June 2014

Typography and Design

One of the most overlooked aspects of website design – and of graphic design in general – is typography.  Typography is simply the art of arranging type in a way that achieves a desired visual effect and that conveys the meaning of the reading material.

For a good primer on typography, check out this blog entry on Typography 101.

But is typography really that important?  I’d argue strongly that it is the biggest component in a website design, for nearly all types of websites.  The obvious exceptions are sites for photographers, models, illustrators, etc.  In those visually-oriented sites, images don’t just make sense, they are essential.  The key to using images on a website is not to scatter pretty pictures around just because you think it needs them or because it’s the trend, but to make sure the images make sense for the purpose of the website.

Understanding the basic components of good typography makes it possible to use text as a design element, one that can be every bit as effective as an image.  It can be huge, simple, colorful, or crazy.  But make sure that whatever you’re using doesn’t obscure the content. After all, if I can’t read it or make sense out of it, it’s not very effective.

Three sites that make effective use of typography:


When you’re a copywriting firm, using only text makes perfect sense. Especially when it’s as eye-catching as this.


Just two simple images, and even one of them features typography, show case the words beautifully.


Words take front and center on this site. Even mixing several different fonts (in general, a no-no), adds to the whole effect, and focuses your attention on the individual pieces.

Typography can make or break your website.  It can take your site from good to great… or to confusing.  Choose carefully!


Writing marketing content


Every once in a while, you get asked a question that is so awesomely silly that you have to take a breath, stifle a chuckle and try not to snort coffee through your nose,  before you can answer.

“Can you make the black darker?”

“Can you turn up the fun factor by like 50%?”

“Do you have images of people having non-specific types of fun?”

“I want it to look like this website.  Don’t copy it, but keep it the same. Can you do that?”

“The target market is men and women so make it appeal specifically to them.”

“I don’t have time to write about what my company does.  Can’t you just use some standard language?”

Those first questions tickle my funny bone.  With a bit of questioning, you can find out what the client means and wants, and then you can design a site for them.  That last one, though, really gets to me.  It is essentially saying: Read more

Why Pinterest? Hint – not just because it’s fun.

pinterest-logoIn just over 3 years, Pinterest has over 70 million users, drawing in 30 million unique visitors on a monthly basis. Pinterest is the sixteenth most popular site in America and the thirty-fifth most popular website in the entire world.

It’s easy to see why – human beings are visual and Pinterest helps people discover things in a simple, visual way. But it can be used for so much more than just posting recipes or DIY projects.  Businesses can use it to tell their story, show their products, and develop relationships with potential customers.  In fact, there are already over 500,000 business accounts.  The good folks at Pinterest have even put out a handy beginner’s guide to Pinterest for business (PDF format).

Some simple tips when using Pinterest for your business. Read more