comparing your type treatment to a face-to-face conversation

as you’ve probably noticed, we have something against unnecessary capital letters.

the reason being that, as a blog-centric organization, we look at our type strategy as a key element of how we relate to you.

a while back, a designer colleague of mine told me that type treatment could be compared to a face-to-face conversation.

  • the font you use ties to your personality (e.g. whimsical, serious, traditional, rounded, sharp…
  • the font size is related to the volume of your voice. the larger the type, the louder you sound.
  • using bolder or lighter type is similar to increasing or decreasing the physical proximity between you and the person you talk to.
  • the color contrast between your copy and the background is similar to how the way you dress could stand out or feel more harmonious in a specific context.

so, at the make sense academy, we tend to mostly use lowercase type. we also use a dark gray type to make it softer on the eye, while still meeting accessibility standards – laying down our content gently on our usually-simple-white background. and using bold mostly to highlight key elements or bring structure.

but imagine if a company was using a lot of ALL CAPS in bold large font size with color-heavy contrasts. how would it make you feel? like they’re shouting at your face? well, for some brands, that works. for others, it doesn’t. as always, it depends on who you are, how you want to be perceived, and the type of relationship you want to establish with your customers.

and this does not mean that you cannot adapt your type treatment to your content or the context you are in. but you should do so making sure that it’s worth stepping away from your usual look and feel. it needs to really fit, while not making you look or sound off – as if you were trying too hard. remember who you are and what you stand for.

so show me… how loud will you be?

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