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9 Ways to Make Your Text Look Interesting - ep. 11

Updated: Jun 17

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Today, we will talk about typography, which is one of the most important design elements.

Typography is everywhere around us, from street signs to cereal boxes, to the graphics we see online. If you're creating graphics for your business and you want to learn more about how to make your text more interesting you're in the right place.

It's easy to create something that lacks personality and is just plain boring. But don't worry, we have some tips that will help you make your text look exciting and eye-catching.

Let's dive in.

1. Use Type hierarchy

Design is all about communication, so you must prioritize legibility over aesthetics.

Type hierarchy is a way to ensure that your text is easily understood. Think of it like a GPS for your text, guiding your reader's eyes to the most critical parts of your message.

Consider it a visual journey that leads your reader from one part of the text to the next.

To make your message stand out, think about which part of your text is most important, which part should be read first, second, and so on. The idea behind type hierarchy is to make the text easier to read for the reader by guiding them on a visual journey.

If you need a real-life example let's think about websites. When you're browsing a new website you scan through all of the headings first before you read any of the other text because it's the largest text on the page.

When you find a section that interests you then you read the subhead and then you go into the supporting text. That's how type hierarchy works it makes it so things are easily scannable and breaks it down in a way that's really digestible and helps you pay attention.

How you are going to apply this to your designs is to think about what you want people to read first. That's going to be the largest thing on the page so you wouldn't want the largest thing to be 'Z Squared Studio presents' If you've ever seen that small line of text on top of the title there's a reason it's small it's because that's not the most important part of the text. The most important part is going to be the title 'Web Design 101' so you want that to be the biggest thing that way when people walk by they are like 'Oh Web Design 101 I'm interested in that so that's going to make them stop and read the rest of the text. So then the second largest text should be the second largest font. Then the smallest font size should be the supporting text with all the details that they need.

I see it all the time or people just have one font size on a page but using type hierarchy and having different font sizes is going to make your text look so much better and easy to read.

2. Use contrasting fonts

Some fonts just look good together. When you use contrasting fonts, such as a serif font with a sans-serif font, it makes your text more visually appealing and sometimes easier to read. A serif font is a font with little feet at the end and a sans-serif font is a font without the feet like Arial for example.

Something else you can do for contrast is using different font styles, such as bold and italic, to make certain parts of the text stand out.

Before - regular text

After - bold and italics

But if you want to use a serif font I love using italic. Simple but effective you would use it the same way. Italicize 1 to 2 words you want to stick out.

3. Use Kerning

Changing the kerning between text can also make the typography look more exciting, even if they are the same font. Kerning is the space between each individual letter. I wouldn't kern a whole paragraph of words because that will be difficult to read. But if you're creating a logo and the text is in two lines, one on top of the other, maybe the word on the bottom, which is normally a tagline needs extra pizzazz but not something crazy. So you would kern the tagline to air it out a little to give it a bit of a classic look.

For example, let's say you love the idea of a simple logo and you're going for a classic vibe.

Your business is named Take a Walk Dog Walkers and you want dog walkers to be underneath Take a Walk.

Kern dog walkers just a little bit so it stretches out wider than it is originally for an easy way to create visual interest. I'm not saying stretch it out so much that there's half an inch in between each letter but just air it out a little bit, maybe 2/16ths of an inch between each letter to keep it interesting.

Photo company before kerning

Photo company after kerning

4. Use Layers

If you've ever seen any of my work on Instagram or my website you'll see that I love to layer. I love designs where there's text in the background then my head is on top of the text so it's kind of covering it a bit but not enough where the words on unlegible but just enough to make it a design statement I really think that's really fun.

I also do some design work for a local seaplanes company called Alaska Seaplanes and their brand is really adventurous and outdoorsy they like to use a lot of high-quality images of their planes with some really beautiful Alaskan scenery and I've done work where the text is in the background but then a little bit of the mountain is covering some of the text so that's really fun. This is a more advanced technique but if you have Canva Pro then you can use the background remover on an image and then use that to place it on top of your text. If you want to try Canva Pro free for 30 days so you can try out the background remover feature I do have a link I'll put it in the show notes.

See where the E is behind the mountain at the top of the image?

5. Don't Just Think Horizontally

Another way to make the text interesting is to place your text in a circle or you could even curve it in a wave or maybe make it go up vertically. If you decide to have your text go vertically maybe you can even have half of it falling off the page so some of it looks like it's being cut off. I wouldn't do this for the really important text of the poster but I would use it for a design statement. If you are creating a poster for a fashion show and you have all of the important text easily read on the poster already but you just want to add a little bit of extra pizzazz you can have the word fashion show going up vertically and falling off the side of the poster.

6. Play with the Alignment

First I want to mention that left-aligning your text makes it easier for people to read. When you can, I recommend left-aligning long bodies of text or big paragraphs because it's easier to read when your eye knows exactly where to start.

Think about menus that you've seen at restaurants, which ones are the easiest to read? Left-aligned? Centered? Left-aligned will always be easier to read because your eye starts from the same place every single time.

Centering your text can be used for emphasis, but using it too much can make your design look cluttered. The jagged edges of the text make it hard for the eye to follow, and it's why books are always left-aligned.

