This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

In order to be able to select and apply appropriate typefaces within your designs you will need to consider some important points about the letterforms themselves.

Introduction to Typogyaphy book

Typefaces have a long history and a development process which has an impact on their appearance and function today. It is easy to choose a typeface from a computer drop-down menu, but this overlooks the fact that until recently, designing and using typefaces was a highly skilled activity and a craft in itself

Roman typefaces are so-called because they were developed from the carved letterforms used in ancient Rome and therefore have a shape that reflects the way they were made. Wood block printing involved carving and later, hot metal printing involved the act of drawing and carving to create the original design template from which the printing blocks were cast. Even the printed bite of the metal type from a manual typewriter was tangible as a three-dimensional artefact. Much of this has disappeared with the arrival of desktop publishing software.

As well as this, typefaces have what is known as a “tone of voice”. In other words, their shapes and the way they are used together have an impact on the message they communicate. Whether they are printed in bold or italic or placed close together or spaced apart gives them a certain character or quality which makes their use more or less appropriate in specific contexts.

For example, old style typefaces reflect their development from Roman carvings. This can be seen in their use of serifs; the little flick at the ends of each part of the letter. These typefaces can signify importance, respectability and reliability.

Sans serif typefaces are those without the serif, where the letter has no end embellishments. These are often considered as clean, less formal, modern and contemporary typefaces despite being developed almost two centuries ago. They are also widely used in web-based materials because they are more legible on screen than serif fonts.

Typography Text
Examining letterforms like upper case “Q” and “R”, or their lower case counterparts will help you to identify small differences in shape between different fonts.

Whether you are already familiar with aspects of typography or whether you are approaching this topic for the first time, it is useful to take a fresh look at type in the environment.

You should ask yourself; “What it is doing? What is it saying?“

Consider the fact that type has both a literal meaning that consists of what the words actually say, as well as having an abstract or illustrative meaning that is created by the way the type looks.

For example, the word 'exciting' can be presented in a plain and frankly boring fashion. Alternatively it could be presented in a lively, dynamic typeface that actually describes the qualities of excitement. Thus, you would be able to understand the meaning of the word from its appearance even if it were written in an unfamiliar language.

The linka and images below show some good examples of type in the environment.

Typography Example

Typography sign

Typography Mural

Typography parking sign

Did you see our first tutor interview? If you were wondering why our tutors are the best well...…

Contact us

Interactive Design Institute

Stuart House



East Lothian

EH21 7PB

Freephone: 0800 917 1118

International: +44(0) 131 777 9321

London: 0203 056 1098

From Mobile: 03303 320 030

  Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
  ABC Awards
  University of Hertforshire
Reimagine Award 2015
Back To Top