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Good typography

It is often said that if a typographer does his job correctly then his work is invisible to the reader. The typographer sets the text and uses grid, typeface, style and all the other tools at their disposal, with the goal of allowing the content to come through. The reader is able to read the text and if the typographer has executed the design well then the reader doesn’t even consider who designed the content. They simply read.

I am a trained typographer, in fact my first internship was in an old press shop cleaning hot metal and wood type. Today everyone has access to a keyboard which automatically sets the type for them. Why should we even bother setting type correctly if our computer friends can do it for us? Well the main problem with this solution is that right now the computer doesn’t have the human sensibility. The font information it uses to set letters next to each other comes from the equations contained in the font information. It is mathematical and although it is a solid solution for body copy it is not always a good choice for headers, mast heads and titles. It is here that the human factor, the trained typographer, really does his job.

Good typography is about reading the content that you are about to design. Choose a typeface that embodies the content, or helps the content come through, and decide what information will be highlighted , turned into titles, sub heads, pull quotes etc…