15 Crucial Typography Mistakes You Need to Avoid

‘Pen is mightier than sword’ – I bet you all must have heard this adage somewhere sometime! And when words you write are so mighty and powerful, how you write and print them too must be equally impressive. Hence, typography plays a crucial part in your website, product, Web-to-print store, professional documents etc.

Typography is definitely not the stuff of rocket science. It is the style, arrangement and appearance of text, and it holds a whole lot of power over aesthetics and communication of power of your website. It talks about how you would operate normally with your clients. So, it plays a vital role, and can make or break your first impression on your customers.

Here we have added some of those to know the typography mistakes you need to avoid to make your design impressive and engaging.

Crucial Typography Mistakes

Avoiding Classic Typefaces

No matter how modern or stylish you go – ‘classic’ is never out of fashion. Whether it is a vintage car or fine wine; people love it. Typography is no exception with people always liking that ‘classic’ touch.

For example, if you have a web-to-print store where your customers can edit their products like t-shirts, mugs with their choice of text, your typography game should be right. There are still century-old typefaces including serifs and midcentury sans-serif that still give a tough competition and are rather more beautiful and attractive than their contemporary counterparts.

Some of the time-tested classic typefaces that you can think of including in your artwork and make it look relevant in graphic design today are:

  • Caslon, Bodoni, and Fournier among Serifs.
  • Avenir, Future, Gill Sans among Sans-Serifs.

So, it is important to avoid assuming that ‘classic’ is no more appealing and you shouldn’t use those classic typefaces.

Sacrificing Legibility

The ultimate goal of a typographer is to create content that people can read fast and easily without straining their eyes. However, at times, using fonts that are comparatively more difficult to read as compared to the average serif backfires. Hence, make sure that you are not using stylish fonts at the cost of the overall legibility of your content.

One more mistake to avoid is distraction of users’ attention from the text by putting something in the background. Even if you want to use something like an image in the background, make sure that it doesn’t compromise the clarity and readability of your text.

As a rule of thumb, clearer serif or sans-serif typefaces are more beneficial in case you use something in the background. As they just help keep the readers’ eyes moving along smoothly and don’t impact their ease of reading.

Sometimes, the culprit behind illegible text can be the small size of fonts. Always ensure that you are setting that size for the fonts that don’t strain readers’ eyes. In general, a font size of only 10 and above is preferable for typography.

Overusing capital letters

Sometimes to stress on a particular point, we try to highlight them by using capital letters. However it is a more common practice for the headlines and it can be quite pervasive in interpersonal communication such as email or social media. While you might think of this technique as a way to emphasize a certain point, your reader might mistake your emphasis for yelling or anger. Hence it is important to pick a different way to highlight the importance of your content.

Ignoring Orphans

Especially in your webstore when it comes to body copy, “orphans” and “widows” are one of the easy-to-overlook errors. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably but are basically a typographical lingo or short lines that appear at the top or bottom of a column or page of text, separated from the rest of the copy. However, when you typeset a text-heavy project, look for these and try to fix it to avoid creating large patches of while space that may interrupt your text. You can just manually change where the line breaks, or adjust the line length or track slightly.

Using Too Many Fonts

When you create a website, or work on professional documents, it is important to establish a style and stick to it throughout. One of the most common typography mistakes is using different typefaces and fonts for a single design. It not only creates a visual discord for the reader, but also breaks the user experience. To avoid that, you can choose fonts for headlines, subheads, and asiders and then follow it throughout. Using several fonts in a single paragraph can make your webpage look like a non-professional random note.

Two Spaces after a Full Stop

It may sound like a very small mistake, but it is worth highlighting. If you have double space after a full stop, it is a small sometime unavoidable mistake of writers and is necessary to fix. Hence place the next character too close to the stop.

Inconsistent Alignment

When a reader looks at your piece, you want it to appear as an even structure for each paragraph or line you include. Hence, it is very much important to maintain that consistency and it should look like a uniform. Consistency will help you make a good impression of your brand.

