Infographic Of The Day: Why Should You Care About Typography?

If you think typography is simply about personal whim, you just haven't been looking at it the right way.

I have a confession to make. There was a time, many years ago, where I thought that typography was fashion by another name. I didn't really appreciate how different typefaces function, and how the discipline evolved over time, under pressure from aesthetics and technology. And it makes me particularly red-faced to remember that I once flaunted that ignorance, going so far as to tell a noted creative director that bit about type as fashion. If only I'd known! If only I'd had this infographic!

Created by someone who only calls themselves Noodlor, it does a pretty superb job laying out the basics of typography, such as the common types of faces, ranging from regular to condensed, and the anatomy of letterforms. There's also the very keen nugget of wisdom that 95% of graphic design is actually typography. But where it gets really good is in the "What It's Saying" section — which should serve as a slap in the face to anyone who thinks like I once did:

Typography-Infographic

From there, we get into more subtle territory: The basic principles of layout, which begins with the basics of direction, contrast, and rhythm:

Typography-Infographic-2

"Don't try to be original, just try to be good" — Spoken, originally, by a master of typographic clarity, Paul Rand. And one to remember, always.

Add New Comment

81 Comments

  • Paul_Rand

    The last line in this poster is an example horrible typesetting. First of all, the famous quote isn't in quotation marks and it's set in all caps. Where is the author's credit? Not only that, it's set with such a heavy typeface that's totally unnecessary and poorly kerned and tracked. (Is this poster an angry protest or a friendly conversation about type?) The heavy san serif typeface has nothing to do with the information above it. The leading is proof that they set the type to "fill" the remaining space at the bottom of the page. The leading treats the type as if the type is merely rectangular stripes to fill the "white space". All of these junior mistakes demonstrate that this is woefully constructed student typography.

  • Paul_Rand

    The "quick brown fox" line is to show all of the letters of a particular typeface in use. In this case the "designer" completely misses this long standing convention by using THREE different typefaces. If any designer used three typefaces in one sentence at a respectable design studio they would be hung and then fired immediately.

  • David Wong

    Besides the misspellings already mentioned, this infographic's author misused the word "myriad." One wouldn't have "a myriad of different symbols," but would rather have "myriad different symbols." It's not something I normally get annoyed by, but if you want to be a typeface expert, make sure you don't screw your credibility with simple grammar errors.

  • Joseph Young

    Myriad is both a noun and verb. (Edit: I meant adj. not verb. Thanks Adam)

  • David Sudweeks

    Myriad means ten thousand, which makes it an adjective, not a noun or a verb. Though as you point out It can in popular use also be considered a noun, mainly by those who are unaware of its long held and specific meaning. Incidentally, the typeface name Myriad gives some insight into its origin; Myriad was initially released as a Multiple Master font, which allowed the typographer to independently adjust its weight and width, (hairline to ultra, extra condensed to extended) producing myriad usable results (more, in fact).

  • Andy

    Hi, I'm an editor. I love the look of your piece, but it would likely have benefited from a quick editorial pass.

    Might I suggest an infographic that explains why every typographer needs an editor?

    It is true that a pangram is a sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet. Unfortunately, your sentence is not a pangram. The verb "jumps" should be in the past tense: "jumped." Then it would be a pangram.

    Perhaps a funny note explaining that "typo" is a contraction of "typographical error" would be in order?

  • Lorgen Gerard R Magpantay

    Re: jumps/jumped -- But then you would lose the necessary "s" if by replacing it with the unnecessary "e" and "d".

  • Crabby

    Huh? Editor edit thyself. This panagram requires the use of "jumps", not "jumped". The letter "d" is used in the word "dog"; the letter "e" is used in the word "the". The letter "s" is used only in the word "JUMPS". Dork.

  • Cheshire Isaacs

    Crabby is correct except for the part where s/he calls it a "panagram." The correct word to make it a pangram is "jumps" specifically because there's no "s" anywhere else in the sentence.

  • Dini

    Thank you! This is great. I especially like that you have "right aligned" "center aligned" and "left aligned". I wonder why you don't mention "justified" type since the paragraphs directly below are justified. Side note: it drives me crazy when a client asks me to "right justify" or "left justify" something. They obviously don't know what "justified" means. 

  • placidolaid

    What happened to rag right and rag left? This aligned business sounds like a Microsoft Word invention.

  • Steph

    My design teacher used to always say "left justified" or "right justified". Used to pee me off too!

  • Jack

    I have always marveled at the way knowledge is lost and found repeatedly throughout  the ages. The typography choices made in this website, including these comments, tells me that we have entered another period of lost knowledge. Sad