Typography Bootcamp for Middle Schoolers.

Typography is a concept we won't even come close to covering in this class, but I hope to give you some practical advice here that will help you at least make better type choices in your designs.

I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Intro to Type as a Design Element

Choosing type deliberately...

The fonts displayed above are known as text fonts. We'll use quality text fonts for most of our design in this class, with a few exceptions.

The fonts you've loved (much like a smelly old pair of gym shoes you can't bear to throw out even though they're fungus-ridden and disgusting to those around you) since 2nd grade are called Display Fonts. Yes, they're fun, but be careful. You must choose display fonts wisely and use them sparingly...

Display fonts, or headline fonts, are where you get to have a little fun in designing your documents.
  1. Choose a font that reflects the personality of your design piece.
  2. Choose a font that contrasts well with the body text in your document.
  3. Choose a font size that's large enough to be readable. If you're using a very intricate or ornate design, it'll look better in a larger (greater than 36 points) size. If you're using a smaller font size, you may want to consider a Text font instead.
Always think about what your choice of Display Font says about your topic:
...and on this line of fonts I shouldn't have to mention but will: Comic Sans & Papyrus:

Imitating the big kids...

One of the very best things you can do to improve your type design is look at what the pros are doing. It's just like playing a sport, learning a musical instrument, or any other creative endeavor. You get better by studying and imitating the athletes, musicians, writers, and other performers we look up to.

Who are the Pros is type? The people who design the stuff you spend a lot of money on.
It is worth noting that most popular brands have found that crazy display fonts are actually distracting and don't encourage people to spend money on their products:
How stupid would Apple's products and product ads look if they used Algerian or Papyrus instead of Myriad Pro? Just saying...

Big Type Small Type

Bonus: Working with Type in CS4 Tutorials

More Resources:=