Typography 101

As Kaelyn is about to start a pretty lengthy type study for a client, I thought it might be helpful to share some basics about typography and why it is important to your branding.

First of all, what is typography? According to trusty wikipedia, "Typography (from the words τύπος (typos) = form and γραφή (graphe) = writing) is the art and technique of in order to make language visible." When we complete PLANT with our clients, we are armed with a lot of great concepts and language about a client's brand. Making that language visible is what we do during logo design, and choosing the right fonts (or typography) is a huge part of the process. 

There are a lot of great sources for free type faces out there these days, so we usually start there to be budget conscious. When that doesn't fit the bill, we can look to paid options that range anywhere from $50 to $150.

So, what are we looking for when we do a type study? It really comes down to the personality of the brand and how that it translated visually. Is the brand formal? Casual? Fun? Serious? How magazine has done a great job of breaking down typography into 4 main categories. While this extensive breakdown of typefaces may not interest you, having a general understanding of the terminology will be helpful to you while talking to a graphic designer. The 4 classifications are:

  1. Serif Type Styles - fonts with little "feet" at the end of the letters, like Times New Roman or Garamond.
  2. Sans Serif Type Styles - fonts that do not have "feet" at the end of the letters, like Arial or Helvetica
  3. Script Type Styles - fonts that look handwritten, can be formal or casual
  4. Decorative Type Styles - fonts that are stylized to look grunge or western, for example

Our experienced designers do an excellent job of choosing the right typeface or grouping of typefaces to incorporate into logo design as well as plan for other applications like body copy, headers on websites, etc. I highly recommend trusting your graphic designer in these matters rather than simply choosing a font that you personally like. Your company's chosen typography should speak to the personality of your  brand, not your personal taste. Being able to come under the guidance of professional marketing consultants and graphic designers will serve to strengthen your brand and ultimately help you grow your business. That's what we are all about! If you would like to learn more, please contact Jennifer@RootedID.com.

Jennifer Morrow