Typography is a very important element in graphic design. In fact, typography is used all around us on billboards, websites, newspapers, road signs, product packaging, magazines, clothing, automobiles, and the list can go on and on. The point is that if type is used everywhere as one of our primary ways to communicate with one another. Urban Geko is here to teach you a little about the world of typography.

Typography is the use of type as a means to communicate with people. It is an art form that designers use to arrange their type on a page to make their designs visually appealing. There are various elements that go into Typography that designers should be familiar with.

Although many people use the word typeface and font interchangeable, there is a difference between the two.  A typeface is a set of letter within the same style. For example, Helvetica, Garamond, or Times New Roman are typefaces. When you have a specific typeface, it is called a font.  For example Helvetica 10pt is a font, or Garamond bold is also a font. Although the two may seem similar, it is important to know the difference between them.

One of the first essentials in typography is determining if a font is serif or san serif.  The difference between the two is very simple. Serifs fonts have serifs, which are strokes or lines on the end of a character. San Serif fonts do not have serifs. It is believed that serif fonts are easier to read when there is a lot of small text. That is why serif fonts are typically used on newspapers or books. San Serif fonts are great to use if you are designing something that does not require a lot of small text such as a heading or title.
A font family is another important element in typography to be familiar with. A font family consists of a group of related fonts. The family is made of up different font sizes, styles, and weight that you have to choose from for that typeface. For example, if you use the typeface Helvetia, you can choose from the font family to make you’re font 8 point Helvetica light.

Another important element in typography is the x-height. The distance between the baseline and the mean line in a typeface is known as the x-height. X-height is important as it plays a role is a typefaces identification and readability. A typeface with large x-heights, are typically harder to read, as they appear to look more crowded whereas a typeface with a small x-height are typically easier to read.

Ascenders are another element in typography to be familiar with. They are the area of the letter that extends above the mean line of a font. For example, in the letter b, the ascender would be the portion that reaches above the o. A decender on the other hand, is the opposite of Ascenders. They are the portions of a letters that reaches below the baseline of a font. For example, in the letter g, the portion that reaches below the o of the letter.

Leading is one of the most important and commonly used elements in typography. Leading is the spacing between lines of type. Leading can be used to help the overall look of a design as well a way to make it easier to read. If you are working with a lot of type, increasing the leading can sometimes make it easier on the eyes to read.

As you can see, there are a lot of elements that go into typography. Although your Los Angeles graphic design team only scratched the surface, hopefully you have a better understanding of what is involved when working with type.

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