Typography is Everywhere: Navigating Fonts, Tone & Composition | Carolyn Rodgers | Skillshare

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Typography is Everywhere: Navigating Fonts, Tone & Composition

teacher avatar Carolyn Rodgers, Designer, illustrator, color lover!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (1h)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. What is Typography

    • 4. Basics: Type Families and Spacing

    • 5. Next Level: Classification and Tone

    • 6. Advanced: Combining Typefaces

    • 7. Composition & Hierarchy

    • 8. Thumbnail Sketching

    • 9. Print vs Digital Workflows

    • 10. Set Up Your File

    • 11. Design Your Postcard

    • 12. Critique & Save FINAL

    • 13. Design Your Social Post

    • 14. Other Applications

    • 15. Conclusion

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About This Class

Type is everywhere! In our emails, social media posts, street signs we drive by and someone designed all of it. There’s a lot you can express with fonts that already exist. 

In this class, you’ll learn how to communicate with type! You'll learn basic terminology, how to pick and pair fonts, and arrange those fonts in a captivating composition.


We’re all designers in the digital age. So this class is for everyone! But especially for creatives, content creators, and graphic designers looking to improve their social media posts, portfolio websites, or work as a whole. When you understand how to work with type, it improves your everyday visual communication skills and you can communicate tone, importance, and meaning effectively. 

Throughout this class you will learn:

  • What typography is and basic terminology, like type families, kerning, and leading.
  • How to communicate tone using keywords and selecting appropriate fonts.
  • How to sketch ideas and then bring them to life using design applications like InDesign.
  • How to self-critique save your files to be used in the world!


No prior knowledge is required for this crash course in typography, but some basic drawing skills and familiarity with programs like InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop will be helpful.

If you want to continue pushing your type skills after the class, I would recommend the following classes to continue learning:

I can't wait to explore typography with you and see your projects!

Meet Your Teacher

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Carolyn Rodgers

Designer, illustrator, color lover!


