Mastering Typography 1: Introduction to Typographic Contrast | Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand | Skillshare

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Mastering Typography 1: Introduction to Typographic Contrast

teacher avatar Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand, Graphic Design & Photography

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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

    • 1.

      Series Introduction & Overview


    • 2.

      InDesign Interface & Basic Tools


    • 3.

      Find a Few Words to Introduce Yourself With


    • 4.

      Create Stunning Designs with Typographic Contrast


    • 5.

      Exporting, Sharing & Conclusion


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About This Class

Typography is one of the major components of graphic design, and getting it wrong is very easy. But it is also not that difficult to get it right and make something awesome! In this series I will step by step go through all different aspects of typography and creating effective layouts which make an impact on the viewer. I am in love with good typography, and I want to see more of it around.

My name is Evgeniya Righini-Brand and I am a graphic designer with an extensive experience working with type on a lot of different levels and teaching typography at the university level.

What you’ll learn in this class:

In this class we are going to have a look at the basics of typesetting, principles of typographic contrast and selecting and pairing typefaces to convey the desired message. Style-related skills which you’ll get from this class will allow you to effectively tackle and make stand out any simple text-based work, whether it is a presentation, setting up a title page for your written academic work or making a catchy cover images for you classes or projects here on Skillshare or elsewhere on the social networks.


Technical part of this class covers basics of working in Adobe InDesign, but if you don’t have InDesign installed, don’t let it stop you from enrolling, because you can practice typesetting and style-related skills taught in this class in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop or any standard word processor, such as Pages, Word or even Google Docs.

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Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand

