Why typographic hierarchy is an important part of your brand

How to set up a good typographic hierarchy for your brand identity and improve the readability of your site.Setting up a good typographic hierarchy is important for ensuring your business’s visuals are clean, consistent and easy to read. Communicating through typed up layouts and documents, whether on paper or online is pretty unavoidable in business. So, how do you make sure your clients or prospects are really getting the message and reading through text? Good copy is certainly part of it. But the design of the text is also a factor to consider.

Also check out: 5 typography tips to refer to when designing for your business

What is typographic hierarchy?

Hierarchy is a basic principle of design. When designing something — a magazine spread, a billboard, a website page — not all the elements on the layout can stand out at the same level. That would be the same as nothing standing out. Instead, what you’re aiming for is to lead the viewer’s eye from the most important design elements, and then down through a logical series of steps so that they can digest the information correctly.

In typographic hierarchy, this principle is applied to type. Generally, you want to make sure your headings grab the reader’s attention first. Then there may be a subheading. After that, the body copy. Sometimes you might use pull-quotes or other typographic elements that help to divert a reader’s attention towards a certain point.

Typographic hierarchy is used to guide the reader’s eye through the text in the most natural order. It helps to make long blocks of text more readable and can even allow the reader to skip through information and still gain the main points you want to get across.

What are the elements of a typographic hierarchy?

Most typographic hierarchies have at least three levels:

  • headings
  • subheadings
  • body copy

Depending on your brand identity and the needs of your touchpoints, you might use more elements. These could include:

  • pull-quotes
  • display text
  • hyperlinks and buttons (in web design)
  • captions

How do you set up a good typographic hierarchy?

The key is contrast. There needs to be a clear difference between the style of your headings and the style of your body copy. This can be done through a number of design options, such as:

  • colour
  • size
  • combinations of typefaces
  • text styling (e.g. all-caps, bold, italics, etc.)

The contrast between different levels of your typographic hierarchy should be very clear. So, for example, your headings (which make up a much smaller percentage of your text) can afford to be much larger than your copy, and this helps to make sure they command more attention.

Good typographic hierarchy means good readability

By having a good sense of order to your type and breaking up your text into sections well, you’ll improve the readability of your work. Good readability means text that is comfortable to read, where it’s easy for readers to gain relevant information.

Think of when you’re reading a blog post. Chances are you’ll often skim over the text first, to check whether or not the post you’ve clicked on covers the kind of content you’re looking for or are interested in. If the page is just one huge block of text with paragraph after paragraph of the same font, your eye will tire easily and you may struggle to keep reading. And that’s if you even tried to in the first place!

On the other hand, if the text has a good hierarchy with the body text broken up into subheadings and it’s clear what is part of the post and what is just a part of the rest of the website, you’re far more likely to be able to enjoy the post.

Why typographic hierarchy is so important and how you can set up a good system for type in your business.Last thoughts

Although good content is critical for marketing or conveying information, there’s no denying the importance of good design when it comes to delivering that content. Every time you type up a new post or design a sales page or create a flyer or anything else, be sure to take a look over your work and analyse the typographic hierarchy. Make sure your eye is travelling through the content in a logical manner and will be read comfortably by your audience.

Check what else should be covered in your brand identity: What all style guides should include in detail

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