Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Let's talk about titles

Titles, headlines, body copy, mastheads... what it all boils down to is typography. I've had a love for typography for years. Not just the love of fonts. Don't get me wrong, I love fonts.... but I love typography. I love fitting words together. I love taking a headline and making it spectacular. I love playing with fonts to create a logo. I love mixing a serif and a sans serif. I love typesetting!

There's a whole history of typography, which I'm not going to explain in my blog. But, if you are interested, you can look here, or here. And if you want to read about Johann Gutenberg who invented the first printing press, go here.

However, the kind of typography that I'm going to demonstrate, is more of using type in design. How important it is (at least to me) to convey your message in your design... whether it be a scrapbook page, a brochure, a magazine ad or a sign... these ideas can be applied to all areas.

For my example (I'm assuming most of my readers are scrappers) is a simple scrapbook page. Which in and of itself is fine. It gets the job done:

Title at the top, picture centered, journaling below. You've got all the elements that constitute a scrapbook page. However, if you're looking for rocky road or pistachio, what you have here is vanilla.

Let's add something to it... let's play with our type:
By taking our title and stacking it, you've created, rather than a straight line, a visual element. Now it's more like vanilla with a little hot fudge on top. Yummy, but should we add more???

NOW we're talking! Visually any way. See how I used 2 different fonts to visually put emphasis on the word monster. Now when you look at the page, the word monster jumps out at you. It's a force to be reckoned with. This is no longer vanilla! We've got some chocolate covered peanuts in there! Mmmm.

You can do this with any word or phrase to make your titles shine.

Let's try to put the emphasis on another word:
Here I put the emphasis on the word created rather than monster. Doing this takes your layout in a different direction. Your journaling (or body copy) will now most likely talk about how you created the costume for your dog (in this case). In the previous example, you might talk about how your little monster acted on Halloween.

Notice how I took two different fonts ~ the serif (the smaller one with "feet") and the sans serif (no feet) and married the two. They do not fight each other. Sometimes using 2 similar fonts would fight each other. Also notice how I tucked the words "Oh no! I've" into the area in front of the T in the word creaTed. I love to do that. Keeps your title together and from floating around. Helps your eye travel around your title block that you created as well. I did the same thing with the last few words of my title, but used the T in monster and placed it right at the end of the letter D.

If you take out all your thickers and your chipboard letters and play with placement a bit, you'll get the hang of it. Play with your ascenders (b,d,f,h,k,l,t) and your descenders (g,j,p,q,y sometimes z), see how you can tuck things around them... and try not just letters, but even emebellishments.

Now, for the last sample, I threw in some color, to really make this title pop. The layout looked pretty darn good as it was, but, if you know how to use color, well, that's the whip cream on top!
The use of color can also get your message across. I used 2 complimentary colors... I think technically it's a split complimentary, but I'll save that for another post.

Using a darker color (purple) and a lighter color (orange) I was able to soften the boldness of the word created. The word isn't shouting any more, but it's still louder than the smaller words. Just not as obnoxious.

I hope that my little tutorial helped some of you in positioning your titles. Maybe it will give you an idea as to why when you look as someones layout in a gallery that that particular layout really draws you in. Could be the great typography.

Here's some great typography used in these posters.

ETA: the sexy font is Fontleroy Brown, found for free here.

Have a fun day.... go play with your letters!!

(dog photo from iStock)


Stacy said...

Great tips. TFS!

GLOANN said...

Loved reading your article. This is the kind of thing I am trying to learn more about. I know what I like on LOs, but I want to know why I like it and how I can incorporate it into my work. Thanks so much.

Didn't know you were on the design team. Congrats. Hope you'll enjoy that. Will the site be posting the LOs, etc. done by the design team? Couldn't find any when I went there just now.

OkanoganHighlandsPhotography said...

Great tips! Thanks so much for a 5 minute crash course -- I know I will be improving my pages now! I LOVE to play with typography, so this is totally awesome to learn! Amanda

Anne Marie said...

Awesome tutorial, thanks so much! This is great!

laverneboese said...

wow, love the tutorial!

NancyJones said...

LOVE IT! I just thought I
Did that when I ran out of letters in a certain font hahaaha
WHO KNEW I was doin somethin cool the whole time. YEAH thats it I MEANT to do that!!

hehe THANKS FOR THE TUTORIAL I learned alot from that!

Melissa said...

That is an awesome tutorial. THANKS A BUNCH! I love fonts...could say I am a little addicted to all the different types. Thanks again for the great advice on how to use them!

Elizabeth said...

Great Job!! Thanks!!

jessicamae3 said...

That right there is just ARESOME, yep I said ARESOME!

Dee said...

excellent tutorial, chris! thanks a BUNCH!!

Kathy said...

This was wonderful! I'm so glad I found you. Great tips! Thank you