Design Fundamentals: Typography Course 01— Repetition & Contrast

How can you improve your typography? Get better with using type now. Stop struggling with type. Learn how to use type in this ongoing typography course. In lesson 1, the focus is on achieving clarity and drawing the viewer in through the use of contrast. 90 minute video lesson. Appropriate for all ages.

Art Center, design graduate and Emmy winning director, Chris Do shares his most valuable tips on how to achieve better looking layouts. It’s about balancing repetition & contrast.

Criteria for good typography:
1. Clarity
2. Visual Interest
3. Communicates
4. Details

Tips discussed:
1. Skip weights
2. Change hue/tonal value
3. Mix cases
4. Double the pt. size
5. Mix it up
6. Vary spacing
7. Pairing fonts
8. Thinking with type

3:48 Design and Typography Criteria (Clear / Confusing, Interesting / Boring, Communicate, Details)
4:56 What are the details that you look for in the design?
5:34 Typography is in the details
5:55 History Of Typography: Expressive Typography Examples
8:25 Functional Typography Examples
12:03 “Typographic Design is complex requiring a broad background for informed practice. Without adequate knowledge, it’s easy for the designer to follow fads, cliches, or yield to built in defaults.”
12:35 “Typefaces are clothes for words and like a finely tailored suit, it’s the detail in their composition that adds interest.”
13:00 Repetition and Contrast
14:05 Contrast is king in terms of design layouts
14:22 Contrast Rule: Skip a typeface weight
15:50 Contrast Rule: Change the typeface Hue
18:02 Contrast Rule: Mix typeface cases (Uppercase/All Caps & Lowercase)
18:43 Tip: Try to refrain from using too many typefaces, and use one weight and one point size to learn how to work with type.
22:00 Contrast Rule: Double the point size
24:45 Q: How do you pitch typography as expressive design to a client?
31:20 Contrast Rule: Mix it up
31:58 Contrast Rule: Vary the spacing between leading, kerning and tracking
36:04 Contrast Rule: Pairing Fonts (Character Width, Serif/Sans-Serif, Script, Slab Serif)
39:08 Contrast Rule: Cut it out
40:00 Q: Is there a way to pair two typefaces that are similar?
42:06 Q: Is there a proper typeface for a certain job/project?
43:50 Q: Are you following a grid when cutting off text?
46:19 Q: Are some of these typography rules intuitive or learned?
55:05 Thought-unit typography – Arrange lines into discrete parts related to the meaning of the text.
59:10 Q: How do you approach practicing typography at home?
1:00:28 Helvetica Poster – Matthew Benkert
1:04:10 Typography Contrast Example – Adding contrast to a title card
1:18:35 Q: Why not justify type alignment?
1:20:35 List of Contrast Rules
1:20:57 Book References
1:23:12 Next Week: Grids
1:25:49 Q: Why would you use Adobe Illustrator and not Photoshop for typeface design?

This is the Futur of Education— Disrupting the design education paradigm. Our mission is super simple—fundamentally change how design education is taught. We want to teach as many people in the world as possible. To support more programming like this, please purchase this course.

Over 12 hours of preparation, 22+ years of experience, 4.5 years studying at Art Center went into the production of this content.

Matt Benkert
Books recommended on the show:

Typographic Design: Form and Communication

Stop Stealing Sheep & Find Out How Type Works, Third Edition

Type Matters: Simple tips for everyday typography

Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors & Students

Detail in Typography

Layout Essentials: 100 design principles for using grids

One that wasn’t mentioned but should have been:
Josef Muller-Brockmann Pioneer Of Swiss Graphic Design

For more information about the futur visit:


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