Put simply, typography is the art and method of arranging ‘type’. It is the visual component of the written word. Hence, it is safe to say that typography directly affects the message and perception of what is being read. In advertising, it also ties the work of the writer with the creativity of the designer.
What is typography?
Consider this: Text is a series of words. It’s an arrangement of words in the proper sequence. Typography is the way this text is represented.
Let’s consider the text ‘I love typography’. You write it down on a piece of paper or print it or display it digitally. When you do this, you pick a certain font, you decide whether you need it to be in bold or italics - you pick a size, colour, etc. And thus, the text ‘I love typography’ can be rendered in different ways using typography.
Typography also includes grid-like connectivity between the elements of the fonts. From the angle of the curve, its distance and the use of negative space, typography as an art requires high technical vigilance along with an abstract understanding.
Elements of typography: Fonts and typefaces
What's the difference between a font and a typeface?
A font is a grouping of typefaces that have similar characteristics. A typeface, hence, is the individual family member of that font. For example, Arial is a parent font with many typeface variations such as Arial Regular, Arial Italic, and Arial Bold etc. Most typefaces are designed with the help of softwares. However, many designers prefer the hand-drawn method to come up with fresh new typefaces.
Good typography reinforces the meaning of the text and for that, you need the right typeface. If you don’t get it right, your communication can be overlooked or misunderstood. Imagine an iconic film character played by the wrong hero – that’s how it will be!
How to pick a good typeface
Well before you choose the typeface for your brand, product, blog, website or any other content platform, it is important to know that good typography can actually help you in making more profits, increase readership or customer engagement. Just take this one example into consideration.
Typeface for Product
In 2009, PepsiCo decided to make some major changes in the packaging of its popular fruit juice product Tropicana. With this major rebranding, PepsiCo. changed Tropicana's classic font to a contemporary, sans serif looking font. They also changed the visuals on the packaging but removing the famous 'orange with a straw' and adding a plain glass of orange juice to give it a more spaced-out and neat look. The results however, strayed in a different direction.
Within a month, sales dropped by 20% costing PepsiCo. millions of dollars. After realising their mistake, the company swiftly removed the new look. This was because Tropicana's classic font appealed to more people thanks to its 'tropical' jovialness. The new font did not bring that feeling and hence was quickly rejected.
Tip: For a product, use a typeface that mirrors your brand identity perfectly
Typeface for print vs typeface for web
When it comes to print, it is important to pick a typeface that does not overpower the text. One of the main reasons why the font Helvetica is so widely used, is because of its ability to remain neutral. It does not display an emotion or mood but it enhances the readability of the text.
For the web, start by choosing from a list of web-safe fonts like Arial, Times, Times New Roman, Courier, Verdana, Tahoma, Helvetica and so on. Avoid cursive fonts as they make your content a little hard to read.
Typography – The Art of Visual Language
Typography really stands out when it’s turned into a piece of art, and not only used for content or text. Several brands and artists all around the world have turned fonts and typefaces into their own works of art. Some artists are able to showcase a large amount of content within a single creative, whereas sometimes just a simple addition of 2 to 4 letters or words is enough to send a powerful message.
Even in motion graphics used in animation and special effects, where the visuals and sound are the heart of the picture, typography is extremely important to establish a visual dialogue. Words in motion engage the viewers more effectively.
The role of typography in Marketing & Branding
• It gives a professional look - Any body text written in Times or Comic Sans will project the wrong image of your brand that may extend towards your products and services.
• Perfectly reflects brand personality - Typography can communicate text with a tone and mood, helping you send a clear message about your brand - all with the right aesthetics.
• Message Consistency - Using the same font and typeface in your digital as well as print communication creates a strong consistency with regards to your message. This improves brand resonance.
• Sets the right tone - Typography helps your customers in making the right associations with your brand. You can be playful, serious or artistic with typography.
As you can tell, typography is all around us. Sometimes it stays below the radar - creating impressions of your brand on consumers that even you may not have realised - and at other times it’s an attention-grabbing piece of art. When it comes to guidance, a professional digital marketing agency can not only help you by providing a suitable direction for your design but also help you establish a power digital footprint for your brand.
At Amura, we have implemented the ‘art-meets-typography’ blend in our work. Take a look at some of the creatives that we have designed for different campaigns:
• #Ozoneday for Radius Developers
16th September 2016 #Ozoneday for Radius Developers.
The creative shows two different fonts, earthy colours and planet-resembling shapes to accentuate the message.
• Amanora - No Power Cuts
Typography in video motion - For Amanora’s ‘No Power-Cut’ campaign
• #ChristmasTrivia campaign for Radius Developers
Edited by: Abhay Shirole