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1. Introduction: Are you jealous of letters? Have you always wanted to get into hand lettering, but just don't have the time or tools? Try starting with typography. There's a lot you can express with fonts that already exist. When used intentionally, typography can convey theme, mood, and set the tone of your project. Hey, I'm Caroline, a graphic designer and artist who has always been fascinated with Type. One of the first graphic design classes I took in college was typography, and it really opened up my eyes to how type is everywhere. It's in our emails, it's in our social media posts, it's on the cereal boxes that we see every morning, it's on the street signs that we drive by and somebody designed all of it. It really made me realize that everything from the text in our books to movie posters was thoughtfully made design. In this class, you'll learn how to communicate with type. Typography is the art of arranging type to make the written language readable, legible, and expressive. It's how you say something, like the voice you speak with. Today typography is a very accessible and popular field. We went from having a few styles of Britain language that were controlled only by a handful of skilled artisans, to probably millions of styles that can be controlled by anyone with basic software on their computer. We're all designers in the digital age. That's why this class is great for everyone and everything. It'll be especially helpful for creatives, content creators, or graphic designers who are looking to improve their portfolio websites, social media posts, or really bodies of work as a whole. Even traditional artists can get something from this class. Because it teaches you basic visual communication skills that help you communicate meaning and tone in everything you do. We'll start with basic terminology. You'll learn everything from what is a glyph to the difference between leading and kerning. Then we'll go over how to pick and pair fonts. There's a lot you can express when you understand what fonts have been associated with moments in culture and history. Finally, we'll practice how to arrange your type into a captivating composition. For your class project, you'll design a postcard to promote an event, real or fictional. You'll go through the process of sketching ideas, designing the postcard, and then critiquing your own work, the full design workflow. To streamline this process, I've prepared a workbook with a series of exercises so you get a chance to experiment and get a feel for what fonts you're drawn to you and when they are most appropriate. No prior knowledge is required to join this class. But a basic knowledge and familiarity with programs like InDesign, Photoshop or Illustrator will be super helpful. By the end of this class, you'll not only have a beautiful postcard, but also a way to express yourself with the fonts that already exist out there. Let's look at the world through the eyes of a designer. 2. Project: To practice your new topography skills, I'd like you to create a five by seven inch postcard to promote an event of your choice. This is a common design project that exercises basic topography and composition skills. We'll get to go through graphic design workflow of sketching, designing on the computer and critiquing ourselves. After you finish making your printed postcard, you'll also have the option to design a digital social media posts for Instagram. Before we even start, you'll need to come prepared with a few things. You'll need the following pieces of information for your final project. Event title, date and time, location, a sentence or two describing the event, dress code of the event, and how people can RSVP. This can be a completely made up event, or it could be one of your favorite events that you've been to before. You'll have to decide what program you'll be working on. I'll be working on In design because that's what I'm comfortable with and what I normally use to create printed design materials. You can also use Illustrator or Photoshop, whatever application you're comfortable with. In the project resources, you'll also find a workbook to help you perfect your skills along the way with almost each lesson. Follow along with a quick exercises which will offer more interactive and visual ways of learning about topography. There will also be a reading list and a bunch of resources that will help keep you inspired and learning the terminology and giving you example of how you can design in your own projects. Let's get started. 3. What is Typography: Let's start with the question that everyone's wondering, what is typography anyway? Typography is the art of making the written language legible, readable, and expressive. Let's talk about those three things a little more in detail. Legibility is the quality of being decipherable. Can you actually read the language? An example of legibility can be seen in display typefaces versus text typefaces. Display typefaces should only be used for large text, like titles and headlines, because they are less readable at smaller sizes. Texts or body typefaces, on the other hand, work well at smaller sizes. For example, the original Garamond was designed to be highly legible and printed and designs with a lot of small text on the page. Problems with legibility, it can leave your readers unable to understand what you're trying to communicate. Readability is the quality of being easy and enjoyable to read. An example of a readability issue was seen in the 2000 US presidential election ballot, where a misaligned rows became confusing to voters and some people even voted for the wrong candidate. Problems with readability can leave the reader understanding your language and what you're trying to say but they might have a hard time getting through it. Expressive as the fun or appropriate style that you as the designer to the arrangement of that type. Don't be afraid to have some fun while working on your designs. If you're properly communicating and organizing the information that you need to communicate to your readers and you have fun while you're doing it, people will notice, and that's 1, 1 plus 1 equals three instead of just two, it becomes something special and more. An example of expressiveness is found in movie posters. You might see one and maybe don't know what the movie is about, but you can get a sense of its tone, time period, etc Just from seeing the poster. These two posters for two very different movies, both use similar typefaces and their titles, but Singin' in the Rain is laid out in a playful bouncy and curvy way, while Psycho is splitting or breaking up or shattering and a very unsettling. Typography is the art of making the written language legible or clear to understand, readable, or easy to understand, and expressive or fun or appropriate to understand. Next, we'll cover the basic building blocks of type that will help you quickly choose your fonts for your design projects. 