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Aside from whitespace, typography is a designer's best friend turning ordinary words into creative works of art. But typography skills include much more than artistic lettering, they’re an essential part of making sure text is readable. Typography provides a visual hierarchy that draws attention to the right details and guides viewers as they take in information. Finding the right balance for typography elements can impact the accessibility of a design as much as the artistic value.
Many typographical elements are vectors. Vector fonts are common in graphic design because they offer the same effortless scalability as vector graphics. They make an easy choice for text elements that must remain legible and fit into a predefined visual space. There's more to vector typography and fonts than you may realize. Let's check out what you need to know.
Typography is the art of lettering, specifically involving typefaces, point sizes, and line spacing to create an appealing visual arrangement of both artistic and legible letters. Similar to other types of digital art, fonts are categorized as either raster files or vector files.
Fonts stored as a bitmap or raster image contain a collection of pixels that become distorted when resizing the fonts. When working with these files, designers will need to create separate assets for each application to accommodate resizing. On the other hand, a vector font offers full scalability using a text file containing a series of points and lines alongside mathematical equations that enable proportional scaling.
Raster images can be thought of as seeing only the top layer of a design, similar to a carefully painted canvas where background colors were carefully selected to produce the desired final masterpiece. There is no going back and editing the layers underneath the inside of a raster file. This file type stores image data as pixels, making it very difficult to manipulate individual objects once combined.
Typography is the art of blending written words with creative design to design an attractive and easy-to-read visual element. Typography adds a little pizazz to written words. As a designer, you'll dive into the aesthetics of using typefaces in your creative assets. Here are a few fundamental elements you'll need to know to work with typography.
A typeface is a collection of characters, or glyphs, created in a specific design aesthetic. Within each typeface, the characters will portray similar visual features and proportional sizing so that the entire collection presents a cohesive look. Functionally, typefaces are categorized as either serif or sans serif fonts. The difference is simple. Serif fonts contain decorative lines or tapers called serifs, while sans serif fonts do not contain these elements.
Next to letter shape and proportion, letter spacing is key to creating a legible font. When the letter spacing is off-kilter, the brain must work harder to read the text due to the visual density. Letter spacing too close or too far apart is difficult to read, detracting from the overall design appeal.
Letter kerning is the visual space between letters in a font. While typeface designers will set letter spacing, there are times when a designer will want to adjust the spacing using manual kerning to accommodate a specific design application. The spacing and, more specifically, the need to adjust spacing while designing is something that the layperson doesn't consider. However, as a designer, kerning and letter spacing will be a constant variable in your design work.
In creative applications, manual kerning can be used to arrange letters of different proportions using placement and overlapping to create visual appeal.
Like all visual elements in a design, font contrast is important in creating visibility that makes your design legible. Contrast is the visual balance between the typographical elements in the foreground of the design against the color in the background. When it comes to creating good design for the modern digital world, appropriate contrast is an essential design element for aesthetics and accessibility.
Language makes up a big part of how we communicate, and in graphic design, typography helps turn language into artistic design elements. Designers will encounter typography elements often, specifically while creating logos, marketing materials, and web design.
Logos are an essential part of branding a business. These high-value visual assets can make or break a business, so designers often find a lucrative entry point into a design career by creating logos. Effective logo designs are legible and unique, identifying the business with visual design elements and language. Logos are also displayed in a variety of sizes across many different formats in both digital and print forms. Vector typography is a critical element in logo design.
Marketing flyers for events, promotions, and products must strike a balance between conveying information and providing an appealing visual experience. Choosing the right fonts to achieve both is the basis for great design. If the imagery is too distracting, the information in the flyer will be lost. And if the design is too simplistic, the information will be ignored.
Marketing materials come in all sizes–from mobile-friendly digital designs to large format building signage. Larger designs require more than scalability; they require simplicity. For example, a billboard is viewed in a passing glimpse as a driver travels the roadway. Using a clear, legible font selection and simple language is important for conveying the message. Vector fonts are ideal for large format language communication.
Many designers explore font design as they advance their skills. Like any artistic medium, graphic design is a form of creative expression, and designing a font is a unique way to put a personal touch on design work. A good understanding of vectors, letter spacing, and kerning will provide the fundamentals needed to create, enhance, or manipulate typography as a design element.
CorelDRAW is a full-featured graphic design software with a variety of tools and features that will help designers create professional-quality design assets. CorelDRAW has a text tool located in the main toolbar. Depending on the project, designers can use the text tool to add small typographical elements with visual appeal or larger blocks of text. CorelDRAW also provides a full menu of editorial options to manipulate colors, fill, alignment, outlines, frames, and more.
Language is a big part of how we communicate, and graphic designers are often tasked with finding creative visual ways to communicate information. These designs often center around artistic assets but include elements of language ranging from individual letters or singular words to short snippets of copy and longer form blocks of text.
As a designer, incorporating language into your work requires mastery of typographical elements. Understanding how vector fonts work and what design elements make fonts more or less readable, along with how and when to manipulate these elements, will help you create skilled designs.
As you advance your design skills, you can blend vector typography and fonts with style sets to maintain consistency across project outputs. Continue reading about style sets in the next article.