Graphic Design & Photography

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1. Series Introduction & Overview: Hey guys, this is [inaudible] creative. Welcome to my new series on mastering typography, in which I will step-by-step go through all different aspects of typography, creating effective layouts and working efficiently in Adobe InDesign, which is my primary choice when it comes to designing this type. If you want to learn from scratch or improve existing InDesign skills, great and if you don't have InDesign install. Well it's not the end of the world because quite a lot of what I am going to cover in this series is about style. You can experiment with typesetting in Adobe Illustrator Photoshop, or even in any standard food processor, if you know where the tools are and what you want to achieve. In this series of classes is really about building that awareness understanding. All class projects that will be setting for you in this series will be quick and fun and allow you to practice new aspects of typography covered in each class and produce something useful which you can expand upon when you learn more. In the first class, we are going to start on by learning the basics of typesetting, principles of topographic contrast and select an apparent type faces to reflect our personality. We'll be creating a badge and name tag or introduction card for ourselves, which in future you can take further and develop into your business card or head of your website or blog. For now, introduce yourself with style to the community here and on any other social networks if you want to. There're related skills which we get from this class, will allow you to effectively tackle and makes stand out any simple text-based work, whether it is a presentation, setting up the title page for your written academic work or making catchy cover images were classes for projects here on skill share or elsewhere on the social networks. I'm always happy to answer any questions, provide feedback, and support you every step of the way. As I have already said, if you do not have InDesign, you can definitely follow this class and do the class project in any other software instead so don't let software stand between you and learning how to create effective typographic designs. I love meeting new people and I will be very excited to see you in my class and see how you can introduce yourself by means of typography. 2. InDesign Interface & Basic Tools: We're going to start off with the basics of working in InDesign. We will be creating very simple typographic compositions for this class. So I'm only going to cover here what you will need at this stage, and I'll expand on it in my future classes in the series. In Adobe InDesign, go to menu "File", "New", "Document". Now, let's quickly set it all up. We are going to be sharing our work online so it makes sense to set the Intent to Web and if you want to develop it further for print, you can always change it later. For now, let's keep number of pages to one. We are going to be working on different designs of the same text, so we'll just copy pages from within the document as we go along to produce different variants. We're going to be working on individual pages rather than spread, so make sure that Facing Pages is off. Remember about this option in the document set up. In my experience, it is something that people easily forget. If you need a simple one-page or slide at a time presentation or document, then do not use Facing Pages. But if you're working on something book-like which has two or more pages in the spread, then you will need to turn Facing Pages on. Let's set our page size to something like 1200 by 1200 pixels, so it is quite large a square and so we don't get distraction by the page proportions and it would be good quality when we export it to post online. Then we are going to have only one column here, we don't need more for this task. Make sure that you're changing all margins at the same time, click this link button to make all settings the same and set margins to something like 100 pixels. We don't need to do anything with Bleed and Slug settings for this class as we are not printing. So here we are, click ''Okay'' to create a new document. Let's straightaway save this document so we don't need to worry about it later and just click ''Save'' or "Command S" or "Control S" in Windows every now and then whilst working so our file is always backed up. Working with InDesign, it is rather important to be well organized so that you don't lose any materials used in the document. In this class, we are not going to have any linked file, so nothing to worry about really, but it's still a good practice to have a separate folder for the project and a searchable name for the file. Format-wise, we are saving an InDesign native document format, and here, you can see that there are not too many options of formats to choose from any way. InDesign document, which is what is used in most cases, inDesign template format if you need to have a template for multiple documents, and just one legacy format for a few previous versions of InDesign. Click ''Save'' and let's start working. Generally, InDesign interface is very similar to Illustrator and Photoshop, with tools panels here on the left-hand side, quick access, and tool specific panel on the top, and all other panels of your choice on the right-hand side. The difference is in some tools and some panels, and we are going to cover those step-by-step in each class in the series. With our document here, we see the boundaries of the page and the page border around it. If you are familiar with Illustrator or Photoshop, then you can see that it is pretty similar logic. Here, we have a page and in Illustrator, it is an art board and a canvas in Photoshop. All of these specify the format of your work. On the page, we have this magenta frame which defines the margins which we decided to have for the content. Work panels you have shown is determined by the workspace you are using, the same as in all other Adobe programs. There are a number of workspace presets in InDesign and you can choose one which suits your project best. For this class, it is going to be typography. You can set up your own workspace with the tools and the panels which you need, and save it as preset if you want. I am going to use typography workspace in this class and just quickly customize it by adding align panel. Now I'm all set. Also similar to Photoshop and Illustrator, there are a number of view modes: Normal which shows all guides, margins, and colons, TextBoxes, and threads, and all objects anywhere on the face board, this is a standard view which you