4. Basics: Type Families and Spacing: Now that we've defined typography as the art of making the written language legible, readable, and expressive, let's learn more about the building blocks of what makes up type. In this lesson we'll start building your type vocabulary which will help you to quickly decide on which fonts you want up front in your design process, and be able to make the small spacing tweaks that will make a big impact in your designs. When I was first learning typography, of course, my professors gave me a ton of books to read, a ton of worksheets with the definitions all laid out for me, but it wasn't really until I actually saw type that I began to grasp those concepts. What I mean by seeing type is looking at old methods of type that everything on the computer comes from. Different terms like leading and glyphs, all come from letterpress and movable type. I'm going to teach you the following important definitions by explaining a bit of traditional methods of printing. People have been using letterpress machine since the 15th century. Typesetters carefully assembled little metal or wood-puzzle pieces into words, sentences, and even pages of type to create book pages, posters, anything with printed type on the bed of a letterpress machine that was then inked, enrolled onto piece of paper like a big stamp. The puzzle pieces I mentioned that those typesetters were grabbing are the basic building blocks of a typeface. They're called glyphs. A glyph is a specific shape design or representation of a letter, numeral, or symbol. This is actually a glyph that represents two letters coming together called a ligature. Groups of glyphs in one style, weight, and width make up a font or a typeface. Just so you know, there is a technical difference between a typeface and a font, but nowadays people just blur the two terms together and use them interchangeably. Let's take a look at a typeface everyone knows. Times New Roman Bold, where bold defines the weight. Times New Roman Regular is a different typeface where the weight is lighter. If you only have to use these two very similar but very different typefaces in your design, you would still have a lot of flexibility and ability to build that strong communication that your audience is looking for. For example, you could start by setting all of your type in regular, and then where you think different areas are important, you could bold those and that way they would stand out from the regular, and you would have a really great hierarchy getting started and a great communication that tells your audience what's more important than the other text. Times New Roman Bold and Times New Roman Regular are each their own typeface, but they have a particular design that they share, thus they make up a font or a type family called Times New Roman. The whole family is made up of Times New Roman Regular, italic, medium, medium italic, semi-bold, semi-bold italic, bold, bold italic, extra-bold, condensed, condensed italic, and condensed bold. That's a lot of typefaces. That's why it's best to start your design process by picking out two or three typefaces that you want to work with so you won't get overwhelmed. Factorial letterpress machine. We already talked about glyphs and the type families that get printed onto the paper, but we haven't talked about the spacing pieces. These pieces are invisible and they don't get inked or even printed but they're necessary to build your design. There are two types of spacing that we're going to talk about that is essential to any design project. The first is kerning or the adjustment of horizontal space between glyphs. This spacing is meant to create uniformity in the type when your eyes glide across the words. Your computer will automatically space things, but it's up to you as the designer to really use your eye to see if anything's looking funky. For example, you could have one word that has too much space in the middle of it, and then it starts looking like two words, and that obviously is going to affect your legibility and readability that we talked about in the last lesson, so you want to make sure that everything is looking together and looking uniform. You could also have the opposite issue, where things come together too closely and then your word just ends up looking like a big old blob, and that will obviously affect legibility and readability too. Pull out your workbook and turn to the kerning exercise. There are three paragraphs here. One has a good amount of kerning, one has too much kerning, and one has too little kerning. If you can't determine which paragraph is which, squint your eyes or remove your glasses to get a better sense of the overall color and spacing. Another kind of spacing is leading, which is the vertical space between lines of type. Similar to kerning, you don't want the spacing between your lines to get distracting for your reader. Use leading strategically to help build different groups in your lines of text or create a negative space or a break for your readers eye in the composition. Pull out your workbook and turn to the leading exercise, which has a set of information that could be found on a movie poster. Cut and arrange the lines of text and space them out vertically in different ways to see how you can group different lines and change the rhythm for your reader just by using vertical space. That was a lot of texts, background, and definitions, but hopefully learning about the history of the letterpress machine will help you grasp some of these concepts. Don't forget the constraints are your friends. Don't go crazy by working with too many fonts. Pick a couple of fonts within the type family to stay cohesive. Avoid distracting space between your letters or between your lines of text. These tips will really help you get started on any design project. In the next lesson, we'll move on to a more fun part of building our type vocabulary, and learn about the different styles of the typefaces that we were just talking about. 5. Next Level: Classification and Tone: Now that we've learned to start your design with just a couple of fonts and to avoid distracting spacing, let's talk about how different styles of fonts are categorized or classified. This will really help you pick appropriate fonts for your design process. We could really get into the weeds and talking about type classification or the different styles of typefaces, but let's just talk about the big umbrella terms. You don't need to know the little subcategories and all that stuff. I don't even know that. If you know these basic umbrella terms and the basic skeletons of the different styles of typefaces, you'll be able to really quickly pick out what's appropriate for your design. Let's go over the groups that all typefaces fall under. Serif, with decorative strokes at the ends of their main strokes. Sans serif without serifs. Script, derived from handwriting or calligraphy and decorative typefaces, which is a very diverse category that is more ornamental and doesn't really fit into the other categories. Instead of just looking at the basic definitions and all that boring history that comes along with each of these categories, let's focus on the tone that you want to communicate and figure out which typefaces fall under those tones. One of the first steps in your design process, will be selecting your typeface or typefaces that you're going to be using throughout the whole process. Before you can even do that very important step, you need to backup and ask yourself, what tone am I trying to communicate? Once you have that answer, you