How to treat text in graphic design


In the design process text is anything but incidental. You must think hard about how to place text.

Readability is a priority when it comes to any design project. If the text in your design can’t be read then who are you designing for? Good designs deliver content that is easy to read and understand.

Letters and words should be easily distinguished and recognized. You must be able to see and interpret the text at a single glance, even from a distance.


Line length and space

Lines of type should not be too long or too short. It’s also best to avoid (odd) hyphenation. Otherwise reading is difficult, the reader feels something is wrong and he gives up.
Letters and words must live in their own space, a space they preferably don’t have to share with other letters or images.
The space between lines is important as well, most designers prefer a minimum of 150 percent of text size.
Think about the margins. Around each entire text frame some white space is necessary.


Contrast, subheads and alignment

Don’t forget contrast. You can add contrast with white space but also with colour. Choose simple colours for blocks of text (black, white, gray). Do you want to add other colours in your text, then reserve those for big or oversized words.
Large blocks of text need short subheads. They make it easier to digest the text visually and they make longer copy less intimidating to read.
Left-aligned text works best because you read from left to right. Use centered text sparingly and only for small text blocks, otherwise the design will look amateurish. Right-aligned text is used very rarely, if ever.


Design for readability

Design for readability or simply don’t use text at all. Designing this way is a delight for the reader. Also, remember there is so much information available that people look (or click) away very quickly from a text they can’t process at a single glance.

About the author


(photo)graphic designer & traveller, thrives on fresh air

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