Typography: The Rules you Need to Know

Let’s play a font game. Type the word Angry in a soft font with thin strokes and a feminine color.

Now use a strong font with bold strokes and color it blood red.

Notice any difference between the two? Which one got your heartbeat racing and which one left you feeling blah?

Typography basically arranges physical text using fonts, spaces, colors and size to make it readable and legible. But you can also use visual language to impart meaning to your words. Make your audience respond at an emotional and physical level.

Emotions, cultural mores, perceptions, and life experiences influence your visual and verbal cues.

So how do you achieve a synergy between what they see and what you want them to feel or understand?

Choose fonts with care

The right font size, weight (Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.15.59 AM, Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.15.01 AM) and color can make a boring information-based slide come alive. If you want to give off a professional vibe, use readable Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.22.29 AM and  Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.22.34 AM for the body text. Maintain consistency in size and weight when you’re using a particular font for body text.

For women specific brands or services, choose script fonts that give off a  Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.56.49 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.56.55 AMScreen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.56.55 AM or Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 9.56.55 AM vibe. Portray a casual, arty, and informal image with decorative fonts. Some fonts create dramatic statements. Use them sparingly for headlines or keywords.

Pay attention to scanning eyes

People tend to scan website pages and slide decks. Optimize your text and font for a quick scan. For a slide about product features, align your words to match the dominant – F-shaped scan pattern of reading. Use bolded text for important points in a particular slide.

Use unique fonts for key elements of the story. For other slides, follow the zig-zag scan movement of your audience. Place your primary message at the top left corner and a call-to-action or the next important text at the bottom right corner. Use attention-grabbing fonts to help them remember the message.

Trigger and evoke emotions

Text that looks good on the computer may not always render well on the big screen (live sessions) or your smartphone (digital slideshow). Avoid low-contrast font colors as they make reading difficult and you run the risk of diluting your message if your audience is straining to read your text.

Different fonts evoke different reactions. If you want to increase your credibility or make them trust you, use Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.01.06 AM and Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.01.12 AM fonts. Use Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.10.01 AM or Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.08.07 AM fonts for a personal touch. When used in context, Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.11.59 AM or Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.11.49 AM fonts can enliven a dull slide. Make good use of font size, line length, and white space to draw attention.

Do you have a favorite of set of fonts or typography secrets you’d like to share with our readers?

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