December 10, 2015 Heather James

Typography Matters: Part 2

Typography Matters: Part 2

By Jesse Selz, TVG Graphic Designer

“From all these experiences the most important thing I have learned is that legibility and beauty stand close together and that type design, in its restraint, should be only felt but not perceived by the reader.”

– Adrian Frutiger

In Typography Matters: Part 1, I touched on basic typographic rules, the language/vocabulary and how essential type is when it comes to content marketing. It’s important to keep in mind—these blogs are not targeted to creative professionals or those who religiously use creative software for design purposes. This two-part series is a simple guide for anyone with a brand or anyone working with brand materials (like business owners and their employees).


Quite often—too often, I come across a graphic, website, article, newsletter or advertisement that either exhibits poor legibility, bad kerning, too much text, scale issues, horrifying font choices, gaping rivers within the body of text (rivers—gaps in typesetting, which appear to run through a paragraph of text, due to a coincidental alignment of spaces) or other visual monstrosities. These typographical issues usually distract users and take away from the actual content.


Typography can be a tricky thing because even if your work is legible, it doesn’t mean the text is successfully portraying the desired message or delivery. In the words of type-expert David Carson, “Don’t mistake legibility for communication.”

Even if you don’t have the slightest clue as to what the Adobe Creative Suite looks like or the difference between Illustrator and InDesign, it’s important to get involved with your brand development and activity. Whether you’re making flyers, email blasts or creating your cafe’s promo swag by yourself…or not, always stay active in the process!

Steps to Success

When branding or working with a brand, remember to consistently follow these rules:

  1.  Question 
    If you’re not designing it but you are paying for it, you have the right to question everything—and you should, even if you make it yourself. I’m not recommending being a “second-guessing Sally” or someone who can’t make a decision. However, I am implying you inquire about intent, messaging and target audience before making formal decisions.
  2.  Listen & Discuss 
    Keep an open mind and dialogue, even with people who may not be as involved as you. See if others have a different interpretation, and if coworkers or employees think you hit the mark.
  3.  Learn 
    Do your research! See what’s out there and get inspired by other brands. Ask yourself what typographic decisions they’re making that drew you in and why it’s successful. Then, choose what you can appropriately apply into your own brand.
  4.  Don’t Get Attached 
    Don’t be unwilling to make changes just because you’re attached to a specific design, style or graphic. How do you determine if you having attachment issues or if the design really is brilliant? This is where the question step comes back in play. Ask yourself and others what would be the most beneficial move for your brand. If you or someone else is holding back edits without a good reason, then knock it off! Design is never done and is always adapting, so your taste should be, too.
  5.  Be Thoughtful 
    When creating web or other marketing media, you’re considerate about the content right? Well, the content typography is equally as important as your words. As a content marketer, you should spend time considering how you’ll arrange text on the page and the user experience.
  6.  Be Consistent 
    Consistency is key. It’s so important to make sure your work looks like your work and has a balance of visual variety. Develop rules and stick with it so your audience can easily recognize your brand.

There are so many ways brands identify themselves through consistent and well thought-out typographical decisions: typeface, font, weight, scale, contrast, color, composition, alignment—I could go on, but I think you get the point. However you define your brand, don’t neglect your attention to type or it will definitely show in your work.

And remember…just because it looks cool, doesn’t mean it’s well designed.


Seen any outstanding examples of impactful typography lately? Send us a Tweet and share it with us at @VandiverGroup. The Vandiver Group’s in-house design team can help your website and collateral materials look fabulous!