Using Type Effectively in Design

In design, typography plays an important role when presenting you message. It can take time finding the appropriate typeface and making sure everything is balanced. For example, if your client is running an home spa business and requesting print media for a promotion they are offering, deciding on a font that is classy yet elegant would be an good choice rather then a distorted character font.

You also have to make sure you don’t go too over board, using number of different fonts, it gets too distracting and busy. It’s not easy and can take a fair amount of time. Mixing both sans serif and serif fonts is the general rule when combining different fonts. The two create a nice contrast when designing for print and even the web. An example would be using Bodoni and Futura, a combination that could be seen in fashion related media.


Bodoni is known most famously for being used on Mamma Mia! posters and the Nirvana logo. Make sure to keep things simple, the majority of font families will include different weights.

Fonts that are more decorative should not be used as body copy, but can make posters especially for music events very eye catching. Adding subtle textures also gives it a unique appearance. You make decisions when designing and they may change depending if what you have decided on doesn’t achieve your look.


One last rule in typography is to keep your kerning and leading consistent. Leading is the distance between baselines (invisible lines where lines of type ‘sit’) Carefully check the distance of your types leading; making sure letters are not close to each other on other lines above and below. Watch your spacing and do not let it overlap!! Kerning is the distance between two letters in a word. Keep your eyes open for consistency; make sure letters are not touching and there are no significant spaces between letters. If two letters are looking to tight together, move the space between them out a bit or bring the space it if your noticing a gap.

Nicola Hestnes

Graphic Designer based in Victoria, British Columbia. Studying and in final year at Pacific Design Academy.