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Four Fast Ways to Learn Typefaces

This is Part 3 of a 3-part series on building your typography skills:

In this article we're going to cover 4 ways to help you learn typography faster.

Remember: typography is a tool for you to use to improve your designs. 

Let's jump into 4 ways you can begin to master the basics of typography.

When you’re first discovering the world of type, the amount of typefaces to learn and recognize can be overwhelming!  Here are four techniques for you to use to start to recognize, correctly identify, and even pair different typefaces:

1. Learn More Typeface Classifications

(Image Credit: Font.com)

Classifications are the foundation that will help you begin to identify individual typefaces. If you start here, you’ll have a much easier time spotting and pairing typefaces.  So what exactly are typeface classifications?  They’re categories that help define different styles of type.  You’ve heard of serif and sans-serif, but these are just two type classes. Start learning more here.

2. Play a Game

(Image Credit: Visual News)
  • The free Font Fox game for iOS lets you test your knowledge of over 100 fonts – and you can play with friends.  Challenge your Designlab classmates! 

  • Want to learn typefaces while getting a better understanding of how to pair fonts?  The Type Connection game helps you learn the rules of font pairing.  You’ll ultimately take different fonts on a “date” to see if they match.  With each pairing you choose, there’s an explanation to help you understand why the pairing works or fails.

3. Go on a Typeface Scavenger Hunt

Use your commute and day-to-day routine to start learning about type through brands, movies, TV and music: 

  • FontsinUse.com calls itself an “independent archive of typography,” which is true, but it’s really one of the best sites to help you realize what typefaces are being used where.  You can search the site by typeface, industry or format.  You’ll start to see album covers, favorite logos and magazines and uncover what fonts their using.  Warning – this site might be even more additive than a game!

  • Font Quiz is an app that uses typefaces from popular brands and pop culture to help you recognize typefaces.  You can test your knowledge by category - whether it’s movies, video games or brands.

4. Draw It Out

(Photo Credit: Hand Drawn Typography)

Sometimes getting offline is the best way to learn about design. When you’re learning new fonts, try drawing them instead of just staring at a screen. By observing and replicating different letterforms, you’ll start to appreciate why typography is so complicated. Use your new typography vocabulary to help you focus on what to draw and how to compare.

5.  Bonus: Learn And Implement Typography With A “Master”

Sensei, please teach me the Letraset technique.

One of the fastest ways to learn a new skill is to learn from a master in the field you’re interested in. Masters/Mentors can give you immediate feedback which allows you to fix your mistakes and internalize typography principles to help you in the future.

Check out the Designlab Typography Course created by Carolina De Bartolo, a master in typography and author of “Explorations in Typography / Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting.” After you enroll, you’ll get paired with a master in typography and complete 7 projects to build your typography skills and enhance your design portfolio. 

Take what you learn and start implementing it.

In the comments below tell us what action you’re going to take next to master typography.

Improve Your Designs Invisibly Though Typography

Learn step-by-step how and when to use typography to enhance your design along side a mentor. You'll build 7 projects you can proudly display in your portfolio.

Click here to learn more about our NEW Typography course

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Designlab teaches you UI/UX design skills through online courses with 1-on-1 mentorship from expert designers.

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