(Redirected from Typographic Design)
Movable type.
Movable type.
The art and professional practice of communication in visual language.



Broadly typography consists of the choice and application of:

  • Fonts, the software used to generate typefaces.
  • Typefaces, their style size and weight.
  • Spacing of these letterforms, in words, paragraphs and lines.
  • Arrangement of these blocks of information appropriately for the media on which they are to be distributed and read.

Typography can be broadly divided into:

  • Display typography which aims to communicate visually as well as literally. It is often allusive and evocative in its visual form as well as the strict meaning of the language used. The history and associations of particular letterforms are carefully chosen to reinforce the message. Letter forms can be considered to be comparable to different ‘tones of voice’ or the full range of dramatic forms of speech.
    • Examples include: Advertising Hoardings, Posters, Book Jackets.
  • Text typography is primarily for continuous reading. It aims to unobtrusively convey the intentions of the author with as little informational ‘noise’ as possible. Letterforms or typefaces for continuous reading tend to be relatively conservative and displayed in a range of layout conventions appropriate to their use, to aid readability. There is often a complex hierarchy of information design to ensure that the relative importance of elements and optimal flow of information is implicit in the design.
    • Examples include: Book and magazine design. Fiction and non-fiction texts.
  • Website design is currently an interesting mixture of the two approaches, with the addition of new means of user interaction and animation.
  • Typography also includes the highly specialised field of type design but excludes the autographic craft traditions of lettering and calligraphy which are usually not considered part of this discipline unless they result in a full font or reusable typeface.

External Resources


Suggested Readings


Some suggested current readings would include:

  • HELLER, Steven [2004] The Education of a Typographer, Allworth Press
  • LUPTON, Ellen [2004] Thinking with Type, Princeton
  • BAINES, Phil & HASLAM Andrew [2002] Type & Typography, Laurence King
  • JURY, David [2004] About Face

Sample Classes


Some seminal classics include:

  • MORISON, Stanley[] First Principles of Typography, Cambridge UP
  • SIMON, Oliver[] An Introduction to Typography, Faber
  • BRINGHURST, Robert [1992] the Elements of Typographic Style, Hartley & Marks
  • TRACY, Walter [1986] Letters of Credit, Gordon Fraser
  • TSCHICHOLD, Jan [] The New Typography
  • TSCHICHOLD, Jan [] Asymetric Typography, Faber
  • TSCHICHOLD, Jan [] The Form of the Book, Lund Humphries