How to Speak Typography

By: Chloe Ayres, Senior Designer

I have, at this point in my life, spoken “designer” for over ten years, so I often forget that it is absolutely a foreign language to some people. Terms like hex code, dot pattern, and bleed (not in the way you would think) are not in everyone’s vocabulary. This is not a bad thing – it is a language I always wanted to learn, just like football players want to know about scoring touchdown goals or accountants want to learn about calculable tax performance (both of those are things, right?).


The one and only time that I see this as an obstacle is when I am working with a team of people who are not all designers, or a client. My ultimate goal when I create anything is to have, at the end, a design that solves the client’s problem and is a successful use of my skills and opinion to achieve the client’s vision. In order to achieve that, I need to have a lot of input, which can come in several different forms.

I have had enough critique in my time in design that “I just absolutely hate it” does not hurt my feelings or frustrate me any longer. What gets in the way of making something better is not knowing what is not working in the first place. If a client or team member says to me, “I absolutely hate it – that blue is terrible”, then I have a place to start.


What is even more helpful is when someone is willing to get into the details with me. “I wish that blue was more green”, “I feel like everything is a little cramped”, or the always-expected “make my logo bigger” are all wonderful and specific directions which not only give me a clue as how to make the client more happy, but how to make the design more successful.

What I would never expect, but what would just make my heart sing, is if a client or team member knew some of the language that I wanted to speak. That is why Type Terms was created by Supremo junior designer Dan Heywood (and as a reference for himself, which might be one of the reasons why I like it so much as well). Says Dan: "I wanted to combine typography with web design and create an animated experience that would give me the chance to experiment with SVGs and CSS animations. Once I had the idea nailed down, I realized that Type Terms could help teach new design students typographic terminology. The aim was to create something that would describe each term visually so that even the newest of designers could understand them instantly."


Check out this link as well as the link to the post on CreativeBloQ where I got the idea for this piece. Typography is one of my favorite things – I hope you enjoy as well!

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