A design's typography is the typeface designers use. Choosing the typography is very important if you want to communicate the right message. In this section, we will explain the five essential aspects of typography in design: the verbal message, the figurative message, the serif typography, the sans serif typography and the easy-to-read texts.
- The verbal message: It is the message that is made up of words of language, with a conventional and normativized meaning. In other words, this is the message that is written WITH typography, that is explicitly expressed and that has to be written in some typeface. Compared to the figurative message, the verbal message is literal. It is a literal or denotative message because the use of words makes what is expressed be within the strict parameters of meaning; i.e., there are no multiple interpretations and it does not have to be explained.
- The figurative message: It is the most important aspect as regards typography in design. Everybody understands that there is a verbal message and that something is expressed when something is written; but typography's figurative or connotative message is more complex than that. It is a message that is not expressed through what is written, but through the typeface in which it is written. If a serious and plain typography is used, the message will be different than the one expressed with a funny and witty typography, even though it is the same word or phrase we are talking about. Obviously, the levels of consciousness that notice the verbal and figurative message are different. The verbal message is perceived with one's conscience and it is analyzed with the formal logic. This means that the recipient is completely conscious and aware of what is expressed, and that a message is being communicated to him. The communication he receives is analyzed from his conscience with logic. For instance, in the case of a Logo with a medical practice slogan that says «Dr. Fierro's Practice -We treat you if we have the time», the person who receives it will analyze it and realize that it is logically negative. The recipient knows that a physician cannot say that he will treat him «if he has the time». However, a figurative message, the one the typeface communicates, is not received with one's conscience and it is not analyzed with logic. The typeface communicates certain information that is not noticed by the recipient in a conscious way. Thus, he does not know what it is being expressed and he does not know something is being communicated to him. Nonetheless, what is said through typography is received and generates a reaction that is shown as a feeling, and not as a well-founded opinion. It is common to hear people say, «I bought this because it gave me a nice feeling». Typography communicates a message that reaches one's subconscious and has no logic filter. That is why, if someone reads a doctor's Logo that says «trustworthiness and professional background» in a funny and humorous typography, he would not say «this doctor is irresponsible», but he will not feel safe visiting him. All this happens in a subconscious way, not knowing why, and that is why this typography aspect is the most important one: its potential benefits are endless.
- Serif typography: This type of font uses crossed lines to end letters. The use of these «edges» called serifs dates back to some centuries ago, when the letter's right finishing was only possible with a chisel stroke. That is how serifs appeared. Serif typography is a kind of typography related to these strokes. A well-known example of serif typography is Times New Roman.
- Sans serif typography: This typeface does not have serifs. It is also called just sans. This typography is more recent than the previous one and that is why it is more used in designs. As opposed to serif typography, this one communicates a more current and modern message. Well-known Arial typeface is sans serif typography.
- Easy-to-read texts: When a brochure, magazine, Web site, etc. is designed, the typography it is written in should not strain the reader's eye, so that he can finish reading it. 95% of printed designs and advertisements are written in serif typography. This is due to the fact that many studies have shown that serifs help readers look at a text without straining his eyes so much. Apparently, these serifs lead your sight from one letter to the other, and you almost make no effort. This makes texts more attractive, easier to read and, above all, recipients read them from beginning to end. On Web sites with a lot of text, serif typography is not used. Sans serif is used because, as computer monitors do not have the same resolution as printers, serifs are not clearly distinct and letters appear blurred. In this case, serifs' benefits would end up being a disadvantage.
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