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The Importance of Typography in Graphic Design

Online DegreesAugust 15, 2015

Typography in graphic design can strongly affect how people react to a document. Careful selection and consistent use of a chosen typeface can be just as important as the use of graphics, color and images in creating and solidifying a professional brand.

Thoughtfully choosing the right font allows you to evoke a particular emotion or fit a certain style. The skillful use of typography commands the attention of your desired audience, communicates a key idea and motivates them to take action. Typography is not just about legibility. It is a blending of art and science and can serve a functional purpose. Every choice a graphic designer makes has an effect, including your choice of fonts. 

In order to use typography effectively, you must anticipate how the use of fonts and styling will influence your audience, even in ways they are not conscious of initially. Research has indicated that the skillful use of typography can affect readers' emotions and their performance in other tasks. Many large companies sponsor in-depth research and psychological assessments focused on how typography and the use of fonts affects readers. 

In one study, researchers found that when good typography is used, people frown less and perform creative, cognitive tasks better afterwards. Since then, several researchers have embarked on experiments and studies on the effects of typography. They have also focused on determining factors for what makes typography most effective, including the skillful use of fonts for onscreen purposes. According to the article "Literature at the Human-Computer Seam," studies have indicated that visual fatigue from reading off a computer screen can be ascribed to 'awkward character rendering, poor choice of line length and other typographical elements.' This emphasizes the importance that good typography plays in helping to reduce eye fatigue and eye strain for online readers.

Additional findings have also indicated that nine point fonts are more difficult to read than 12 point fonts, and that standard black text on a white background is the most legible choice. In the end, after considering ongoing research, it's interesting to note that traditional typographic wisdom has a solid basis that is being proven by science. This is much to the satisfaction of seasoned designers and graphic artists who know the true value of good typography in graphic design.

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