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The Psychology Behind Typography – A New World Order

Typography is one of the key elements that play a major part in conveying all these motives behind a design.

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Typography

When we talk about design elements, we discuss color, shapes, and the layout, but we often undermine the significance of typography in making the entire design more impactful.

There are three primary purposes of any design:

  • Communication
  • Aesthetics
  • Functionality

Typography is one of the key elements that play a major part in conveying all these motives behind a design. It conveys the emotion behind the message while boosting the aesthetics and the functionality of the overall design scheme. Robert Bringhurst, a famous Canadian typographer, in his book The Elements of Typography, says:

Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form. For example, let’s suppose we are designing a poster for Valentine’s Day; we will set the mood by the different shades of red or pink, and with shapes that resonate with love and affection, but what about the most important part? Yes, I am talking about the message. How will you convey the romantic tone to the audience? The answer is simple: typography.

While describing the true meaning of typography, Mia Cinelli, an Assistant Professor of Art Studio and Digital Design at The University of Kentucky, says:

All typefaces are designed to say something specific, and so when something is typed in a typeface, then what is said is influenced by how it is set. I call this a kind of Visual Inflection.

That means our tone of voice gives the emotions and meaning to the words we speak; similarly, typography does the same when they are written. So if your typography doesn’t match with the words, your message will never be conveyed with clarity, which is why understanding the psychology behind typography is so much important.

Also, the readability of a typeface is to be considered while choosing one. In a series of experiments conducted back in 2008, the researchers found out: a group of people took twice as much time in completing a task that was given instructions in a fancy, hard-to-read font when compared to the group, which received printed instructions in easy, readable font.

Back to the Basics

We have come a long way, from a time when we had limited font choices to the present, where typography has evolved to a point where now we have typography logo designs. But let’s not forget our roots and consider basic typography rules, even if you want to break them in the future because, as they say, ‘to break the rules, you must master them first.

So here are some typography basics about which font to use in specific situations:

Serif

Serif is the classic font style. It gives a traditional touch to the overall design, making your company look trustworthy and formal. Some of the psychological responses that you can expect from these fonts are:

  • Respect
  • Authority
  • Credibility
  • Formality 

Sans Serif

With a modern look, sans serif is the favorite go-to font style for the tech industry. These are considered sleek, modern, and sharp.

These fonts express the emotions of:

  • Trust
  • Sophistication
  • Tech-savvy
  • Modern

Script

Script fonts elevate the elegance of the design because they mimic handwriting. These fonts are recommended when you are looking to give a personal touch to your design. Script fonts are used for invitation cards, greeting cards, fashion products, etc.

The responses these fonts deliver include:

  • Elegance
  • Grace
  • Happiness
  • Creativity
  • personal
Manipulation in Typography: The Art of Spacing, Sizing, and Composition

A renowned British type designer, Matthew Carter, says:

A type is a beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters. Typography is much more than just selecting a bunch of fancy fonts. The idea is to select fonts that, when put together, look pleasing to the eyes. There are multiple techniques type designers use to make their work more appealing and expressive.

Kerning

Kerning is a process of adjusting space between two specific characters so that the entire written text looks proportional. Usually, it is set by a font creator and requires no adjustment during the designing process. This space may vary depending on the alphabet because each letter sits differently.

The primary purpose of kerning is to make the text look readable, proportional, and visually pleasant.

Tracking

Tracking is the overall spacing between the characters, also known as character spacing. Most of the designing software have the option to tweak it according to a designer’s need. This trick is used by graphic designers to create artistic effects. For example, increasing the tracking value gives a sense of space and volume.

Leading

Leading is the term in the design world used to define the amount of space between the lines. The term was coined back in time when typesetting was done manually, and the lead strips were used to maintain proportionate space between the lines.

Normally, they have a default setting, but you can change it according to your needs in the design software. This setting is crucial for the readability of the text being composed.

Hierarchy

Hierarchy in design decides the importance of the text through scaling. In other words, it is like a tour guide that guides the readers’ eyes to the most important part of the overall text. It dictates the sequence of reading by increasing the emphasis of the important text.

Setting up a hierarchy is easy; just decide the elements you want to be noticed first, and then make them stand out from the rest.

Scaling

Scaling is the oldest trick in the graphic designing book to make an element look dominant. It is very common among the designers to play with the size of the fonts; sometimes, it is a requirement and, at times, just a clever way of adding overall design appeal.

Composition

The real MVP is the design composition. Typography is not just another word for the font; it is the overall design of the text on the canvas. How efficiently that text is composed to suit the requirement of the overall design is what makes good typography.

The typography that is considered effective both in terms of aesthetics and functionality is the one that is composed brilliantly. In other words, it is aligned, distributed, arranged, and compiles in harmony.

Manipulation

Designers these days are creating typography logos by manipulating a letter such that it resonates with the functionality of the brand. Typography logo designs have become popular as they give a modern minimalistic look without compromising on the brand message.

In A Nutshell: Typography Is the Fuel for Modern Design

In the modern age, you cannot escape typography; we are surrounded by it: it is in the books we read, the products we buy, printed on our clothes. In short, if the signs could speak, we would have been listening to them all the time! Whatfontfinder.com is a free online font finder that provides a search from a catalog of over 700k fonts. So it is safe to say that there are at least 0.7 million fonts that exist today.

Typography is the art of transforming human feelings into text form without losing the emotional essence. To be a worthy designer, it is crucial to understand the psychology behind typography because mastering it is like speaking different dialects of the same language.

We live in a world where the consumers have evolved, and now they are not easily impressed. To convey the message, a digital design creator needs to entice and evoke the aesthetic senses of the viewer. A designer should be able to touch the soul of the audience with every pixel in the design, and the only way to decode a viewer’s affection is by mastering the craft of typography.

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