Mastering Type: 10 Typography Tips to Take Your Designs to the Next Level

The image displays the text "Type Tips" written in the font "Editorial New" with a glass filter applied to it using Photoshop. The font is centered on a plain white background. This experimental image is used to accompany a blog post titled "Mastering Type: 10 Typography Tips to Take Your Designs to the Next Level."

By Nine Blaess | 3:45 min

In this article
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    Have you ever wondered why some designs look so much better than others? Chances are, it’s all in the typography. Well-used typography is a key factor in design and can make a huge difference to the quality and appeal of your work. To help you take your designs to the next level, I’ve put together ten practical typography tips you can implement immediately.

    Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, these tips offer practical and actionable ways to improve your typography skills.

    1. Choose professionally designed fonts

    Professionally designed fonts have been crafted by experienced font designers.  Those fonts come in a wide range of styles and weights, providing versatility for your designs. They also have better quality control, ensuring consistency and readability across different platforms and devices.

    Would you like some inspiration on which fonts to use? Check out my monthly font fix for February and March.

    Design tip: Many professional type foundries offer free trial versions for designers. You can use this opportunity to experiment with different fonts.

    2. Apply hierarchy

    To avoid overwhelming the viewer with too much information, every design needs a clear hierarchy of information. One way to achieve this is to use different font sizes, styles and colours. In this way, you can direct the reader’s eye and highlight the most important information.

    Screenshot from MyMind website illustrating the importance of clear hierarchy in design. The image shows a layout with multiple elements arranged in a hierarchical manner, with a clear indication of which element should be noticed first, second and third. This image is relevant to the topic of typography tips.
    Image source: MyMind website,

    Design tip: Ask yourself what information the reader should perceive first, second, third… then start designing.

    3. Use grid systems

    Grids divide a layout into columns and rows to create a frame of reference for content placement. They thereby help align text and images in a consistent and orderly manner.

    There are different types of grids, such as:

    • the manuscript grid,
    • the column grid,
    • the modular grid,
    • the baseline grid,
    • and the hierarchical grid.

    Depending on the application, certain grids are more suitable than others. For example, a manuscript grid may be used for book layouts, while a column grid is better suited for web designs.

    Typography tips: On the left side of the image, there is a design layout displayed using a modular grid system. On the right side, there is an overlay that shows the grid lines used in the design.
    Modular grid system explained

    Design tip: Take some time and experiment with different grid types to see which one works best for your project.

    4. Don’t mix too many font styles

    When choosing fonts for your design, less is often more. If you use too many different fonts, your design can quickly become cluttered and unprofessional. “No more than three” is a good rule of thumb when combining fonts.

    Fonts that are too similar don’t go well together. Try to create contrast by combining a serif font with a sans serif font, for example. In this article, you will find more tips on combining fonts.

    5. Use contrast

    I have just touched on contrast before. You can create contrast by combining fonts. But also through the use of different font sizes, colours and weights (eg. bold vs. light). Contrast helps create a clear information hierarchy and directs the reader’s eye.

    A screenshot from the Jokolade website showcasing effective use of color to direct attention to typography. The screenshot features a chocolate packaging where information is placed on a bright yellow lemon to stand out.
    Image source: Jokolade Website,

    Design Tip: Indeed, contrast can be created not only through typography, but also through the use of other design elements such as shapes, images, and colors.

    6. Use whitespace

    Beginners often make the mistake of neglecting white space. But you don’t have to fill every inch with text or images—often less is more.

    White space is the empty space around the design elements. If you use white space consciously, you can create a sense of balance and draw the reader’s eye to the elements you want them to notice.

    The Aesop website is an example of effective use of white space. The website features an off-white background with large amounts of negative space, creating a clean and minimalist look.
    Image source: Aesop website,

    Design tip: Try to strip away everything not necessary for communicating your message. Then, slowly start introducing more design elements.

    7. Adjust the leading

    Leading, or line spacing, is the vertical distance between lines of text. Choosing appropriate line spacing is crucial for ensuring that text is legible and easy to read.

    The ideal leading strikes a balance between being neither too tight nor too loose, as this can affect the reader’s ability to distinguish individual lines of text.

    Line spacing is influenced by various factors, such as font type, size and line length. Longer lines generally require greater line spacing than shorter lines, and headings tend to need smaller line spacing than body text.

    Design tip: Generally, a leading value of 1.2 to 1.5 times the font size is a good starting point.

    8. Pay attention to kerning

    Kerning is about adjusting the spacing between letters to improve the appearance and readability of the text. This is particularly important in logo design or headlines, for example.

    Good kerning results in a balanced and uniform typography, while poor kerning can result in awkward spacing that detracts from reading.

    An illustration depicting two words, one on the left and one on the right, with an arrow pointing from left to right. The word on the left appears with irregular spacing between the letters, while the word on the right has uniform spacing between the letters. This is called kerning. Typography tip: kern your headlines

    Design Tip: If you want to practice your kerning skills, check out this kerning game.

    9. Use OpenType features and glyphs

    OpenType features and glyphs are tools that can very quickly enhance your design. They offer a variety of features, such as ligatures, alternate characters and small caps.

    Ligatures, for example, are combinations of two or more letterforms that blend seamlessly to create a more appealing image.

    Design Tip: To access the OpenType features and glyphs panel in Illustrator, go to the “Window” menu and select “Type > OpenType” or “Type > Glyphs.”

    10. Use proper punctuation

    Clear and understandable punctuation is an essential aspect of successful typography. Proper punctuation helps prevent confusion and ensures your message is conveyed clearly. Make sure you use punctuation marks such as commas, hyphens, and dashes correctly and with the appropriate spacing.

    Want to improve your punctuation right now? Here is a brief list of the most commonly confused punctuation marks:

    • Use a Hyphen (-) to join two or more words to form a compound word or to break words at the end of a line.​
    • Use an En Dash (–) to indicate a range of numbers or to connect two related words.​
    • Use an Em Dash (—) to indicate a break in thought or sentence structure or to set off parenthetical statements.​
    • Use a Midpoint (·) instead of bullets to separate a list.
    • Use proper quotation marks (“ ”​)​ to indicate a direct quotation or a word or phrase used in a specific sense.​
    • Use an Apostrophe (’) to indicate the possessive case of a noun or to show the omission of letters in a word.​
    • Use an Ellispes (…) to indicate the omission of words or to suggest a trailing off of thought.​
    • Use the correct symbols, such as ½ instead of 1/2.

    To sum up, typography plays a crucial role in the design process. Follow these ten typography tips to perfect your typography skills, and you’ll see your designs improve significantly.

    If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also find my guide on ‘How to Find the Perfect Typeface for Your Brand’ helpful.

    Are you interested in expanding your knowledge of typography? Numerous books and courses offer an excellent way to delve deeper into the subject.

    A valuable resource is also The Flawless Typography Checklist by Typewolf, which synthesises insights and expertise from various sources.


    Ready to take your business to the next level?