can appropriately select your typefaces and that way they'll be consistent with the tone that you're trying to communicate. Here are some examples of fonts and the tones they represent, and how they do fit on some instances, but for some situations they don't work so well. San serif typefaces like Univers or Helvetica are really straight forward and clean. They don't really have a tone, so they work well to communicate straight forward information like street signs. In contrast, it would be super strange to have a black letter font on street sign because it's really dark and heavy and gives a weird gothic tone. San serif fonts like Futura or Avenir work really well in many applications. They're very clean and clear and look like basic shapes. In contrast, it might look weird here to use script font like Mistral or Sign Painter because they feel to human made, have too much personality. Serifs like Bodoni or Didot are dramatic because of their high contrast, and they work really well in modern and fashionable situations. In contrast, it would be really strange here to use an inscriptions typeface like Optima that looks chiseled into stone or engraved into metal. It appears really important and long lasting, but it's a little too official or ceremonial. Script fonts like Snell Roundhand were derived from centuries old cursive handwriting. They look, super elegant and formal. In contrast, here on table cards for maybe a wedding, it would be really strange to use a heavy and compact font, like knockout or impact. Those just look really heavy, bold and modern. I would avoid that very thin typefaces for large areas of texts because they can easily disappear when they get to a big scale. For small text, some typefaces were designed specifically for that use. For small body copy, I would recommend using serifs like Minion, Garamond or Times New Roman, or sans serifs like Myriad and Avenir. Of course, these are just recommendations, and you can totally bend the rules if that's what's best for your project. This process of figuring out which typefaces to use for your project should be pretty intuitive, but if it's not really coming to you, you can totally look at different books or use your computer to figure out what different typefaces were used for. If you're making a spooky movie poster or you can just google typeface for boogie movie poster and I'm sure a hundred things would pop up. Don't feel too intimidated by any of this, it will come to you. The best way to experiment with tone and type is to practice. Take a couple of minutes to match the different fonts below with the tone words above that they pair up with. See how intuitive and easy it is to associate tone with fonts. While we're talking about tone, let's move on to the next exercise where we'll start thinking about our final project for the class. Here I want you to brainstorm a few words, that sum up how you want your final project to feel. Refer to these keywords as you design to keep you on track. For my garden party project I already brainstormed a few words that I immediately came up with. From this list, I am going to select just a couple. I think I'm going to do something that's really modern felling, and then maybe something moody. That's different from when you first think of garden, which you would probably think of like flower and bright. That's what first comes to my mind anyway. I'm going to try doing this slightly unexpected twist on the garden party that's a little darker and moodier. Once we get on the computer, we'll pick our fonts. Just focus on deciding your tone words for now. Your keywords can be anything, but make sure they somewhat relate back to your event theme. Get brainstorming. Don't forget to start by picking out your font or fonts by asking yourself, what tone am I trying to communicate through this design? Pick your typeface or typefaces based on that tone that you picked. If you're not sure if your typeface is appropriate for your design, search for information online or in books. In the next lesson, we'll talk about a little more advanced part of the process, which is combining typefaces. 6. Advanced: Combining Typefaces: We started building your type vocabulary by looking at type families and different spacing, and by looking at how different typefaces are falling into different styles. Now we're going to do a next level stuff and figure out how to combine two different fonts in your design. You don't always need to combine two different fonts, but it can be helpful if you decide that your tone is formal, for example. You want to use a really cool, really bouncy, swashy script font. That's great, and for the title of your event, if you're making an event invitation or something like that, that script font could work really well. But if you're going to have smaller text on the page like dress code information, for example, you might not want to use super small script font because that can all mush together and just be really hard and uneasy to read. In that case, you would want to use that script font for the bigger text in your design, and then a really clean simple font for the smaller text in your design. That way you're maintaining that really great legibility and readability for your audience. You want to find a balance when finding a pair of typefaces that work well together. They shouldn't be so similar that they look almost identical, just use the same font if they look that similar. They shouldn't be too different where the overall tone of your project gets a little lost. Here are two super simple formulas to help guide you in your font pairing process : bold plus thin and personality plus neutral. Let's talk about some examples of combinations and why they work and why they don't work. Playfair Display and Roboto. they work because serif with some personality for larger text and a clean sans serif for smaller text really complement each other well. Bodoni and Playfair Display. They don't work so well because they're too similar and they don't have enough contrast. Dancing Script and Open Sans, they work. Because it's a bouncy leaning script to make a statement with personality, in an upright sans serif to hold the smaller text together, they work really well. The sans serif really grounds the script. Dancing Script plus Lobster. They don't work so well because they each have their own really distinct personality and the overall tone that is trying to come through just gets lost in the competing styles. Futura Bold plus Georgia. They work because the bold sans serif and the thinner serif really contrast each other nicely. Again, there are no right or wrong answers here. You compare whatever font with whatever other font you want. But if things are looking funky, you can always head online and see if people have paired those two fonts before. If you already have one typeface selected and you're not sure what to pair with it, I'm sure you could look it up and somebody has an answer. In this section, you can cut out different title options and different headline options, and just play around with how they pair together. Are they too similar? What combinations are coming through that you like and think work well? Combine typefaces when you want or need variety. Follow the basic formulas: bold plus thin and personality plus neutral. Have fun and experiment with your type combinations. In the next lesson, we'll take a look at the big picture and learn how to design a composition that helps strengthen your typography. 