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Adobe Certified Associate in Graphic Design & Illustration Using Adobe Illustrator CS6 / CC
Topics : Identifying Design Elements Used When Preparing Graphics : Demonstrate knowledge of typography.

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One of the major traps, when talking about type, is mixing up fonts with typefaces or treating them as synonymous. Many a typographic expert has haughtily corrected a beginner for mistakenly using the word font when he or she should have said typeface. To those of us who think about fonts only when choosing one in Microsoft Word, the distinction between the terms can seem confusing, esoteric, and even arcane. Every typeface has a personality and you need to carefully match the type in your design work so it has a compatible relationship with the overall feeling of the piece. The typefaces you use also need to work together. It takes time and experience to master this balance, but over time you can become a skillful typeface matchmaker. Most artists have a few fonts they tend to lean on heavily, and that’s okay—especially at the beginning.


Typography is the art of using letterforms and type arrangement to help the language communicate a message. Technically, a typeface  is the letterform set that makes up the type. Helvetica, Arial, Garamond, and Chiller are examples of typefaces.


There are many different ways to classify typefaces, but we’ll rely on the Adobe Typekit classifications Adobe has been a leader in type design and technology for over 30 years. New programs like Adobe Type Concepts focus on agile font development and community feedback, while the Adobe Originals typeface collection is known for its quality, elegance, and broad language support. Find fonts for desktop or web use on Adobe Typekit.

Font families from Adobe

people divide fonts into two main categories of type that should be used for large areas of type: serif and sans-serif:-

  • Serif fonts are often associated with typewritten documents and most printed books. Generally, serif fonts are considered to be easier to read in larger paragraphs of text. Because so many books use serif fonts and early typewriters produced them, serif text often feels a bit more traditional, intelligent, and classy.

  • Sans serif fonts do not include serifs. "Sans" is a French word that migrated to English and simply means "without." Sans serif fonts are often used for headlines and titles for their strong, stable, modern feel. Sans serif fonts are also preferred for large areas of text for reading on websites and screen reading.

Beyond these basic types of text we use in our documents, designers use other typefaces that are not appropriate for large areas of type because they’re not easy to read in a long paragraph. Most designers consider the following fonts to be "decorative" for that reason.

  • Slab serif fonts (also called Egyptian, block serif, or square serif) are a more squared-off version of a typical serif font. These fonts bridge the gap between serif and sans serif fonts and generally feel a bit more machine-built. The simple design tends to make them feel a bit rougher than their serif counterparts.

  • Script fonts (also called formal or calligraphical) have an elegant feeling. These fonts are great to use for invitations to formal events, such as weddings, and in designs where you want to convey a feeling of beauty, grace, and/or feminine dignity. If you are designing for a spa, for a beauty shop, or for products or services, script fonts will carry a feeling of relaxed and elegant beauty.

  • Blackletter fonts (also called old English, Gothic, or textura) feature an overly ornate style and are often used to title formal documents such as certificates, diplomas, or degrees, as well as old German Bibles and heavy metal bands. It conveys a feeling of rich and sophisticated gravitas, often hinting at a long history of tradition and reliability.

  • Monospaced fonts (also called fixed-width or nonproportional) use the same amount of horizontal space for each letter. Typically, fonts use a variable spacing technique called kerning. (You’ll learn more about kerning later in this chapter.) Monospaced fonts, in contrast, use the same width for every character. Monospaced fonts are good to use when you’re trying to make something look impersonal, machinegenerated, or retro-geeky because typewriters and early computers used monospaced fonts.

  • Handwritten fonts (also called hand fonts) simulate handwriting. They are popular for adding a personalized, casual, or human touch to your designs and are often used on junk mail to try to trick you into opening that "Special limited time offer just for you!" (don’t fall for it). Handwritten fonts are prefect for communicating casual and friendly feelings, but they can be tough to read in a larger block of text.

  •  Decorative fonts (also called ornamental, novelty, or display) don’t fall into any of the other categories. They also tend to convey specific feelings. Decorative fonts should be used sparingly and very intentionally. Never use a novelty font just because you think it looks cool; that’s a typical newbie move. Make sure you are striving to convey something very specific when using decorative fonts.

  • Dingbat fonts (also called wingdings) are a special type of font that doesn’t have an alphabet but instead consists of a collection of shapes or objects.


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