10 Commandments of Typography

Typography: The art and technique of arranging type. It’s central to the work and skills of a designer and is about much more than making the words legible. Here are ten “commandments” to make sure you don’t anger your graphic designer.

#1 I’m very font of you and you’re just my type

Typeface: Refers to a font family and the visual design of letter forms

Font: Singular font from the font family that is displayed on our screen and varies from a weight or style.

However, many designers use these words interchangeably, but now you know the true differentiation between the two.

#2 I shot the Serif

Typefaces ultimately speak on behalf of a brand, content, webpage, and its personality. The three most popular typefaces classifications to choose from today are serif, sans serif, and monospace.


#3 Leading

Leading, also known as line height, indicates the amount of space between lines in a block of text. Achieving a balance between font size and line height can drastically improve the readability of the content.


#4 I’m not fat. I’m bold.

We think of weight in terms of bold, light, normal, etc. Consider distinctive weight first when you start to combine typefaces to create a balanced contrast.

#5 Size Matters  

Headlines and titles should be bold and large, but if you set your body copy too large, it tends to not separate the importance. Think about it. You have seconds to grab someones attention If you miss this opportunity you have most likely lost a potential customer.

#6 Font shui

Alignment is referred to as how the text is individually and as a group displayed (left, right, centered, or justified). Please, do not just throw everything center align unless its meant to be a deliberate decision.

#7 The improper use of kerning

Kerning is the adjustments of spacing between letters to change the breathing room if its crowded or not.


#8 Get with the Times New Roman

A big mistake that is used widely too often is the use of too many typefaces and styles. Try to limit it to two or three different typefaces and styles. This means that the body should all be one font and size. Choose one header and stick to it.

#9 Orphans

A single word left alone on a line at the end of a paragraph is an orphan. Don’t leave them hanging around so find a way to bring that word back into the paragraph.

#10 Comic Sans walks into a bar and the barman says “We don’t serve your type here”

A debate will always take place over between those fonts that are popularly liked and those that are popularly disliked. When making your design put thought into the font you choose.

Typography is about bringing these basic elements together to form a coherent, powerful design. It may take a while for you to develop your skills in typography, but with patience, practice you’ll master it in no time.

photo credit: Neon Boneyard — Las Vegas via photopin (license)