Change is the only constant in this fast-paced world. To create a memorable impression and a distinct identity among the customers you have to first build recognition.

Typography is a potent tool that helps you to create an ultimate brand identity. Using typography strategically to make your brand elements look distinctive is the key to make your brand shine. So, let’s learn more about typography, its elements, and how it is important in graphic design. 

Top view of black and white typography sentences

What is typography? 

Typography is the magic tool that brings life to your text. Every single day we are constantly reading, whether it be on our phones, in books, on websites, shops, hoardings, posters etc, that means literally everywhere. But you don’t just read it, you relate to it. This is possible due to the use of typography.

It is an art where artistic skills are expressed by amazing designs and writing styles to add aesthetic value to your content. Hermann Zapf, a pioneer in computerised typography had once said, “Typography is two-dimensional architecture, based on experience and imagination and guided by rules and readability”.  Interesting, isn’t it?

To make your copy visually appealing and legible to the reader, typography arranged letters, text, structure, appearance and font style that helps to connect to the reader and convey a specific message. A lot of designs such as books, website design, print design, brochure design, etc use typography to create an impact. So, in short, typography is the technique of arranging type (letters and characters). 

Why is typography important? 

Typography is essential for your website and content because it has the potential to set the overall tone of your website, and give a memorable user experience. Here are some reasons why typography is important. 

  1. Channel of communication 
    Typography is a tool to provide a way of communication between the website and the viewer. The arrangement of content, fonts, colours and other details reflect the message that the website wants to convey. It guides and informs the users about the website.
  2. Captivate the readers
    Through typography, you can easily attract readers and keep them engaged. Just select the right font (clean and easy to read) and add life to your text. Highlighting texts and the correct choice of colour, size and font can keep readers hooked to the website. Typography if used effectively can do a great job.
  3. Conveys a certain mood/feeling
    Every content is different from the other. The choice of a correct typeface will determine what is conveyed and understood. For some serious content, we can use professional, simple fonts whereas for something exciting we have to design content in a fun and playful manner. Therefore, the right typography can convey a certain mood.
  4. Constructs information hierarchy and harmony
    Good typography has the power to establish a strong visual hierarchy. Typography that has a uniform pattern throughout the design creates harmony and lends an artistic appeal to your website. Information hierarchy enables the audience to figure out the contextual meaning properly and helps them to decide what is important by seeing the font sizes, types and highlighting of texts.James Dyson: How the Left demonise success | The Conservative Woman
  5. Creates recognition
    By using a defined pattern for your site in terms of typography, you present your website in an attractive way. This serves as your identifying mark and can add great value to your company.
    Dettol Logo | evolution history and meaning, PNG
  6. Communicates professionalism
    You can gain the trust of customers by suitable use of typography. Customers feel secure due to the professional approach and this in turn adds benefit to the marketing of your product. Typography enhances your website’s personality and the audience starts to associate with it. Typography creates a good and remarkable impression and the trust that you gain helps you to move forward in your business. 

close up photography of brown jukebox letter keys

Basic elements of typography 

Typography can be intimidating, but if you know the basic elements then it is going to make a huge difference. Let us move on to some terms related to typography – 

