Typography Tricks for Your Text-Based Poster & Print Designs

by Abigail Geer | May 14, 2015

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Typography is an art form unto itself, and a craft which can take years to fully master. Thankfully, with all of the intuitive software available to today’s graphic designer, we can create impressive typographic projects with just a moderate amount of knowledge and expertise.

If you’re looking to create a killer typographic artwork for a poster or print design, here are some top tricks to take your skills to the next level.

Far Better RestChoose 3 Main Fonts

With so many incredibly awesome fonts out there, it’s easy to get carried away. One of the biggest mistakes designers make with typographic projects is trying to cram in too many of their favorite fonts. Three complementary fonts is ideal for design and readability, and often a serif, slab, and display font work well together. You can also use different weighted fonts to create simplistic, yet stunning designs.

kind of a big deal

No Tinkering Required

When designers get behind the screen, there’s always a strong desire to push the creative boundaries and to customize or alter things to make the design better. Tinkering around with fonts by stretching and skweing them is usually unnecessary and can result in an amateurish look. Unless you have a specific reason to alter the font, leave it alone. The type designer spent hours creating it, and it’s unlikely you’ll improve it by distorting it.

Woman's shoe, vector sketch

An O-So-Simple Way to Space Words

If you’re having difficulty getting the word spacing right, you can try placing an 0 in between the words as a guide. For most fonts and design styles, this works perfectly, meaning no more guesswork for you. This method will also help to ensure consistency throughout your work.

Kerning Quick Tips

Kerning is a subject which requires a huge amount of skill and practice to master. Here are a couple of quick tips to speed up the learning process and hone in your eye.

choose joyFlipside – If you revert your type so that it is facing upside-down before you start kerning, you’ll be able to view the lines and spacing more objectively. One of the problems we face when viewing the type normally is that we automatically read the words, which alters our perception of the spacing. Flip it upside-down, and all of a sudden we’re dealing with just shapes, lines, and spaces.

Blurry Eyes – This works along the same concept as the flipside technique. Simply squint your eyes, or actually blur the image slightly in photoshop, so that you can see the contrast between the letters and spaces without being distracted by the actual letter formations.

pressure makes diamonsYour Type is the Voice for Your Words

Kim Hoon of ‘Why Not Smile’ shared an interesting outlook on type by comparing it to the voice for your words, “To deal with type is much the same as to control one’s voice: [think of] selecting typefaces as voice quality; having a relationship with type in size, amount and degrees as vocal tone; and setting layouts of type as voices in space and time. Typographic design is visible as well as audible. If you have a great scenario, now it is time to cast good actors.”

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