Simple Rules for Better Typography

Some simple rules to follow for improved typography (web or print), from Fred Design:

  • Don’t use too many typefaces (not more than 3).
  • Pay close attention to the hierarchy.
  • No more than 4 font sizes, preferably 3.
  • 8-10pt for body copy (definitely not above 12pt).
  • Use simple, legible typefaces.
  • Keep leading in mind (a little above the font size, slightly below the auto setting, no overlapping).
  • Keep kerning in mind (no overlapping).
  • Emphasise subtly (bold, italic, underlined or a darker shade).
  • No caps in body text.
  • Always align to a baseline.
  • Flush left, ragged right (keep text left aligned, not justified).
  • Between 6 and 12 words per line (as a general, flexible rule).
  • Hanging punctuation marks and bullets, not indented.
  • Experimental: use Fibonacci numbers for point sizes.

Similar and worthwhile: Mark Boulton’s Five simple steps to better typography.

Don’t forget these ebooks, either!



One response to “Simple Rules for Better Typography”

  1. The irony is that the article doesn’t follow those guidelines, most obviously for leading (the leading advice would make things too dense for me).