7. Composition & Hierarchy: We've learned all about the basic and advanced skills involved in topography. Now it's time to get designing and to make a composition that will really show off the topography that you've spent so much time learning and perfecting. In order to do that, we're going to talk about composition. Composition is how elements on your page will be arranged. You get to do that, it's a little scary, just staring at a blank computer screen or a blank page but I do have a tip that will help you get started and not be afraid of the blank page and it's called a grid. Grids will make up the framework of your projects composition. It is always better to set up a grid when you're starting your designs because once you draw up the grid guidelines, you don't have to think about where the design elements should go. They should all line with each other on the guidelines you've already made. No more mysterious blank page. Grids will also tell you if your elements are aligning with each other or if they're a little off to the side and you need to scoot them over a bit. You always want everything to align within your grid and your composition because that makes a really strong structure. Like in architecture, when you're building a skyscraper, you want all the pieces to align and support each other, which will strengthen the building and provide a safe space for people to move around inside. You don't want pieces hanging off of your design because that creates a very unbalanced and unsafe space for your design elements to live in your page. Here are some examples of basic grids that will help you build a strong structure for your design. One column grid, two column grid, three-column grid, and modular grid. You can make a 10 column grid if you want to. It's all up to you and there are no right or wrong answers. When you start up your grid and start placing your type and imagery with it, you should always keep hierarchy in mind. Hierarchy is the organization of your design elements according to importance. Consider hierarchy throughout your process because that will help you make decisions. For example, if you decide that your title of your event is really important and the most important thing that should be in your design, make it really big and centered on the page. If you need to include a certain picture with a certain photo credit, that's maybe less important information, so you might want to shove that in the bottom corner and make it really small. If it helps, once you have all of your text, make a list of how important the text is from most important to least important. Then let that guide your design process and help you decide things like size, relationship of your texts and what elements should we placed on your grid. If you're lost and you don't know where to start in picking out your grids, don't worry, we will go over that in the next lesson where we will do thumbnail sketching exercises. These quick thumbnail sketches, you can quickly try a bunch of different grids on a piece of paper before you even go on to the computer and see what might work for you and what might not work for you. It's all trial and error. Let's spend about 10 minutes laying out the lines that we used and cut out in our letting exercise earlier. Now feel free to change up the spacing completely. See how many different layouts you can make and how they change the rhythm and pace of the text. Let's do a quick recap. Don't forget to set up a grid as a framework to your design projects. Design your composition with hierarchy or order of importance in mind. In the next lesson, we will start thumbnail sketching and practice making these grids and compositions. 8. Thumbnail Sketching: Earlier, we picked our 2-3 tone words or keywords that will describe our entire project and keep us on track. But up until now, we haven't really even worked on our postcard project until now. Now, we are going to start sketching and coming up with ideas on how our composition can come together. We're going to do that by doing some quick thumbnail sketching. I want you to do at least 15 little thumbnail sketches. In thumbnail sketching, you are going to draw a series of little boxes into a grid. You're going to make little notes inside of your little box. Those notes are going to be the sketches of how you want your composition to be laid out. You're going to make these really quick, really simple, abbreviated sketches just to get out as many ideas as you possibly can. Here's a blown-up version of one of these little boxes. Fill it with a bunch of shapes. The shapes are going to be abbreviations for pieces of your content. For example, you can use a big rectangle that's really dominant in this little sketch, and that'll represent a big piece of type. You can make slightly smaller rectangles or shapes to abbreviate your medium size type, and then really little shorelines for your smallest text. If you want to add them photos or illustrations, you can make a little shape with an accent side, and that'll be the abbreviation for your photos. Then if you want to make any other decorative elements maybe a border, you can just add squiggles. When I first learned this thumbnailing technique, I was always told to do at least 30 thumbnail sketches. I remember at first being, there's no way I can ever do 30 sketches. But once you start going on just flows out on the paper, and you can always take breaks. You don't need to sit down and do 15 or 30 or however many you want to do all at once. You can always do five and then take a break, come back to it, get ideas from what you've already done, and maybe switch things around a little and make a few more sketches. I'm going to start with my garden party sketches, keeping in mind different grids, seeing how I can start with my most important piece of information, the title and still other information, like the date and location around the title. I'll try a one column grid, a two column grid and more modular grid, maybe some more diagonal movement where the pieces are coming down in steps. I'll try moving the title around the composition, and again, moving everything else around that title. Push past the basic first ideas that pop into your mind and get to something really interesting and thoughtful. It's always really fun to see how you come up with two, I move the title around in different ways, experimented with doing a little horizontal and vertical and the layout. When you think you can't sketch anymore, draw one or two more to see what you come up with. Now I can look at all of my sketches and pick out my favorite one that I want to pursue. I think I want to pursue the 14th sketch here. I think it has some nice movement, some diagonal movement, and then a little room for some flourishes in the corner there. I'm going to pick up that one sketch. Once you're done with all your sketches, look back, pick out your favorite one, maybe the one that you're most excited about, maybe one that you're not sure about, but you want to see it become real on the computer. Continue making all of your sketches until you're happy. pick out your favorite sketch, and join me on the computer in the next lesson. 