10 Typography Commandments To Always Obey

There are a few important typography commandments that every designer should know and follow. These days there are seemingly millions of beautiful typefaces available on the web, but not all of them are effective. Here are 10 typography commandments that every designer should always obey:

Don’t combine more than two fonts

Keep your design simple and clean by focusing on a maximum of two fonts. Avoid combining two fonts from the same family and always remember that contrast is the key.

Leading is important

Leading is the space between lines of text and is very important for readability. If there is no leading in body text, the text will feel cramped. The general rule is to use leading that is 2pt above the font’s height, although this can vary depending on the font.

Space words properly

Depending on the font you have selected, the individual spaces between words will vary. If words are clustered too closely together, the text loses readability.

Keep it simple

Whilst using a fancy, decorative font can be fun, these fonts are not appropriate for the content of a website or document as they are generally very difficult to read and don’t send a professional image.

Choose colour wisely

While it is appropriate to have colours in a logo, not many colours work well for reading online. The brighter the colour, the more difficult it is to read. Black isn’t your only option, but generally stick to neutral or monochromatic tones.

Size matters

With text, size does in fact matter. If the text in a paragraph is too small, it is difficult to read. It is also important to carefully distinguish the headings, subheadings and captions in a body of text. If all of these elements are the same size, it disrupts the flow.

Align text

For readability purposes, it is important to align text either to the left or justified. Choosing centre alignment is never a good choice.

Consider the length of text lines

Have you read a newspaper lately? In newspaper articles, text is broken up into columns made of short lines. Whilst this might not be appropriate for online texts, consider formatting your text to ideally have no more than 50 – 60 characters per line.

Know when to use serif vs sans serif fonts

Serifs are those dash-like additions that are added to the ends of characters, numbers and symbols. It is best to use this font family for lengthy print-based books and magazines. For online texts, sans serif fonts are best as they look simpler and are easier to read on screens.

Abbreviations are your friend

For condensing space in graphic design, consider using abbreviations. These help to minimise the number of characters needed to communicate a message.