For the past month we have been talking about design and what it takes to bring design full circle. For the next couple of weeks, we will be talking about Typography, its elements and its purpose in a design.

There are many different definitions that are used to explain typography, but in its simplest form, typography is arranging words in a design using typefaces and fonts that are appropriate for the design that appeals to the consumer.

Typography is as important in any design as colour psychology, colour theory and principles of design.

Before we dive into the elements and purpose of typography, a distinction needs to be made between a font and a typeface.

In the world of typography, words such as typeface which refers to the text style and font (collection of characters) will surface. They are similar but a key distinction is their grouping.

Typeface is also referred to as ‘font family’ and is considered one of the basic elements of typography.

Arial Black and Algerian are considered typefaces however; a font is determined by the size, width or height of the words as well as whether they are bold or italics. As seen in the above example, not all typefaces are the same size, width or height. Arial Black Italics and Algerian Bold are examples of a font.

When doing a design typefaces and fonts are very important. The typeface chosen for a design, will determine whether or not the consumer appreciates and absorbs the information being conveyed.

The two most common typefaces are Helvetica and Arial and the three most common font types are Serif fonts, San Serif fonts and Display fonts.

Serif fonts have little strokes called serifs attached to the main part of the letter. They are classified as great fonts for traditional projects and are very common in newspapers.


Example of Serif


San is French for without, therefore San serif fonts don’t have that extra stroke. Unlike Serif which is considered traditional, San serif is more of a modern font which is easier to read on computer, tablet and phone screens.


Display fonts come in many different styles, like script, blackletter, all caps, and just plain fancy. Because of their decorative nature, display fonts are best for small amounts of text, like titles and headers and more graphic-heavy designs.


Choosing a font is not hard but you must consider the occasion. If you are writing an invitation to a child’s birthday party the typeface and font can be playful but if you are sending an invitation for an important meeting, playful fonts will be less effective.

It can also be effective to incorporate more than one font in a design to give it life, however too many different styles of typefaces and fonts make the design crowded and hard to read. It is best to choose two typefaces and fonts and compliments each other and create a must see design.