Never Overlook the Importance of Typography

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Printing press preparing typography

After years working as a graphic designer, I have seen clients constantly struggle over which typeface to use for their business. Type is everywhere, in almost everything; for example the tube, washing machines and roads. It is helpful, but also is misleading if used incorrectly.

There are many types available and each designer must find the best option for their clients business. Typography is an essential tool for designers, similar to how brushes and colours are to painters; they use type to express the emotions and meaning of a design.

A typeface is not a font; each type has characteristics related to its history and identity. Additionally, it evolves through time, connected to the past, present and future.

Barbican Centre exterior

Typography at Barbican Centre

An example of typography used well is at the Barbican, in London. The organisation’s visual identity is bold, strong, confident and eye-catching. With the use of Futura and a punchy colour palette, the Barbican manages to stand out. The type helps the brand appear modern and forward thinking, just like the architecture of their buildings.

Futura, designed by Paul Renner between 1924 and 1926, was also used by the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany. Therefore, it has become synonymous with the arts, which may also be why the Barbican uses it today.

This is one example of why it is crucial to spend time selecting a great typeface for clients. Types can have positive or negative connotations that affect the user experience. Therefore, choosing the wrong one can compromise the design’s reputation and power.

Leonardo - Senior Designer