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Typography 101: Easy rules to follow.

Typography rules to help you improve your type skills. Get better at graphic design by understanding how to use type. Improve your layouts instantly by following these easy to follow rules.

Justify left.

When in doubt, set your type to justify left rag right. Why? In western culture, people read from top to bottom and from left to right. By justifying type left, the eye can find the edge and read copy much more easily. Avoid indenting the first line of a paragraph for this very reason.

Its easier to read when you justify left.

A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets:
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse:
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.–
But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!

Compared to

A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets:
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse:
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates
And prologue to the omen coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.–
But soft, behold! lo, where it comes again!

Use only one font type.

Using two fonts successfully within a layout requires an understanding of the chosen fonts in order to be confident that they are complementary. In general, avoid using two fonts of the same classification. For example, do not use two sans serif, serif, or script faces together. The reason? Contrast. Stay with one font within your sales presentations until you achieve mastery of that font.

Stay with one font until you have achieved mastery of that font.

Skip a weight.

Go from light to bold, or from medium to extra bold when changing font weights. The key to great design is contrast. Slight changes in weight change make it harder for the audience to notice the difference.

Try mixing bold for the headline and light for the body copy for greater contrast in your sales presentation.

Double point size.

A good rule of thumb when changing point sizes is to double or half the point size you are using. For example, if you are using 30 pt. for the headline, use 15 pt. for the body copy. For other uses try 3x or 4x the point size for something more dramatic.

Align with one axis.

Build your type along one primary axis and align elements to this grid line. For a vertical axis, align the left edge of your type. This will work regardless of font type or size.

Avoid vertical text.

Roman letters are designed to sit side by side, not on top of one other. Stacks of lowercase letters are especially awkward because the ascenders and descenders make the vertical spacing appear uneven, and the varied width of the characters makes the stacks looks precarious. The simplest way to make a line of Latin text vertical is to rotate the text from horizontal to vertical. This preserves the natural affinity among the letters sitting on a line while creating a vertical axis.

Group by using rules.

Use rules/lines to group related blocks of information. This will also make dissimilar objects appear more orderly.

Mind     the     gap.

Typography is all about spacing.  Never use forced justify type because of the inherent rivers that will run through your copy. Avoid having a widow, otherwise known of having a single line of sentences at the end of the paragraph.

Avoid the corners.

Don’t place elements along the edge of the corner of a page unless to deliberately cut elements off.

Space and meaning.

Don’t place elements along the edge or corners of a page/slide unless to deliberately cut elements off. Negative space is a good thing, so let your design breathe. You can also express the meaning of a word or an idea through the spacing, sizing, and placement of letters on the slide.

Pick a professional font for your sales presentation.

If you want to bring a more individual personality to your presentation, there are many professionally designed fonts available from online resources. Sites like OpenFoundry have a range of free downloadable fonts for professional use. Or, have a look at Google Fonts for more than 800 font families open-source and 100% free for commercial use.

Check for clashing colours or backgrounds.

For the type that has good readability, it’s important that the text has sufficient contrast with the rest of the slide. But there are a couple of things that can tone down contrast.

Clashing colours

If you’re applying colour to your typography, you’ll want to make sure it complements other elements in the design, including the background. Colours that are too different or even ones that are too similar can be hard on the eyes. Instead, try typing in the text colour with an existing colour scheme for a harmonious look.

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