9. Print vs Digital Workflows: If you're just making a printed postcard for your project, feel free to skip this lesson because we'll be talking about print workflows versus digital workflows. If you do want to make a digital element and redesign your postcard into a digital Instagram ad, then feel free to stick around. If you work on a job like this for a client, you will probably have to make print components and digital components, and it can be really great to learn the skills needed to transfer one to the other. Something I like to do is start with my printed designs, because they require more attention to detail, and higher resolution assets like imagery and photos illustration. Here are some common specifications and considerations for designing print materials. Print is always more costly, so you would have to ask, does it fit into your budget? You always have to work with higher resolution assets, at least 220 DPI. Work in a program that's more suited for print like InDesign. You'll also have to work and save in CMYK color mode or cyan, magenta yellow and key or black. Save your file as a higher resolution, ideally 300 DPI file, like a PDF. Here's some common sparks and things to think about when designing digital materials. Digital materials are free to post unless you pay more for ads to be boosted or posts to be boosted. You can always work with lower resolution assets that are at least 72 DPI. You can work in a program that's more suited for digital like Illustrator or Photoshop. You can work in RGB color mode or red, green, blue. You can save your files as lower resolution files, at least 72 DPI, JPEGs, PNGs or GIFs are common. Now, I'll talk more about setting up our files on the computer. 10. Set Up Your File: Before we really jump into designing, will need to set up our files on the computer first. As I mentioned before, I'll be using InDesign for this project because it really focuses on typography and printed materials. Illustrator focuses more on things like vector illustrations and Photoshop focuses more on photo editing. If you are working in programs like those, you can still find the same tools, but it might be harder or they might have a lot more limitations than in InDesign. Step 1, create a new file, go up to "File", "New Document". Name your file. I always change the units to inches and put the size 5 inches by 7 inches. You can always press these little buttons to change the orientation from horizontal to vertical. Uncheck "Facing Pages" make sure you set your margin, so they aren't too close to the edge of the page. Use at least three-eighths of an inch or 0.375 inches of space on all sides of your paper to make sure elements don't get cut off the printed page. Set up your bleeds so your printed file will have color or images that run all the way to the edge of the page. Step 2, set up columns and rows. This is when we start to set up our grid. Click ''Set Guides'' to margins so they will always stay in the margins once we set them up, check preview, so you can see what it will look like once you start changing the number of columns and rows, start by setting something up that looks like your thumbnail sketch. For example, my sketch used a three-column grid, I'll start my file with three columns. You can always change it if it's not working out while you're designing too, and it's really good to try out different grids once you have all of your texts placed. Here's a very important quick workflow tip. Always save your design every few minutes. When you have a break, get to a stopping point and just go ahead and quickly hit Command S it'll just become second nature to you and it's always great to save if your computer crashes or if InDesign or whatever program you're using crashes, you don't know if that's going to happen and it could happen at any time. You always want to keep saving as much as possible, so that way you don't have to go back and redo the things that you've already spent so much time working on. Step 3, create your Text Boxes. Copy and paste or type in your event text into your new document. Arrange in your grid according to your thumbnail sketch. Sometimes working with your actual words fit very differently on the page than when you imagined how they would fit in your sketch. Right now just go all the text on your page and place it roughly according to your sketch. Then set each Text Box roughly in the correct size that you want. For example, here I've created three sizes or three levels of text, large, medium, small. It's easier to keep spacing consistent if you keep your texts together in less boxes. Don't separate each and every line into their own textbox. Next, we're going to pick out some colors, look for inspiration on websites like Pinterest or Adobe color and start with two colors. You can always add more later and you don't want to get overwhelmed to thinking about color. After all, your focus should be on typography, but you're going to want to pick your colors with your keywords or tone in mind. One of my keywords was moody. I'm going to pick a darker, moodier background color to go with that tone. You want to create swatches to use throughout your process. You can adjust the swatch and if you ever need to tweak the color, it will change everything that set in that swatch, which makes deciding your colors really easy and ensures that you're using the same colors across your whole design. Then for my text color that's going to be on top of that dark background. I'm going to go with a lighter color that will look good and readable. Pick your two colors and get ready for the next lesson where we will be diving more into designing our postcards. 11. Design Your Postcard: We've set up your file, we've sketched out a bunch of sketches, now it's time to finally get designing. Step 1, you are finally going to pick out your typeface or typefaces. Now you already should have your text, copy it and paste it or typed into your document. But it's just sitting there in the default setting. You didn't pick this type, the font was just generated by your program. Now we're actually going to think about your tone, keywords and pick out your typefaces appropriately. I know I want to use two fonts, one for my title and larger texts that helps my modern tone come through and one for my smaller texts that can be clean and easy to read. When I think modern, I think of something like Bodoni that's dramatic. Let's try Playfair Display or some Google font that's a little more modern and up to date. That looks pretty good to me, very modern and sleek. Now I want something clean and simple, easy to read that pairs well with that Playfair Display font for my smaller text. Let's try a few different things. There's a lot of clean sans serif fonts that I often use. Let's see what looks best with Playfair Display. Open sans, looks pretty good to me and it's also Google font, if you want to download that. It's helpful to use the eyedropper tool to copy characteristics of one textbox to another. Just pick the eyedropper tool, select an area of type and then highlight another area of type that you want to copy the characteristics over to, so now they're the same. Now we want to check out our line breaks