Creative Design

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The term “type family” or “typeface family” is used to describe a range of designs that are all variations of one basic typeface. For example, you’ll see that Proxima Nova has variations such as bold, extra bold, black, regular, light, light italic, and regular italic:

Type Families

 

Sticking to a single type family will help add variation to your designs, while keeping it consistent and uniform. Designers might use various fonts within one family to create a sense of hierarchy -- designing so that the most important elements, such as headlines and quotes, stand out above the rest of the text.

 

Understanding the Working terms

Kerning

Kerning is the modification of the space between two letters. For an example, see the image below:

Kerning

 

Tracking

Similar to kerning, tracking deals with a modification to letter spacing. However, instead of adjusting the spacing between just two letters, tracking is an adjustment to the spacing between all letters an entire word. See the difference below:

Tracking

 

Leading

Remember in high school when you had to double-space your essays? Well, the terms “single-space” and “double-space” can also be called “leading,” which is the distance between the baselines. See leading in action:

Leading

 

You can choose to increase your leading, creating more space between the baselines, or decrease your leading, which pushes your lines of text closer together. The reason high school teachers asked for essays to be double-spaced was because it’s much easier to read, and they could make corrections to the text more easily.

 

Hierarchy

As you read through this blog post, you'll notice certain words stand out more than others. That's what designers would call creating a hierarchy. You can use different weights (bold, regular, light), styles (italic), and sizes to create a sense of order within your text. Not only does this help create a legible flow, but it helps the reader see what the most important points are. Here's an example of what hierarchy looks like:

Hierarchy

 

In most cases, you want people to read the title first. That's why you'll see most titles are much bigger and bolder than the body text. Call out quotes and descriptive sentences can also stand out above the rest of the text using techniques such as bolding and italicizing. With effective hierarchy, the reader should be able to jump from one section to the next to identify the most important points.