How critical is typography in sign design?
The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces or font, point size, line length, leading, adjusting the spaces between groups of letters (tracking) and adjusting the space between pairs of letters.
Often, people get confused between typefaces and font. Typefaces are a family of fonts, such as Helvetica Regular, Helvetica Italic, Helvetica Bold, and Helvetica Neue.
A font, on the other hand, is one weight or style within a typeface family, such as Helvetica regular.
Graphic designers usually decide on the typefaces for printed and other material, including real estate yard signs. But if you’re into custom made signs, you may not have time to consult with a graphic designer.
Or you may want to avoid the expense of a graphic designer. Either way, it’s critical you understand the basics of typography and typefaces.
Functions of Typefaces
Typefaces perform a key communications function. Choosing the right typeface not only makes your signs—and printed material—look aesthetically pleasing. It also makes them more legible and readable.
Typefaces fall into one of two general categories—serif and sans serif:
- Serif typefaces are the more traditional typefaces. You see used often on signs and printed matter. These typefaces have a short line or finishing stroke at the end.
These typefaces have been in use since printing began. Considered traditional typefaces, they include Cambria, Times New Roman, and Palatino. All are popular.
- Slab serif typefaces have thick block-like serifs. These may be either blunt and angular or rounded. Slab serif typefaces include Courier, Rockwell, and Rockwell Extra Bold.
- Sans serif typefaces lack end lines or finishing strokes. These typefaces became popular in the 19th century. Hence, they are considered modern. This category includes Eurostile, Calibri, Century Gothic, and Optima.
Understanding the basics of typography can help you design real estate signs that make people sit up and take notice, such as when you create open house signs. You can find plenty of information on typography on the Web.
The typography of your sign dramatically affects its readability and effectiveness. If you’re having trouble deciding on a typeface for you sign consult the experts at RSI.