are going to be using most of the time. Then there is a preview mode which only shows printable objects on the page, so all guides and all objects beyond the boundaries of the page are hidden. This is going to be a second most commonly used view mode and to switch between these two modes, you need to press "W". Just make sure you are not typing it somewhere instead using Type Tool, so watch out for the tool in use. Another useful view mode is presentation which puts your page spread full script. Press "Shift" and "W" to get in and out of it. You can also switch between view modes using these buttons on the tool panel. There are two more view mode for show in Bleed and Slug areas for print, but we'll talk about it some other time. In InDesign, documents content is organized using pages panel. Here you can add, remove, adjust, and reorder all the pages in the document. Always make sure that the page you want to be working on is selected. You will see this kind of color overlay over the page and the number will be highlighted. Why is it important? Well, beyond obvious, there is this tricky thing here above your document pages which is called A-Master. Masters are templates for your pages. You can have a number of them for different types of pages and they basically define the size of the page that the layout guides, such as columns and rows of your grid, and allow you to automatically insert repeating elements such as page numbers, or even set up your TextBlock layout. So if you're working on 100 page book, you don't need to copy and paste text into every page menu. On top of each page in the document, you will see a marker showing which master is applied to this page. Like here, there is a letter A for A-Master. For this class, we are not going to worry about masters at all, but we need to make sure that we are working on actual document pages rather than on a master, so double-click on your page to work with it. There is also a Layers Panel here which in essence is similar to the ones in Illustrator or in Photoshop. But unlike in those two programs, here, you don't need it to be open most of the time. In my practice, I very rarely go to the Layers Panel in InDesign, maybe it is due to the fact that they work on pretty minimalistic layouts with minimum overlapping elements or maybe it is because I do most of the things with the shortcuts, well I'm not sure, but you will need to keep in mind that each page in InDesign has its own layers content, and you can only see the layers for the page which is selected rather than the whole document. Actually, it is a very good thing because there is no clutter and you can only see what you need to see. For this class, you will need to use just two tools from the tool panel. One is the Selection tool which is pretty much the same as in Illustrator and here, it is used to select objects, TextBoxes, and so on. Second tool which you will need for this class is the Type Tool, which is very similar to the one in Illustrator or in Photoshop, but with one major difference. Because InDesign is meant for working with large body of text, you can only use type within TextBoxes, or if you need it for more decorative purposes, you can also set your type on paths. Most of InDesign functionality one way or another, revolves around TextBoxes, which you'll soon find out for yourselves. So here, to start typing, you must first draw a box with the Type Tool and then type within it. In Photoshop and Illustrator, you can just click somewhere with the Type Tool and start typing. Here, it doesn't work that way so it's something to get used to. Let's draw a TextBox for our future text following the margin guides. Now, still having my TextBox selected with the Type Tool, I can start typing inside of it. So we need to decide what we actually want to type here. I am going to quickly go through this in the next video and then we will start designing. 3. Find a Few Words to Introduce Yourself With: To practice skills covered in this class, we will be creating a name tag with a personal introduction. The objective is to introduce yourself in a few words with a typographic style which reflects who you are and what you're all about. First of all, we need to work out what our introductions are going to say. I'm going to type here my name and a few words which describe who I am. Depending on what you identify yourself as you might want to include your profession, nationality, family status, or anything else you feel is important. For example, if you're a cat lover, vegetarian, marathon runner, or anything else along the lines, tell us about it. For myself, I'm going to write that I'm a graphic designer, photographer and explorer. I like to travel a lot, see new things, go to different places, it doesn't matter where, faraway or nearby. There are a lot of other things about me, for example, I'm passionate about cooking, I love sports, I do mountain biking, I've got a black belt in taekwondo since my teenage years, I love camping, and a lot of other things. But being a graphic designer, for me is a lifestyle and being a photographer and an explorer are other two main points about me at this point in life. Then I'm going to type my name here. You can put your first name, your full name, it's up to you. I'm also going to make it a bit more personal by using the short version of my name. I'm originally from Russia and I have a Russian, or rather a Greek name, [inaudible] but for English-speaking people, it seems to be rather difficult to pronounce. They're rationally, and I personally don't like the English version of the name, or the way people pronounce it from the way my name is spelled. I would stick to the short version which is more English-friendly, Jenya, which is similar to Jenny, but slightly different, and I'll also add a greeting here just for the sake of grabbing viewers attention. You can also swap around your name and your description, if you want to. I was working on the class projects, see what works for you best, and if you need to change your text, add or remove something as you work, then go for it. Now, we can start typesetting our texts in a number of different ways to make it stand out and that's what the next video is about. 