Just a bit of background
Life as a designer isn’t all about creating a pretty picture or getting my crayons out! It’s about the thinking behind it, such as what is a good design, what’s on trend? What response will it have? What can we do to attract the audience? It is also about capturing the imagination and attention of someone to evoke a preferred reaction, in a creative way obviously!
And it’s not all about images; typography can be a visual vehicle too! Creating art with words or letters – literally one of my favourite things to do. I chose to write about this because I don’t feel it’s recognised enough. I was once ignorant to what power type can actually have when I first began in the creative industry. It’s all about thinking in the different ways you can use words and letters to deliver a message in an interesting and clear way. Being a designer, it’s important I make informed decisions for effective creative solutions; my designs need to deliver an aesthetically pleasing message and get desired results.
Once reading a brief over, the first step I think about is whether or not the project will be creating something with imagery or with type. Maybe even both, I have to say I do get excited when I know I’m going to be working with typography.
So lets begin with, what is typography?
Typography is graphical element of a letter, word or paragraph. It is a type of design which is all about creating art and techniques with the arrangement of written words. In my opinion, typography is all about bringing the wording in the design to life and making the most of it. Typography is a creative mechanism that many designers are now becoming more aware of and are also recognising the importance behind it due to the impact and influence it can achieve.
Why is it important?
I think most designers can agree that typography is a type of art. Good typography can engage and grab the attention of the audience. In many cases, typography can be the most important part of a design and sometimes it can be more important than the graphics, colours or the layout that a designer chooses to use. Type is all around us, in posters, brochures, leaflets, magazines, advertising that people see on a day-to-day basis plus more, so it’s important that the type can always be understood and also engages the reader to deliver the purpose of the message. When it comes to designing marketing content such as the above, it’s important to keep in mind that the type is carefully considered and fonts should be chosen that are most appropriate, along with the size of the font and the way it is presented or laid out. It is my job to engage the audience with design, typography and create an emotional connection with the words or message. For example, if an article has an eye catching graphic but the support quote or text is untidy, it can lose the interest of the reader, because let’s be honest, nobody likes a mess they can’t read.
Typography should be considered as an emotional visual language. It’s all about what makes the best first impression and using great typography to grab the attention and interest of the reader can make people have feelings towards it as much as an actual image. Research in a blog written by Tommy Walker about ‘The Effect of Typography on User Experience & Conversions’ has shown that the audience respond better to designs with interesting typography. For example these two Nike adverts include different types of typographic approaches.
The first ad presents a simple yet detailed and clever image to promote the brand using its logo created in a shoelace. This kind of design is using type to create the visual, and draws you not only into the brand but into also what the brand is about or promoting.
In this second ad example we have the same brand but a different approach to the advertising. It’s easy to read and its simplicity makes this ad effective. It doesn’t need any graphics or colour to accompany it as the type does the talking here, the key here being that sometimes less is more in advertising. They have advertised using adjectives that describe the activities that their products can supply for but in the simplest form. This is a simple yet effective outcome.
Another use of typography, which is my absolute favourite, is when a designer uses text to create art itself. By this I mean creating imagery out of the wording.
Making awareness for panda extinction using the type to create the face of an endangered species can produce a powerful and strong message to the audience. I love seeing this kind of design and imaging its fun and the inspiration behind the planning and the creating of these sort of pieces (purely because it would make me so happy to do this too.) It’s clever, exciting, and fun seeing projects like these. Other great examples of effective typography are the use of negative space in logos. Negative space is using the space that surrounds an object in an image. Famous examples of these include the FedEx logo with the forward arrow within the lettering, Formula 1 logo which includes the 1 between the F and the speed motion.
I love the effect that this type of logo creates, it’s like looking for a hidden message and this kind of design always makes the final result fun and gets people to look at it twice, with its clever execution it catches the eye of the audience and it is a joy to look at.
The final style of typography that I want to mention is the kind that features the product within the wording itself. While scrolling through Pinterest I came across the artists Luke Choice and Ben Fearnley who demonstrate below this fun and creative way with wording. I love the way this kind of work looks, it’s so effortless but with so much attention to detail. These ways of working produce a product that is entertaining and aesthetically pleasing.
So overall I find typography one of my favourite elements of the design process. I enjoy the creative thinking behind it, our Wonderland group discussions and listening to the ideas that our team develops together. This sort of meeting is always a useful process as it inspires more ideas of my own. Before beginning any design I enjoy researching pages such as Pinterest and Behance to find inspiration for my own work, especially typography and looking at the creative solutions other designers have created. I feel researching is important and inspiring as it’s always good to see what are the latest trends then incorporate this into design that I hope inspires others.
Written by Hannah