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Design for Software: A Playbook for Developers by Erik Klimczak

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Chapter 8: Digital Typography

“Just give me some good font sizes to use . . .”

OF THE FIVE or six major areas of visual design, typography is one that will benefit your applications the most. It can massively improve the usability and overall aesthetic quality of your application.

When I look at most line-of-business applications, kiosks, and websites, I’m usually struck by the fact that many pay little or no attention to things like consistent spacing, margins, text-casing, and type size. These are just a few things that can improve the appearance of your application with relative ease.

For most people creating digital designs, picking and pairing fonts, calculating line height, and determining font size is a mystifying process. And as with most design disciplines, typography is a mixture of precision, calculation, and intuition that takes some experience to develop a taste for. But in the grand scheme of things, I believe that anybody can make good typography choices by following a set of straightforward guidelines.

Over the years, I’ve designed and built a lot of digital interfaces that required picking and experimenting with different fonts. And along the way, I’ve discovered a bunch of typographic tidbits and for making good typography decisions. In this chapter, I’d like to share some of my findings on digital type, and in doing so, I’ll drill into these common typography questions:

What is the difference between a serif and a sans-serif typeface?

What is the difference ...

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