MAKING CHOICES IN DESIGN: TYPEFACES

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Greetings! I’m Bradley Pearce, the Art Director at Burning Oak Studios. In this blog I plan to discuss different parts of the visual, as well as musical design process. So be expecting some tips and tricks that you may find helpful with designing for print, web, audio, and video. I will be incorporating blogs from the Burning Oak Studios’ website here so below you will find my first blog from that site. Hope you enjoy.

First things first, there are certain standards in the design world that some will say absolutely must be followed. Always, always, always ask why? If you ever come across a line, a font, a color, or anything that you think doesn’t belong in a design, question it. There needs to be a reason for all the design elements to be in their places, if there is not, then that probably means it is unnecessary and it can be removed to make it a simpler and more effective design. There are standards in place for a good reason… because they WORK… most of the time. But rules can be bent and even broken to achieve a unique aesthetic value that will grab the viewers’ attention, perhaps more so than following the rules. So to you designers out there, don’t ever let someone tell you that you must follow their rules.

Moving onwards, I would like to discuss typefaces, and making choices in designs. There are certain questions that one should ask themselves when trying to narrow down what typefaces to use in a design.

What is the desired style that reflects the meaning of the project? i.e. Serif, Sans Serif, Script, Old Style, etc.

What is the purpose of the text you are using? i.e. Will it be a title or body copy?

Where will this text go and how will it effect spatial relations of other design elements?

Is the type intended to be legible or decorative?

Is it for print, web, or video? (If for video, text must be at least 24 pt to be legible)

If you step back from your work and ask yourself these questions from time to time, you may end up changing your choices. But that’s a lot of what being a graphic designer is about. We have to brainstorm, experiment, and choose over and over. Lather, rinse, repeat until the end result is satisfying not only to the designer, but the intended audience. The point needs to be communicated quickly and effectively. Most people do not have an attention span large enough to attempt to decipher more challenging designs. That’s why we’re here.

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