How Type Systems Make Designing Easier

Imagine bread with jam and pickles. Or strawberries with ketchup. With all due respect to each individual’s sense of taste, most of us would find such a mixture of ingredients far from palatable. In other words, it’s all about finding the right mix – not only in the kitchen. But also in matters of love or when you’re getting dressed. And in typography as well, of course.

Current technologies provide us with more opportunities then ever to produce high quality texts. On the one hand, you have perfectly formed typefaces as “building blocks”. On the other hand, there is a typographic “architecture” to satisfy even the most exacting demands. There’s an appropriate typeface for every purpose or content, and a myriad of ways to structure and differentiate them. The choices are overwhelming.

Advertising opts for powerful contrasts. Brash and crazy typefaces are used to draw attention to the ad; the accompanying explanatory text makes a more sedate impression. Annual reports, reference books and textbooks all require a more unobtrusive differentiation of fonts. A unified overall look is of primary importance. Names and terminology should have a characteristic typeface, but not so as to force themselves into the center of attention. Headings and sub-headings may have a more striking appearance, but they must still be in harmony with the surrounding typefaces. Type systems that encompass a variety of styles make this kind of design work much easier.

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