In adequate Contrast

It is when your copy is rendered with insufficient contrast against its background, it leads to difficulties and understanding the text. It happens because the type might be set using a color that’s similar to the background color, or may be because it is placed on top of a background that sits above an image.

However, you can easily avoid this mistake by scrunching up your eyes and checking that you can still make out the characters of your type. Try to choose the color that highlights the fonts and keep the background color a bit subtle that supports the fonts.

Crucial Typography Mistakes

Missing Out on Hierarchy

At times, one gets to come across layouts where one doesn’t understand where to focus on – or in other words – where to start reading from. The reason why one can’t decide where to land eyes is because of the lack of a visual hierarchy.

If you also think that your audience is facing the same issue, it is time to amend your visual hierarchy. Try creating ABC effect, where A is the largest, most prominent heading (with all characters in bold or caps to create extra impact), B is the slightly smaller sub-heading (semibold or italic weights for contrast) and C is the smallest body text.

For example, in t-shirt printing, if you print a quote by a famous personality, making the quote stand out is necessary. You can keep the quote bold or in caps and leave the name of the personality in small size or small letters.

This kind of visual hierarchy helps readers navigate the text easily and fast – and you must never ignore it!

Improper Kerning

Kerning refers to the spacing between characters of a font. Kerning holds a great importance in typography. If you fail to kern your content properly, your content is most likely to lose clarity and ruin readers’ experience.

Especially while printing a logo, improper kerning can have adverse effects like loss of cohesiveness of design, confusions or misinterpretations, illegibility, etc. As a result, your brand image may be affected in an untoward way. Therefore, make sure your content is properly kerned to improve readers’ experience. In general, flipping type upside-down before adjusting the spacing is recommendable. It is because while kerning upside-down, the content of the type won’t distract you and you’ll be able to focus better only on the visual symmetry of the letters.

Haphazard Mixing of Typefaces

Implementing different fonts in the application of hierarchy is an art; but if you fail to do it properly; it can end up looking bad and result in distracting clashes in the content. It implies that you should take care and avoid making this mistake. Usually, using one serif and one sans-serif complementing each other can work well to leave your typography impressive.

Overlooking Readability

The major goal of a consistent typography is to create content that is easy to read. However, sometimes it is easy to accidentally compromise this sensibility. So, if you are putting something behind your text, make sure it is not distracting your audience’s attention. Try to avoid mistakes like while letters on a black background or busy background images. Also, when you have larger blocks of content, you should use typefaces like sans-serif to keep the reader’s eyes moving smoothly.

Crucial Typography Mistakes

Making it Effect Heavy

We all loved “WordArt” from Microsoft. However, now it is time to avoid using ‘Special effects” on your text. Things like 3D or embossed effects, drop shadows, gradients, warping are some of the examples of it. There’s nothing like they look inappropriate but special text like this tends to look gimmicky.

Using ragged edges

While there may be a little scope for untidiness in our daily life, there is no room for that in typography. Your text should not look scruffy and messy. In case you have a para with up to 5-6 lines; it can have ragged edges at times and this poor alignment can make text look unkempt.

While justification of text can be a solution at times, it may not always work. The other way that can work is breaking lone words onto the next line manually. At other times, hyphenation can also help – especially when you print a newspaper.

Forgetting to Proof-Read

No matter how small or big a piece of text, or whether you print a newspaper or an apparel; proof-reading is a must. It is because any error in your text – even the smallest one can ruin the impression of your design and content.

So, what conclusion do you arrive at? That it is indispensable for a typographer to proof-read what goes in typing once before printing starts. As this proof-reading won’t only save errors from creeping in but also retain the image of the brand among the audience.

In a Nutshell

Typography forms an inseparable part of designing or printing. No matter whether you offer your customers the freedom to print custom t-shirts using t-shirt design software or print an entire newspaper, typography mistakes are always likely to occur.

As they say, your website should be about the content not how it looks. But consider that typography can drastically affect how content is communicated and that’s how it becomes just as important. Nevertheless, keeping in mind some common mistakes during deciding upon the typography and taking measures to avoid those mistakes can go a long way towards making your website engaging.

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