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SHOMI Design Guide - Typography

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Typography is the art of working with type. Used effectively, it will engage and inform your audience. Type also has aesthetic value and can be a strong graphical and architectural element of a design.

Good design always has carefully considered typographic elements. The type is never used arbitrarily or as a last minute thought. This doesn’t mean that it is rigid. Type can be a hugely creative and artistic element and still remain effective so long as the designer remains aware of the fundamentals of the art.

DON’T use more than 3 fonts in one design. This will make the design look cluttered and difficult to read.

DO use serif fonts for large bodies of text as it is easier to read. Some examples of commonly use serif fonts are Times New Roman, Garamond, Goudy and Palatino.

DO divide your copy into multiple columns rather than one large body of text. The eye tires if it has to read numerous long lines of copy. The method of doing this will vary according to the software you are working with. All quality programs provide software specific instructions that you can refer to for help.

DO use sans serif fonts for impact. Examples are headings, logos and captions. Some examples of commonly use serif fonts are Arial, Myriad, Verdana and Helvetica.

DO use correct punctuation. This sounds obvious but is often overlooked. You can access a library of symbols in most text editing software and copy and paste them into your layout.

DON’T put two spaces after a period.

DON’T over use exclamation marks. They are very aggressive and give the impression of yelling at your reader.

DON’T use all capital letters in body text. It is very difficult to read and appears as though you are shouting at the reader.

DO ensure that there is enough space between each line(leading). If space is limited, the copy becomes difficult to read. Using the default leading setting is normally sufficient. However, you will need to increase the leading if the column of text is wide or if the type ascenders and descenders (e.g. t, g, f, j) merge onto the lines above or below.

DO be selective when emphasizing text. NEVER use text underlining as a form of emphasis in a design layout. It is cluttered and difficult to read. Bold and italicized type is far more effective. Use italics underneath bold type in sub-headings for example. As well as using it for headings, you can also use bold text sparingly in a body of copy to highlight key words.

DON’T centre large bodies of text as this is very difficult to read. The eye is naturally drawn from left to right so either left justify your text or manually adjust justified copy.