When designing text, the alignment you choose can make a big difference in the overall look and feel. I usually go for left-aligned text, but for more formal invitations like wedding invites or save-the-dates, centered text can give them a touch of elegance.

You could even mix and match alignments so maybe you're creating a poster and the top left-hand side of the poster has left-aligned text and the bottom right-hand side of the poster has right-aligned text that is smaller. If you are going to do right-aligned text I wouldn't do more than like 3 to 5 lines of text because anything more than that can be really overwhelming for the viewer and maybe they won't read it. Remember you want your designs to be easy to read otherwise, people will just glance over it and it will be a waste of your time and effort.

7. Use Appropriate Font Sizes

Font size is an important aspect of typography. You want to make sure that your text is readable from a comfortable distance, whether it's on a poster or on a mobile device. For body text, a font size of 10-12 points is usually appropriate, while headings can be larger. Be sure to test your text at different sizes to see how it looks and feels.

Keep in mind that when designing something on your computer screen, it may look different in size than it actually is. So, if possible, view it in the actual size or better yet, print it out. This is particularly important for flyers or other printed materials where you need to make sure the text is the right size. By doing this, you can check if the text is too small or too big and make any necessary adjustments before it's printed.

The biggest mistake I often see with font sizes is when they are either too big or too small for mobile phones. To avoid this, take a moment to check your website or Instagram graphic on your mobile device. Make sure that the font is easy to read and not too small or too big. Otherwise, it may be difficult for people to read and you could be missing out on potential views.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don't always need to fill up the entire page or graphic with large fonts. Sometimes, leaving empty space can be more effective. Of course, there may be times when you want a certain word or phrase to really stand out, like on a poster. In those cases, it's okay to break the rules and fill up the sheet with information. However, in general, empty space can add elegance and balance to your design. For instance, you could use large text in the top left-hand corner with a left alignment and 50pt font, and smaller right-aligned text in the bottom right-hand corner with a 12pt font. This creates a contrast that can make your design more visually interesting.

Let's think about another example of how you don't need to fill up an entire page, imagine walking by a bunch of posters, and one poster has a simple black "hello" on a white background, while all the other posters are filled with color and elaborate fonts. Your eye would naturally be drawn to the simple, clear design. So, don't be afraid to use empty space in your designs. It can make your message stand out and be more memorable.

8. Consider the Context

When choosing typography for your design, consider the context in which it will be used. For example, if you're creating a logo for a law firm, a script font might not be the best choice, as it can be seen as too informal. On the other hand, a script font might be perfect for a wedding invitation. Think about your audience and the message you want to convey, and choose your typography accordingly.

If you have brand guidelines and have already chosen fonts, it's best to stick with those. However, if you want to switch it up for a special occasion, such as Christmas cards or graphics, it's important to choose a font that's in the same family as your brand's font. For example, if you have an editorial font, consider a thin and elegant Christmas font rather than something overly decorative or bold. This way, the fonts will complement each other, and your design will remain consistent with your brand's overall style.

If you're not creating a design for a business and you're just making a fun poster for an Easter event featuring the Easter Bunny, try choosing a font that has a more childlike feel and is a bit thicker. Avoid using a thin serif font that looks too sophisticated or a super ornate Victorian script font.

You want the font to match the mood of whatever you're creating. If you saw a poster for a haunted house, using a script font wouldn't make it look scary. It wouldn't feel natural and people wouldn't trust it.

Rather than using a font just because you love it, it's important to choose a font that best complements and enhances the overall message and tone of what you're creating.

9. Experiment with Color

Typography doesn't have to be black and white. Adding color to your text can make it more eye-catching and engaging.

When using color in typography, be sure to choose colors that complement each other and are easy to read. So don't put white text over a light tan background there's not enough contrast and people won't be able to read it very well.

You can also experiment with color gradients, patterns, and textures to create unique effects. Just be careful not to overdo it and make your text difficult to read.

Do you remember when WordArt was a thing and you could create all these fancy graphics with your text? Well, I suggest you avoid doing that. Not only does it make the text hard to read, but it also serves no real purpose. Your priority should be making your text easy to understand and not confusing for your audience with a rainbow of colors.

If you want to add a gradient effect to your fonts, it's best to choose a thick font so that the gradient can clearly be seen. However, it's important to make sure that the message is still easily readable even with the gradient effect. If the message is still clear, then you chose the right font!

One way I like to add visual interest to my text is by color blocking. I place a blue box behind my headers that are in white text. This has become a design choice that I incorporate into most of my graphics, and you can see examples of it on my website, If you're working with a thicker font, you could consider adding some depth to the text by incorporating shadows or highlights. Could be something fun you could do for a logo.

So, there you have it! Typography is a crucial element in any design, and with the right techniques, you can create designs that capture your audience's attention and deliver your message effectively.

Let's recap the 9 Ways to Make Your Text Look Interesting.

1. Use Type hierarchy

2. Use contrasting fonts

3. Use Kerning

4. Use Layers

5. Don't Just Think Horizontally

6. Play with the Alignment

7. Use Appropriate Font Sizes

8. Consider the Context

9. Experiment with Color

I hope this helps you create interesting graphics or help you design your website. Now go out there and let your creativity shine!

Happy designing!


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