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Getting into Typography

I have a long-standing obsession with type and typography. Typography seems to be constantly in front of our faces and yet so rarely noticed or remarked upon. For an art installation I once did, which had typography as it's focus, I wrote the following:

Type is the visual form we use to represent verbal expression and communication. Reading and writing depend on conservative conventions, while the spoken language grows and morphs with no need for intention... [The] very letters, signs, papers, books we write, type, and read – everywhere and everyday – are works of visual art worth noticing and admiring.

If you're anything like me and have either caught this bug, are interested in catching it, or just want to start communicating better visually, I offer this space to share some thoughts, resources, and starting points with you.

Getting Started with Type

I could suggest reading a book or something first, but I think it's best to start by playing with something practical.

  • Start with a simple document, I typically recommend using either your résumé or that of a trusted friend or family member, and redesign it.
  • Most word processors will work fine for this task, such as Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or Google Docs.
  • There are likely many built-in fonts on your computer that will work fine for this task, but in the interest of learning something new, I recommend installing a copy of Cooper Hewitt and using it. Cooper Hewitt is a very usable typeface, which has been made available for free. It also comes in a wider range of weights than most of the fonts on your computer (which are typically limited to just Regular and Bold). As an added bonus for résumé design, it is a relatively narrow font, which means it can be used to comfortably pack more words per line.