Sunday, 13 October 2013


In terms of design for print, typography is a crucial aspect. It is essential to know background knowledge on the practice of organising, arranging and modifying type if necessary. The print process used to print the type has a direct impact on how the reader receives the message/text being communicated. 

There are several things to consider when choosing and laying type for print, in which ever print process is chosen.
1. Colour Contrast:

"Good color contrast may seem like an elementary concept, but there are some easily overlooked things to note when selecting colors for your typography and overall design.
Contrast is not achieved simply by finding two very different colors.  Just because two colors are different doesn’t mean they will provide good contrast if their value is the same.
A simple test to see if your design has enough contrast is to convert it to grey scale. This will allow you to easily see the value of the colors, which in the case of contrast, is much more important than color.
In the image below, even though the colors are very different, once they are converted to grey scale, you can see that their values are so close the words become almost impossible to read. This tells you these colors are not a good pair."
"squint your eyes and if you can no longer make out the colour, you don't have enough contrast" 

Black and white are a good example of a high contrast, especially with type and print. Sometimes to not as as much of a contrast an off white background or stock is often used to ease the text on the eyes.

2. Typographic Colour:

This refers to the extent that type fills or colours a given space based on the density of its given typeface and weight chosen. 

Generally, the heavier the weight the denser the type will appear, giving more colour. Using black, or even bold typefaces will give a type more presence on the page.  This combined with letter and word space will help influence typographic colour.

3. Font Size:

In print design, 10pt font for body copy is generally accepted.
The equivalent of 10pt is 13px and this is a good size to work with also digitally for print. Anything smaller than these sizes will be too small for the average viewer to read when printed

Point Sizes:
The point system is used to specify the typographical dimensions of a page. 

The point is 1/72 of an inch.
12 points to a pica.
6 picas to an inch.

12pts = 1 pica 
1pt = 0.35 pica
1 pica = 4.22mm
4. Legibility and Readability of a Typeface:

Legibility is a type characteristic that allows us to distinguish one letterform from another through physical traits inherent of a particular typeface.

Often the most legible are Sans Serif typefaces.

Readability is how easy the overall words are to read when printed, opposed to each individual letterform.

5. Vertical and Horizontal Spacing:

Text can be positioned in different ways within a space to give different vertical and horizontal 'treatments and presentations'. 

Below shows vertical/horizontal top, bottom, centre and justified type as well as leading showing how legibility and readability are improved when appropriate leading is applied. This is important for both print especially when printing blocks of body copy. 

The below scan shows measures and approximate characters per line for optimum readability and legibility when printed.

It also shows the difference between 12 and 24 pica columns. 12 pica columns allow extra room for ascenders and descenders built into the typeface, through allowing white space above and below the text. 
24 pica columns allow extra space on the bottom of each line of type to make it much easier to read.

Furthermore it explains text measures and approximations of comfortable line lengths to read, which are 'neither too long, nor too short'

Text can be aligned also in the following ways:

Aligned Left 
Aligned Right

6. Spacing words, letters and particular letters:

Tracking or Letterspacing:
This adjusts the space between characters, opening up crowded text. 

However by having too much tracking/letterspacing can make the letters and words look disjointed. 

"Tracking values do not necessarily hold true between typefaces as different fonts have different characteristics and stroke weights that affect their typographic colour and spacing"

Word Spacing:

The distance between words can be increased or decreased while leaving the spacing between the letters of the words unaltered. 


Kerning is the removal of space between characters. It is used to reduce unsightly space between two letters to give a more pleasing visual appearance.