  1. Typefaces and Fonts
    Are you also one among the many people who use these two terms interchangeably? No, you cannot. Technically, they mean two different things. A typeface is more of what you see in terms of designs and font is what you use like the specific weight, width and style within the typeface. In a nutshell, many fonts constitute a typeface. We can compare it to songs in an album where the typeface is like the album and the fonts are like songs.All typefaces have different sizes of fonts and when graphic designers want to pair some fonts together, they use a typeface that has a similar height for individual characters. The width refers to the area of the body of the letter and the space that follows.
  2. Leading
    In typography, leading is an essential design aspect that regulates how text is spaced vertically in lines. The distance between adjacent lines of text is called the leading value. This helps to maintain appropriate spacing to make the text legible. Leading value is mostly more than the font size.
  3. Tracking
    Mastering tracking can be a great way to get your typography right. It is the even spacing between letters across the whole word. Sometimes your text seems all cluttered in one place, it could be due to incorrect tracking. For example, when you write in all-caps, you should try to keep more space, as compared to normal letters. This also varies from font to font. Some heavier fonts require more spacing than average. Spatial adjustment has proved to create a noted impact on readability.
    Hotel Marina building
  4. Kerning
    It is the space left between characters and letters, within a word. This is usually used for singular words in a logo or heading, which is used on a large scale. This spacing should be even and consistent. Especially for logos, billboards and posters kerning is necessary to make the word legible.
  5. Line length
    Line length can be defined as the standard length of text or number of characters or words per line. A text block has left and right edges and the distance between them is line length. Shorter lines can make a big difference in the layout of your copy.
  6. Hierarchy
    Typographic hierarchy aids in organising type according to the order of importance within the data. This guides people who are looking for specific kinds of information. One of the main attributes of communicating the right information through type is hierarchy. A reader can discern which information is important and which are it’s supporting points through a hierarchy. This system involves type style, size, colour, case, alignment, placement and spacing. Hierarchy guides the reader through the text by headings, subheadings and body types.
  7. Size – Size is a measure to determine the hierarchy value by the use of colour, spacing and dimensions.
  8. Colour – Colour makes a text stand out and conveys the tone of the message correctly. The three components of a colour are value, hue and saturation which are balanced properly to set the right tone.
  9. Alignment – Typographic alignment controls how text is aligned in the page, contributing to the overall appearance of the text.
  10. Contrast – If you want your readers to be glued to your text, a proper contrast is necessary to bring out the main idea or message.

With all these terms it will be easier for you to understand typography, yet let us also take a look at some additional terms to guide you through it.

  1. Baseline – The invisible line where your text rests or sits on.
  2. Cap-height – It stands for capital height and refers to the height of a capital letter above the baseline for a particular typeface.
  3. x-height – Also known as corpus size, this refers to the height of lower case letters in a typeface.
  4. Serif – In typography, some typefaces have letters that project slightly and finish off with a stroke, these are called serifs. Serif typefaces are easier to read, in long works due to their distinctiveness. However, we also have sans serif typefaces that lack serifs. These sans serif fonts feel modern and are commonly used in blog posts and documents.
  5. Descender – Descender is the part of letters that extends below the baseline.
  6. Ascender – It is the upward vertical stroke that extends above the x-height in lowercase letters. 

white poster on gray pipe

How is Typography used in Graphic Design?

Typography is closely associated with graphic design and the main purpose is to make content readable. If you have a website, your content should be properly displayed to attract visitors. Therefore, let us talk about how you can use typography in graphic design.


  1. Select a font that conveys the purpose behind the website, the goals of your company, product and content.
    Choose a typeface that showcases the motive of your site. In addition to that, the readers should be able to relate to it. Use typefaces creatively to put forward your brand message. Think about the FedEx logo, it is bold and effective.
  2. Consistency is a decisive factor in how readable your content is.
    Proper alignment helps users to see the structure and flow of the content. Do not commit the mistake of simply copying and pasting the text from a file. So, every graphic designer should go through it and select how to arrange those properly such that they appeal to your viewers. It is very necessary for the alignment to be sharp to enable people to understand it better.
  3. Create a hierarchy based on where you would want your viewer to read first.
    Use font size and typeface that catches the attention towards the most important section. There are three different levels of typography for an impactful hierarchy.- The first level is the most significant content, which is distinctly visible.
    – The second level is to form text into a section that assists them to browse the details easily.
    – The third level is where the main description is placed.
    – Thus, the right hierarchy based on font size and typeface can define the direction and organisation in the content.
  4. Pick the right colour allows it to be readable.
    Viewers get attracted due to an eye-catching colour. A boring or dull colour might lead to a lack of interest in the viewer. Contrast should be selected mindfully as it emphasizes highlights. You would not want your text and background to be matching where even the text is not visible. Thus ensuring to choose the right colours can add clarity and personality to your content.
  5. Concentrate on increasing type size based on importance.
    You can create some amazing artwork with larger fonts that can be an advantage to your design. Choose a perfect leader type, it is like the cover of a book.
  6. White – space
    Also called a negative space this is basically unmarked space in the design between individual design elements. White space does not necessarily have to be white, it can be any colour, texture or pattern. 

After knowing all these elements and basics of typography let us take you through how typography is used in graphic design. 


Typography is the art of influencing your viewers’ perception and engaging them through it. It is a method of using text as a visual to convey a brand message. So, graphic designers should cleverly use typography which is often overlooked. 

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Chao Quan Choo

Chao Quan Choo

UI Designer at OFFEO