now that we have the rough placement size typeface that we want. You don't want any hyphenation on because the line breaks can be distracting when there's only a little bit of text on your page. Make sure you check off the hyphenation and make sure all of your lines are roughly the same length, so none are distracting really short or long compared to the others. Now that I have the text set pretty close to how I wanted it to, I am actually going to adjust my grid because I think I can get my composition a little tighter. It's a little spread out. I think there's too much space between garden and party and they become too disconnected. I'm going to delete my original guidelines and try some new columns and rows until I feel like the spacing makes sense. Again, this is all trial and error. Step 2, you're going to look at your colors again. Now you should already have two colors at least in your document, but now that you have your typeface picked out, you should really see if the colors have enough contrast with your type. For example, I'm using that dark background. If I use like a really thin typeface, my type on top could very easily disappear into that dark background. I would need to make sure that there's enough contrast between those two colors that I already selected. I'm actually pretty happy with my colors and I think they offer a good amount of contrast. Step 3, you are going to add imagery. This could be a photo, this could be an illustration, it can be whatever you want or you could even skip the imagery if you don't feel it's appropriate for your postcard. I found this floral image that will help communicate a garden which is where I want my event to take place. I wouldn't want to select an image of gardening tools or something that would give the wrong impression of the event, which is a formal cocktail party, not a gardening event where we're planting flowers and arranging flowers and things like that. When you create an image frame and drop an image in, you can move the frame around and it won't affect the image within, so it won't distort your image if you pull out the frame. If you want to move the image in that frame, you just double-click inside or find the circle button within the frame that changes your cursor to the hand icon, then you can drag the image around inside the frame. Instead of putting a small image on the left side of my page like I was originally thinking in my sketch, I ended up working better as a background image that spreads across the whole postcard. It really plays into the modern and moody keywords with this multiplier effect on the image. Before the image was too colorful and bright and now it's subtle and really steps back, so the typography can take center stage. After playing around with a couple of different grids and images that I did by copying my original design to make a few different pages in my document, I'm very happy with how this is turning out. Step 4, one of the most important steps is to zoom out and look at everything you've done. Change the view on InDesign so you don't see the guidelines or anything that isn't on your page by clicking "W" on your keyboard. Make sure you can see the whole page by clicking "0" on your keyboard. Play around with your design until you're happy with it. If needed, adjust your grid, move things around, realign your elements to make new groupings and levels of information to see how you can change things to improve your composition. Once you're feeling good about where your designers at, take a break, step away and come back to it, in the next lesson where we will critique ourselves and then save a final version of your postcard file. [MUSIC 12. Critique & Save FINAL: [MUSIC] Now that you have a really good draft from the last lesson, print it out or look at it on the computer and get ready to mark it up and critique yourself. This can be a really hard step in the design process, but it's really necessary for improving your skills and just making yourself a better designer. Here is your self-critique checklist. Number 1, spell check. This allows you to avoid embarrassing and very easy to fix mistakes and avoid some back and forth with your client if you're designing for somebody else. Similarly, you want to do a quick grammar check and make sure you didn't forget to put a period somewhere. Make sure that all the text is really making sense, especially if you wrote it. Do all of your elements align to your grid or each other? Make sure nothing is falling out of place creating an unbalanced environment for your composition. Also make sure none of your elements are too close to the edge of the page. Double-check your margins so nothing gets cut off in the printing process. Make sure that all of your texts is consistent. Make sure every box of text is all set in the same size, if they're supposed to be all set [NOISE] in the same font with the same letting. Do you have any overset text? In InDesign, it should let you know before you save your project if the texts goes beyond the box that you created. Do all of your colors match? Did you use the same swatches? Or maybe you got a little mixed up in your design process, and one color is [NOISE] an old version, and one object is the new version of the color. If you're working with a team or getting feedback from other people, it's really important to keep an open mind. I know in my design work sometimes I can really get excited or fixated on a cool idea I thought I had, but it's really important to listen to other people's advice. Maybe you're too focused on that one idea when really you should be focusing on a bigger picture, and people should tell you that. It's always great to self-critique, but also get feedback from others. Now it's time to wrap things up and save our files. In each program, saving can be a little different, but I'll show you how I'll go through the process on InDesign. Before I even save my project for print, I like to double-check on a few things. I need to make sure that all of my linked photos and assets are set in CMYK color [NOISE] mode. If they aren't, I'll just quickly open them up in a program like Photoshop and switch the color mode and save. InDesign automatically senses that it was edited in a new version. It'll pop up and ask you, "Do you want to use the new version?" You say, "Yes, of course." I also really like to outline my fonts because if somebody else like your printer opens your file and they don't have the typeface that you use, it could get messed up and change to a default font. You obviously don't want that to happen because it will completely destroy your design. It just takes a few minutes. You go up into the menu and click, Create Outlines, and all of your text will now turn into shapes. Make sure you go up to the Save As and quickly change the name to this file by adding a dash OL to the end of the file name, that way you can still go back and edit the text of your original document. Make any changes you need to until you're ready to save your file. Now that we're ready to save, let's go up to File Export, Save as PDF. As you're saving this new file for print, you can add underscore print to the end of your file name so there's no confusion about which files should be sent to print when you're done working on this. We want to