Kristen Fagan

Typography Tips by Kristen Fagan

8:00 AM

What is typography? Typography is the arrangement of type and the selection of fonts (typefaces), size, line spacing (leading), adjusting the space between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between letters (kerning). Type is made of shapes which influence how the words are to be read, and the emotion they convey, giving every typeface a personality.

Today I would like to share some tips for using type effectively and avoiding common mistakes. 

Choosing a font size - It's easy to stick with the default 12 point font size but for printed material, using a smaller font size gives a more professional, modern look. However, anything less then 7 points will likely cause readability issues.

Viewing text on a computer monitor is different than printed material. Type on a screen often appears smaller and less crisp so sticking with 12pt or going slightly larger is good practice for the reading on a monitor.

Mixing too many fonts - Too many fonts on one page can be distracting. You may feel that using a variety of fonts in a document will liven it up or bring attention to it but, usually what happens is the reader becomes overwhelmed, agitated and unclear where the important elements are. Try limit your fonts to two or three at the most.

Using a Serif + San Serif font - There’s nothing wrong with living things up, and one way to do so tastefully is to mix sans serif and serif fonts together. Combining the two mixes an elaborate and sleek font, which balances one another.

Using similar values of color on top of one another - For example, try printing a medium teal blue text on top of a medium purple box. Not only is it unappealing, but it hard to read and looks muddy.using the contrast of light teal blue on medium purple box is much easier to read and looks brighter.

Don't forget about spacing - The key to any document you create is having it be legible. Leaving empty space (whitespace) will add a sophisticated feel to your documents and gives your readers eyes a break. Line spacing (leading) can improve the overall readability of large blocks of text, making it easier on readers to follow lines of text without losing their place.

These are just a few basic typography tips to make your documents a little more attractive, easy to read and professional. 

Want to know more and get a better understanding of typography? Here are some resources to check out: “Basic Typography: A Design Manual” by James Craig, “Complete Manual of Typography” by James Felici and The film Helvetica is a great documentary to watch and help you better understand type.

Guest blogger Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer for Soft Flex Company. She also has her own blog and etsy shop.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at

You Might Also Like

3 fabulous thoughts ...

  1. You make some excellent points Kristen!

    Another tip to making text more readable on the web, is to break up the writing into short paragraphs, like a newspaper does.

    I see that you have done that with your post. Some people write super long paragraphs that are difficult to read.

    It might be great stuff, but if you can't read it easily, then it won't get read!

  2. Cindy that is so true! I have a hard time reading super long paragraphs myself and breaking them up into smaller paragraph is a great tip.

    On a side note, I was having a hard time reading an article in a magazine today and when I stopped to count the fonts there was 5 different ones! Then I thought, no wonder I'm totally confused on where to look first.

    Thanks for reading!


Soft Flex Enews Sign Up

* indicates required
My customer type is