Without a doubt, typography is a pivotal part of user interface design. In the design process, it is important to ensure that the project’s intent and purpose are clearly communicated to users. Most times, this is achieved using text. Therefore, it is safe to infer that good typography goes a long way in the effectiveness of a design, improving the overall user experience of your design requires optimizing your typography. However, not a lot of people understand this vital role of typography.
Good typography improves the accessibility, readability, usability and graphic balance of your design. In most cases, the ultimate goal of a user interface design is to reduce the barriers between the user and the interface to the bare minimum. Your typography choices should not add to a user’s cognitive load, and should attract the user to the content.
Here are 5 tips to improve your typography in your designs.
One of the fundamental principles of design is visual hierarchy. Simply put, hierarchy is the organization of the visual elements of a design to influence the order by which a user perceives them. Hierarchy in typography is achieved using several style types, from headings and subheadings to font weights and sizes.
Using a clear typographic hierarchy in your design makes the text very much readable and easier to scan. By ordering your text in a hierarchical order, you can conveniently draw the user’s attention to key parts of the design. The rule of thumb actually states that you should double of half the sizes when changing point sizes.
The spacing between letters, words, and lines goes a long way in influencing our readability. If your text does not have enough white space, it might not be legible enough, making it difficult for users. On the other hand, excessive whitespace can lead to the user not easily following your text.
Some of the important things to look out for with regards to spacing in typography include:
- Line Height — Line height is also referred to as “leading” or “line spacing” in some contexts. However, irrespective of what it is called, line-height refers to how text is spaced vertically. Choosing the perfect line spacing depends on a number of factors, although the general rule of thumb states that a line-height of 1.5x is good enough as a starting point. You can choose to adjust this accordingly.
- Letter Spacing — This refers to the spacing between letters. Many designers tend not to pay attention to letter-spacing, but sometimes, it can be the difference between good and great typography. Especially with respect to the readability of your text. Uppercase text letter-spacing should have higher letter-spacing. The letter-spacing should be reduced with a decrease in the font size. Letter spacing should also be reduced with a decrease in the weight of the font.
3. Line Length
Line length dictates the width of your text box. In UI design, it is advisable to have shorter lines. Short lines are mostly recommended in UI projects due to the legibility and increased ease of reading. It is recommended that on-screen text should be between 60–80 characters. Although this depends on the screen size, mobile screens might require a smaller number of characters.
4. Font Selection
When choosing a font, it is also important to look out for the context of the copy and the target audience. There are thousands of fonts available. Each of these fonts have specific moods that they represent, and choosing the best font goes a long way in determining the overall quality of your user interface.
With the right font, your message is effectively communicated across to your audience. A wrong choice, however, can lead to undesirable outcomes. In instances where you have to use multiple interfaces, you might want to look out for the number of fonts you are using. Normally, it is always best to use typefaces that fall within the same family. This helps create the diversity you desire without having your design getting overcomplicated.
Using typefaces with the same family also helps your work look cohesive and clean. If you have to create a lot of diverse text in a UI design, choosing a typeface with a lot of variations can help. Also, pairing fonts requires that you carefully work out a plan to create some contrast using font size, weight, and other spacing options.
Font families with extra features like italics, extended, and condensed versions also offer more creative options. However, the goal remains to keep it simple. You should keep this in mind when choosing fonts.
Most countries and languages around the world read from left to right, top to bottom. This is why justifying your text can go a long way to improve its readability. By keeping a consistent left edge, you create an anchor point for the eye after each sentence. This makes reading the article easier. You should also ensure that you avoid having only one word on the last line of your paragraph.
In conclusion, understanding typography and its optimal use in design is a skill that all designers need to hone in creating the best user experiences fully.