make sure the resolution is high at 300 DPI and include those document bleeds that we set up, so your images and color goes all the way to the edge of your card. Open your file once and it's saved on your computer, zoom in to a 100 percent and just scan around to make sure that everything is looking clean. Once that looks good, it is time to send your files for print. Remember, you don't actually have to print this out, but it is a great addition for your portfolio. You finally saved your file, you have your final version of your project. Congratulations. Now you just have to upload it to the project gallery. If you want to stick around and make a digital version of this, continue on to the next lesson. Otherwise, congratulations, you're all done. [MUSIC] 13. Design Your Social Post: [MUSIC] Now that we've finished with our print files, it's time to switch over to the digital files if you want to do that. Again, this is just optional, so feel free to skip this lesson. Basically, we need to take our print files, save them as a new digital version, tweak them a little bit because it'll be a different Instagram square shape, and then we need to save these files to use them online. Step 1, make your digital file. You're basically repeating the process of making your print file now. Create a new file for web, at 1080 by 1080 pixels. Step 2, paste your print design into your digital file. Start by copying and pasting your other design into this new document so you don't have to completely start from scratch. You can just adjust your postcard design. Step 3, make adjustments. Spend some time rearranging the elements in your composition because now you have this new square shape to work within. Try moving things around or making some quick thumbnail sketches if you need to go back to that stop which might be a fast way to get your ideas out, and try a few adjustments to the composition without moving everything around your computer. Something to consider and that's nice about digital is you can always link to more information. I'm actually going to delete the description and extra details that I had in my postcard because I can just post it elsewhere. I am a bit nervous that this background image might appear too dark or disappear on some screens. I think I'm actually going to lighten it by copying the picture, removing the effect, and having the original image sit on top at a really low opacity. It looks a little brighter and lighter. Then I'm going to play around with my grid until I find something I like that goes with the postcard design but works better for this square format. I don't want to change too much, but I want to keep the focus on my clean modern typography. Now I have more room to make that event title bigger without the smaller text. Don't spend too much time on this because you've already done the main design work in creating your beautiful printed postcard. Step 4, review and save. You shouldn't have to run through the whole critique checklist again because you already did a spell-check and all that good stuff in the last lesson. Go up to File Export and JPEG is what we're going to do this time. You can add underscore final to the end of this new file name, so you know that it's your final version and the one that you want to post. We're going to save it at a lower resolution, 72 DPI and RGB color mode is totally fine. Open up the file again and make sure everything is looking good, and nothing is too pixelated or looking funky now that you've saved it. Congratulations. Now you've done both the printed postcard and the digital social media posts. "Upload" your Instagram post to the project gallery along with your printed postcard, and see how other people transitioned their designs from printed postcard to digital social media post. Let's wrap up in the next lesson. [MUSIC] 14. Other Applications: You've learned so much about typography and now it's time to get out there and use your new skills in the real world by updating your portfolio website, switching up your Instagram page, or even just writing emails. For example, if you're requesting something in an email, you can write out all of your thoughts then bold important information like deadlines to make sure nobody misses that information. If you're making a portfolio website, decide on a tone that best represents you and your work. Then pick fonts and align with that tone. Lay out all the information about you and your work with hierarchy in mind to show the most important things on your homepage and at the top of your pages. If you continue practicing these skills every day, they will soon become second nature to you or they are to me anyway. I always critique type I see in the world and think of how we can improve the type and written language that we see every day. Now that you know the basic principles of working with type, you can confidently tackle new techniques like hand lettering that requires knowledge of spacing, letter styles and composition. Keep pushing your type knowledge. You also got a little bit of an intro into design thinking or a non-linear process of problem-solving. We started with a problem. How do you communicate and promote an upcoming event to potential attendees? We brainstorm solutions with thumbnail sketches and prototypes on the computer, then we tested our ideas and improved them by critiquing our iterations. Design thinking has become an extremely popular problem-solving strategy outside of the design world. You can bring this strategy with you in any part of your life by stating the problem, brainstorming some solutions, coming up with some iterations and prototypes, and then critiquing yourself to come up with the best solution possible. In this class, I hope you really gain some valuable knowledge about typography, but I also hope you took with you some great design problem-solving strategies that comes with the field. Next, we'll wrap everything up. 15. Conclusion: [MUSIC] Congratulations, you've come so far and learned so much in this crash course in typography. You've learned what typography is in basic terminology, how to communicate tone using keywords, and selecting appropriate fonts, how to sketch ideas, and then bring them to life using design applications like InDesign. Lastly, you've learned how to self-critique and save your files to be used in the real world. If you only take away one thing from this class, is that you can create really beautiful expressive designs, with the fonts that exist right in front of you. Now you have the skills to make the written language you use and interact with every day more meaningful. Practice makes perfect. Try improving your portfolio website, resume, or even critiquing the words you see on the TV, magazines, or in the news to practice thinking like a designer, in your everyday routine. You can also practice your skills and learn new skills on amazing Skillshare classes that teach you more advanced steps and other skills like lettering. Don't forget to post your thumbnail sketches and final project files to the project gallery, and let me know if you have any questions in the discussion section. I can't wait to see your postcards. Thank you so much for exploring typography with me. Make sure to follow me to catch my next class, and I'll see you next time. [MUSIC]