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How to Cure Typochondria

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This article is excerpted from the December 2008/January 2009 issue of InDesign Magazine (#27). Buy the issue or subscribe to the magazine at www.indesignmag.com.

Choosing typefaces for a project can expose deep-rooted vulnerabilities within even the most stout-hearted designers. Font doubt may give rise to self-esteem issues and the malady that design educator and author Ellen Lupton calls “typochrondria.”

If you’ve ever suffered from this affliction, you’re not alone. As a designer, you know the basics: Don’t mix typefaces that are too similar to each other but don’t combine those that are too discordant, don’t confuse styles and eras, and don’t buy poor-quality fonts. But beyond that, what’s the right way to choose type?

To hear what the experts have to say and to see samples of good type choices, click on this link to box.net or on the image below to download the PDF.

Although this article was written for InDesign Magazine, its advice is applicable no matter what software you use.

To open the PDF, you’ll need Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader. We highly recommend Adobe Reader 7.0 or above to view this PDF. Download the latest Acrobat Reader here.

To learn how to configure your browser for viewing PDF files, see the Adobe Reader tech support page.

 

Pamela Pfiffner

Pamela Pfiffner

Previously editor in chief of CreativePro.com, Pamela Pfiffner developed content and information tools for the site. A Mac user since 1984 and desktop publisher since 1985, Pfiffner has been editor in chief of several publications, including MacUser and Publish magazines. She has a BA from Northwestern University and a Masters of Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also taught classes in print publishing and Web design. Currently, Pamela is a writer, editor, and jack-of all-publishing trades in Portland, Oregon.
Pamela Pfiffner

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Posted on: May 11, 2009

Pamela Pfiffner

Previously editor in chief of CreativePro.com, Pamela Pfiffner developed content and information tools for the site. A Mac user since 1984 and desktop publisher since 1985, Pfiffner has been editor in chief of several publications, including MacUser and Publish magazines. She has a BA from Northwestern University and a Masters of Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also taught classes in print publishing and Web design. Currently, Pamela is a writer, editor, and jack-of all-publishing trades in Portland, Oregon.

3 Comments on How to Cure Typochondria

  1. The choice of Helvetica Ultra Light for the ‘BEAN MAN’ spread is one I wouldn’t have made. While the face is attractive – sophisticated – as a graphic designer who also was a print production manager, I see impending disaster during a press run. Using such a light type allows no room for run-of-press mis-registration problems.

  2. Yup. I’ve been there. Stared at a poster for so long that I didn’t notice it said Septmember and not September. So, to the designer which designed the Flash banner for the article on the homepage, the headline says “How to Cure Typhocondria”, not “How to Cure Typocondria”. Heads up.

  3. That would be funny if it weren’t so sad. Thanks for the correction!

    Terri Stone
    Editor in Chief, CreativePro.com

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