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Musings on the Impact of the Digital Typography Revolution

By figmints

07/22/2015

Typography is one of the most important elements to good design. It can single-handedly carry the aesthetics of a brand to the next level of greatness – or, just as easily, significantly deplete or even destroy a brand. All in all, choosing the correct typeface for your brand is of paramount importance.

Rules of typography have drastically changed with the shift to digital over the past decade and a half. Designing exclusively for the screen is now more important than ever. The advent of the digital canvas opened up a world of possibilities for designers.

With the transition to digital typography, we are no longer constrained by the boundaries of the print world: almost anything you imagine can be made a reality with some lines of code!

Not too long ago, the world of screen design was like the Wild Wild West. To put it frankly, there were no rules.

Over time, the limitations that existed in typography selection inevitably gave way to a library of a few curated selections compiled by select industry-leading designers. By embracing advancements in technology, designers redefined what was possible — and, more importantly, what was expected by consumers. With the boundaries of possibilities exponentially expanded, designers now can virtually create anything our minds imagine.

Standards and rules now exist for how to navigate the previously anarchical digital screen (web pages, mobile screens, programs, etc.). Thanks in a large part to the rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets equipped with full web browsers, the digital typography playground still continues to expand.

Even though we are able to do so much more in the digital sphere, the importance of good typography has not diminished.

It took awhile, but now it’s easy to get the exact typeface you want on the web. Rather than being limited to select typefaces (as many of the greatest graphic designers of our time were known to do), we can technically leverage thousands of different typefaces.

Nonetheless, the sheer amount of typefaces readily available to us can trick us into thinking that the mindset of the old masters is antiquated. Don’t be fooled! One of the hardest skills to master as a designer is restraint. Limit your type tool box to include a few versatile typefaces.

To get you started, here are a few of the most popular web fonts available today. The ones showcased here are all up for grabs (for free!) by way of the wonderful Google Fonts.

 


WORKHORSE FAMILIES

Extensive typeface families that include lots of weights

  1. Open Sans
  2. Lato
  3. Source Sans
  4. Merriweather

DISPLAY FAMILIES

Typfaces that look best in larger sizes — ideal for headlines

  1. Playfair Display
  2. Montserrat
  3. Raleway
  4. Archivo Black

MONO SPACED

  1. PT Mono
  2. Inconsolata
  3. Source Code Pro 

 


Thanks for checking out my first blog post! I’m considering writing a series on the evolution of typography, so hit me up if you like what you read & want to learn more.

As always, if you’re interested in taking your brand to the next level, you can learn more about our process here.