4. Create Stunning Designs with Typographic Contrast: Well, at the moment it looks pretty plain, so I need to style it. For this task, I don't want you to worry about alignment and composition at all. Select the text, and let's just centrally align it. You can do it here on the top panel, or you can go to the paragraph panel and do it there if you want. Also on the paragraph panel, it's a good idea to turn all the automatic hyphenation for this task. Then let's use the selection tool, selects the text box and the line texts to the vertical center of the box. Now, that's already a bit better. In this class, I want you to learn to create strong typographic compositions and typeface pairs with the bare minimum of destruction. That's why we'll be working only with black text on white background and no other colors. The communication will be solely for the type. Black color is a default color in design, so you don't need to change anything. Having all texts in a uniform style makes it appear calm and stable and it is appropriate when you're working with a large body of texts or prolonged reading like an in a book or in other cases where this mode is actually what you want to convey. But most of the time the case is that the text contains information of different type and different level of importance. That's why you need to establish what is called typographic hierarchy to make sure that the view can easily navigate the quantity in order of importance. The human eye is naturally drawn to contrast. Contrast, or lack of it for that matter, gives design a character and one way or another, there is always certain level of contrast in any work. It can be contrast between letter forms and white-space, letter forms and other letter forms, letter forms and image, and so on. Strong demographic hierarchy makes a design standout. Firstly, because contrasts attract attention and secondly, because this way the viewer can very quickly read and comprehend the most important part of what it's all about. In this class, we're going to have a look at how contrast can be built between two bits of texts, different in purpose. All of us are used to see large and bold headlines, regular body text and small captions or credits. It all makes sense because different types of information are perceived in a different way and have different functions. In this class project, I want you to consider the function of two bits of text, and it is open to your interpretation and there can be variations in the way you want to approach it. Overall, objective is to introduce yourself and reflect your qualities and of course, to grab attention. But how you want to achieve it, I'll leave it for you to decide. We're going to have a look at a few, but not all ways of achieving typographic contrast, which you'll need to experiment with and see how it works and how it changes the perception of your texts. For all these adjustments, we are going to use character panel. To start off, we need to pick one typeface which reflects our character. I'm using Adobe Typekit, and I find that extremely useful and considered to be one of the best thing Creative Cloud subscription offers. If you are as lucky as I am, there are a lot of typeface to choose from. If not, there are several different options where you can get nice typefaces, both paid and free for personal use. Things to the font libraries are included in the class project description and in the notes for this video. I'm going to go for something simple to start with. Depending on what you want to achieve, you'll need to decide what typeface represents you best. Is it serious and classic? Or is it classy and sophisticated? Is it contemporary, friendly, and relaxed? Or is it so friendly but simple and to the point without any frills? Is it something more crafty or calligraphic? Or maybe it is a bit more hipster? What are you? You have to look in the mirror metaphorically or literally if it helps and decide. If you get in typefaces from type kit, preview your texts which you need to set there and pick the typefaces this way. Alternatively, go through the typeface list on the character panel in InDesign. You can choose a typeface by looking for the list or select the field and holding down shift and use an arrow keys, go through the whole list in order. This process is pretty much the same, whether you're using any other Adobe program, Microsoft Word, Apple pages, or whatever else you might be working in. Next thing which we need to set is the type size. You can do it here on the character panel. Well, first of all, make type big enough to be readable in your skill share project. For the page size we're using, do not go below, I would say about 20 points to be safe. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to read. That will do. Now let's go to the pages panel and copy this page four times. We have the same starting point for each of the contrast principles, applications tryouts. Let's go back to the Page 1. Now, we have both bits of text the same size and because of that, they have perceived the same way, but we want to add a bit of contrast and make, let's say name stand out a bit more. At this point, you might want to change the lighting setting here to control the distance between your lines of text, but I'll talk about it in more detail a bit later in this video. Having different type size is the first way of achieving typographic contrast. Play around with it until you get the result which you are happy with. If you want to have all your variants for comparison, duplicate this page in trying variants on its copies. Font-weight is the next thing which can help us to create typography contrast. Different typefaces can have different number of ways available, but most professional typefaces, will have more than enough going from thin, light and regular to medium bold and black and some have even more than that, there are plenty of options to choose from. Lets go to the second original page in the document where everything is still the same size and apply different ways to two different bits of text to see how it affects perception of the text. Bolded text shouts out louder and light texts on the other hand, is more quiet and subdued. Try out a few different combinations to see what is best for you. Again, copy the page when necessary if you want to keep all your experiments. Go back to the original page number three, and now let's have a look at how forum of the letters can create typographic contrast. Forum refers to whether the font is Roman or Italic, lowercase, uppercase, or small caps. To change style from Roman to Italic, use this drop-down menu under the typeface. To use all caps or small caps, you have to go to the drop-down menu in the top right hand corner of the character panel and pick the desired option there. Experiment with the forum, but keep in mind not to overdose Italic. Uppercase and small caps are good for short titles and Italic is normally used to highlight something, but can be used to add a different, more soft, elegant and potentially feminine feeling, especially with Serif and slab serif type