Case Study: Could a Letter “Speak” Without Being Part of a Word

Few years ago, between content writers and web designers was a harsh battle about which element is primordial: the written content or the design of the website. Well, the debate was very harsh and some parts are still arguing about which one create the decisive part of the website. Of course, this dilemma has a winner…paradoxically, it is not the design community or the writers’ community- it is the user. Definitely, he benefits from the best services and this fact is the single one that really matters!

Back in our days, this battle seems to lose its importance and everyone realized that is unprofitable to have a good looking website with poor content or vice-versa. The winning combination is to have a great design and a useful content.

In this competitive context, few people noticed that at the junction of design and written content is an entity that, in the majority of cases, is pretty neglected. Do you know who this “entity” is? I hope that you guessed- it’s the letter!

The typography is the element that makes the connection between designers and writers. A type has a special modality of displaying; therefore we may mention the design of a type. Also, a type has a meaning and grouped with others may represent a word- so it has a special role in the crafting of written content.

Many people involved in web design or other adjacent fields don’t consider that a single type has the inner “power” to transmit an individual message, but there are some evidences to sustain this perspective.

 1. The various fonts used in specific contexts

Some fonts (family of letters) have more details while others are lacking any type of ornament. A more complex letter lets the viewer know that everything behind it is a very well structured entity. A simple letter gives the feeling that the one that uses it is a very to the point person that has nothing to hide, everything is clear.

Willing or not, the modality of drawing a letter gives enough tips to make a first impression for everyone. In the online environment it’s capital the first impression- sometimes it is the last one!

These ideas are based on simple deductions, therefore there is no clear guaranty that these are very precise…it’s lacking the scientific demonstration. I consider that the best argument to sustain the letters has an own message to transmit is the scientific prove. There are designers and scientists that care about letters! Well, not quite exact, but anyway pretty close. It’s about a study that wanted to determine which font is more suitable for interfaces in the cases where reading speed is essential.

Anyway, the conclusion is that the scientists are aware that each type of letter has its own particularities and it’s recommended to use these into your advantage. Therefore, from now on any font used by you is the result of a good research in order to select only the best solutions.

2. The amazing design works typography based

Another argument for types is constituted by the amazing typography projects. If you are unfamiliar with these, then the works below should give you an idea about. Playing with letters may be fun and attract people. I think that is obvious, unless the shape of types hasn’t a message to transmit, then the previous projects should be just decent and ignorable works.

Much more, if a project that involves types has just two or three words, then how could it transmit a powerful message? It’s almost impossible without a total harmony between the meaning of words and the shape of the letters forming the respective words.

3. The strong connection between colors, alignment and fonts

Previously, it was mentioned the term “harmony”. There is no secret, but all the great designers stated that the real power of a design consists in the harmony between the elements. A type sends a message; a color also may influence the mind of the viewers while the alignment works at the subliminal level. In the eventuality that all these transmit different messages, how the brain could understand which the intention of the designer is?

This harmony must include also the types…if you are still unconvinced then I recommend studying websites or other design projects. It’s enough to picture how would look these if were used Comic Sans or other “cool” font, am I right?

In the end I really believe that this post will influence you paying closer attention to, quite probable, the smallest element of a website. No matter its dimensions, the designers know that the small details make the big difference and this statement should merely be in your mind. Use the fonts to your advantage and treat them as a potential friend and not as an ignorable item.

Do you agree with my ideas or do you have another perspective over typography? No matter your opinion, I am very interested in what you think so I ask you to use the comment form to share with us your thoughts!

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