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Don’t Forget To Kern

Somebody once said that if you truly hate someone, teach them how to recognise bad kerning. A shoddy kerning job is one of the cardinal sins in the world of design, so it’s an important skill to nail down early on.

Don’t Disregard Readability/Legibility For Aesthetic Reasons

I’m sure I’ve said this a million times, but the primary purpose of design is communication, so it makes sense that the readability and legibility of your type is a top priority.

Another common mistake is the overuse of capital letters. Not only do capital letters make the reader feel like they are being YELLED AT, they also hinder the eye’s ability to distinguish letterforms. This is because when executed in caps, each letter has the same x-height and block-like shape, whereas in lowercase, the letterforms are more uniquely shaped, allowing for the eye to more easily identify each letter and word.

Keep Your Line Lengths Short

Have you ever struggled to get through an otherwise interesting magazine article? Or perhaps lost your place each time you tried to go to a new line? This may be the fault of badly structured line lengths.

Have Purposeful Hierarchy

Just like within a lot of natural orders, a strong and purposeful hierarchy is a pretty powerful tool. Within the realm of design, hierarchy concerns the arrangement of visual elements in order to signify importance. So, the more important elements are made to hold the most attention through scale, colour, type etc. and the least important elements are made to hold less attention.

Practise Appropriate Word Spacing

As a designer, dealing with a body of type is almost an inevitability, and it’s not always easy. There are lots of rules and elements to take into consideration, and here’s a pretty important one: word and letter spacing. There are two main points of spacing we’ll run over: tracking and leading.

As a designer, dealing with a body of type is almost an inevitability, and it’s not always easy. There are lots of rules and elements to take into consideration, and here’s a pretty important one: word and letter spacing. There are two main points of spacing we’ll run over: tracking and leading.

Use The Correct Alignment

You have almost definitely encountered the basic alignment tools before, whether you have been in the game for years or are yet to step anywhere near the game. There are four different kinds of alignment: left aligned, right aligned, centered and justified. Let’s quickly run through when and where we can use these.

Left aligned type is the most common form (note how even this text is aligned to the left) and for a good reason. It’s the most easily legible and gives a nice, neat left edge to the text. When in doubt, left align.

Always Use A Grid

Developing some basic grid skills is probably one of the first steps any fledgling designer should undertake. A well-implemented grid is a bit like a fairy godmother, it can transform your design from something average to something clean, clear and effective.

Grids come in many shapes and sizes and you can build them to be flexible, adaptable and to suit your design. Grids help designers align elements on the page in relation to each other which often produces a neater, more logical design. Check out the sample grids in the included graphic, a two, three and four column grid can be used to help arrange type and imagery in various ways.

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