faces. Often it was formed contrast parent Roman with Italic or Roman with all caps is more than enough. Again, go back to the original page Number 4 and let's have a look at how texture of the textbook overall or lines of text individually can be changed. Texture can be normal, loose, or tight. To adjust it, we need to deal with a few settings. Firstly, it is led in or line space and line height, which refers to the distance between the base lines of text, and you can change it here. Normally, led in value is about 125-175 percent of the type size, but it depends on the form of the type and generally the design you intend. You can play with it and see what suits you best. Also, you can change the spacing between succession of characters, which is called tracking, and these will also affect the appearance of the texts overall. The white space with looser tracking, all echo it with a title on creates contrast within the line of text and makes it appear lighter or heavier respectively, which also helps it to stand out from the texts with normal tracking. I personally like creating contrast by using uppercase subtitle as secondary description. There is loose tracking of about 150-100 and pairing it together with bold, larger type. With both Latin and tracking, I'll try to avoid crashing lines or letters together as it affects legibility and readability. Also avoid having very loose tracking because it also makes it difficult to read when the letters are too far apart and spaces between letters become similar to the ones between the words. At this point, I also want to say a few words about kerning, a setting which refers to the horizontal space only between individual pairs of letters, which can be problematic and appear larger or smaller in comparison to the rest. In InDesign, you can set a global kerning setting to the text and choose between metrics, optical or any numeric. These take into account kerning settings of the typeface. Normally, you would pick either metrics or optical and then adjust problematic pairs if there are any by clicking between two letters, which need to be kerning and adjusting numeric setting here. Try all different Latin and tracking settings to see how it affects your composition and adjust kerning where necessary. Here, the fun start. Contrast of structure, which refers to contrast between different typefaces. I know that's what you've been waiting for. Let's have a look at creating contrast through combining typefaces. Paring typefaces allows you to play them off each other, and by doing that, add more characters to your design. There are different rules about paring typefaces. In this class, I want to concentrate on contrast as principle. But if you want to learn more about other approaches, you can follow the links in the notes for this video and in the class project description. When paring typefaces, you need to think about how they work with each other visually and conceptually, because some typefaces just don't belong together due to the way they were created, they're strong stylistic connotations, or simply visually. Normally, you would pair something reasonably neutral with something else with a bit more character, such as sans serif with serif, sans serif with slab serif, sans serif with decorative typeface or anything else along the lines. The key is to keep it simple and find the right balance. Starting off with the one typeface which you have already picked, find another one which will convey your character and work well with your first choice. Then experiment with more combinations of other typefaces to see how they express your identity. To help you with the selection process, I've put a few links to some great typeface pairing showcases in the notes and in the class project description. If you need to typography, good way to start is to find what definitely works, and build your own work upon it. Then confidence and feel for the typefaces will come. These are the few simple principles of creating typographic contrast, and since now you know them separately, it is time to combine them together and see what else you can achieve by having for example, two different typefaces and setting them in different weight, size, and case, and with the different tracking value. This is the most exciting part because now you have so many things to play around with. But it's also important to remember that you don't need all these things and that you can achieve a strong result just by altering one of the aspects. That's it for the task. Now, save the file one last time and watch the next video where I will quickly go through export settings for this task and sharing your work online. 5. Exporting, Sharing & Conclusion: To have all your pages as image files to upload online, we will need to export them as JPEGs or PNGs if you wish. Select whether you want to export a specific range of pages or all of them. Select export pages as we don't have any spreads anyway. Set quality to maximum and 300 PPI, so it all look fine on all retina displays, even regardless of the fact that our pages are already much bigger than the size of the intended output. Keep these two settings here like that, and click export. In other note, which has got nothing to do with this class, but still, when you're exporting work for print, export as PDF or in some cases as EPS and never ever export just the files such as JPEGs, PNGs, or as it is for print purposes, because this way you will loose the perfect quality of your type. Also, there is a very useful function allowing you to package the project and all its contents. What it does is that it collects all of the materials used in the document and puts it together in one folder. It is very useful if you need to move to another computer or give the project to someone else. Or if you're very disorganized and placed images from all over the place rather than from the same folder with your InDesign file. But this is just to let you know that this option exists, and we'll cover it in more detail in some future lessons where it would be needed. Now, go ahead and share your results in the project section for the class and on social media if you want to. Tag attitudes, skills, and mastering typography on Instagram, so I can keep track of you there as well and see the reaction of your followers. Here we are, I hope you have enjoyed this class and learn something new. I'm looking forward to seeing your projects and seeing how you can introduce yourself as typography. If you have any sort of questions, give me a shout, and I'll happily comment and provide feedback. Thank you for enrolling in this class, and I hope to see you soon in my next class.