Typography (anatomy of type, classifications, legibility, readability, hierarchies, grids)

Typography (anatomy of type, classifications, legibility, readability, hierarchies, grids)

Anatomy of Typography

  • Typography is the art or procedure of arranging type.
  • It involves the selection of typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking).
  • Different parts of a letter have specific names like baseline, ascender, descender, x-height, bowl, counter, stem, and terminal.
  • The baseline is the line upon which the letters “sit”.
  • The x-height is the height of the lowercase x in a specific typeface.
  • Ascenders are parts of letters that rise above the x-height, like in b or h. Descenders are parts of letters that drop below the baseline, like in p or q.

Typography Classifications

  • Typography is broadly classified into Serif, Sans Serif, Script, and Decorative.
  • Serif typefaces include small lines or strokes (serifs) attached to the ends of larger strokes in a letter or symbol. They are often used for large bodies of text as they are considered easy to read.
  • Sans Serif typefaces do not have the small lines at the end of strokes. They have a more modern look and are widely used in digital media.
  • Script typefaces are based upon handwriting and are typically used for invitations or headings, not for body text.
  • Decorative typefaces are primarily used for headlines or logos, not for body text, as they can be difficult to read.

Typography Legibility and Readability

  • Legibility refers to the design of the typeface, i.e., how distinguishable each character is from the other, while readability refers to how the arrangement of words and blocks of type facilitates reading.
  • High legibility and readability are crucial for effective communication.
  • Factors affecting legibility include typeface choice, kerning, tracking, weight, case, colour, and contrast.
  • Factors affecting readability include typography size, line length, line spacing, and text layout.

Hierarchies in Typography

  • Hierarchical use of typography enables users to scan text, comprehend content, and navigate through it.
  • The header, sub-header, and body text are typical sections of a hierarchical typography structure.
  • Font size, weight, colour, and typeface are usually varied to create a clear visual hierarchy.

Typography and Grids

  • Grids help create harmony and consistency in a typographic layout.
  • They guide where elements should be placed on the screen and offer a balanced interface skeleton.
  • The most common type of grid in typography layout is the column grid. Other types include manuscript grid, hierarchical grid, and modular grid.
  • Grids should be applied flexibly, allowing for creative deviations when needed.

Progress Check: Important Points

  • Understand the basic anatomy of type and the key classifications of typography.
  • Be aware of the factors that affect legibility and readability in typography.
  • Understand the principles of hierarchy used in typography.
  • Recognise the role of grids in typographic layout and the different types of grids used.