big you would want it. It also tells you which licenses you can have.

So, font is something where if you're excited about it, then be excited about it, and learn about it, and you can tell like which fonts go well with each other, which font gives you that feel, which fonts feel more vintage or more modern. Typography is definitely a part of design that should never be ignored.

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