To 99% of the population type is simply a font like Arial typed on the computer and printed out, end of story!

To the designer it is a whole new world where we type geeks get excited by the ascenders and descenders on letters or the slant of the cross stroke. At first my wife found it quite interesting that I could walk past a sign or pick up a magazine and tell her the name of the fonts used, now I don’t say a thing.

So here and now I will start to explain this wonderful world of type and typography that we designers use to create communication to the reader in a series of short topics, but don’t worry it won’t be all boring jargon and theory, it will be mainly visual, because the fact is this is about visual communication.

Let’s start with punctuation, not of the grammar kind but the visual kind. Punctuation needs to hang. By this we mean the punctuation marks whether they are “, ! , or any of the punctuation strokes need to protrude beyond the margins that the text is set in. The reason for this is that even though the type isn’t actually now in a straight line it visually looks as though it is. Where as if you left the text set within the margin it will look wavy. This is more noticable on justified text where the designer is trying to achieve a straight blocked edge (see below).

Tune in next time for ‘kearning’