Typography Tips for Designers

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If you ever run into a question about typography—especially if you’re working on body copy— Butterick’s Practical Typography  is a great resource. Reading just a few sections will teach you – or refresh you on – typography rules that are often misused. No matter how loose and fun, or clean and corporate a piece is, using good typography will help give it a high-quality and professional feel.

Here are five simple and important tips:

1. Never use straight quotes—only curly.

2. Use only one space between sentences. Not two, like that.

3. Hyphens and dashes: know when to use which.

4. Widows and orphans: don’t leave ‘em hanging.

5. Bad fonts: make sure your favorite fonts aren’t on this list.

Find many more helpful rules here.

Matthew Butterick’s web-based book is made possible by its viewers’ contributions. You can support the book here:

You Are So Not Cool Anymore

Design trends are changing—major companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple have all moved away from the glossy, 3D app/icon look, and have moved towards a much simpler, clean, and modern look. This new style has been referred to as flat design.

It’s important to be aware of what’s happening in the design world, without necessarily running after every trend that comes along. However, there are some trends that are definitely phasing out.

Here is a funny blog called, 5 Former Design Trends That Aren’t Cool Anymore (So Stop Using Them). If you’ve done any design in the past 5 years, these are sure to make you laugh!

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Power of Infographics

The way people take in information is changing more than ever—we live in an age where we want information quickly, and if it has a chance of keeping our attention, it has to be stimulating.

Infographics are a powerful way to take complex data and information and display it to grab your attention and make it memorable. The simplified information is visual, easy to read and easy to understand. It’s quick and engaging.

Infographics are effective on the web or in print, and can be used across all social media platforms.

At Freedom House Productions we use a range of mediums to get our clients’ message across in the most effective ways possible. One powerful tool is infographics.
 
 
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Every Letter Counts

At Freedom House Productions, we love digging into the details. We believe that a project starts with the idea and ends with the craft. Which is why we spend so much time and care with each photograph, each color choice, each line of code, and especially as of late, with each word and letter.

Yes, we’re proud to call ourselves ‘type nerds’ — obsessing over every font choice in a website or brochure design. We use typefaces as one more exciting tool in the design kit to express the unique personality of a brand or company. We found this video about hand-lettering to be fun and inspiring—and also in line with our passion here at the studio for beautiful design and how to make every detail count.
 
 

The Creative Spark: Title Case, Typographic Artisans from lynda.com on Vimeo.

Designed to Do Good

At FHP, we love what we do and we love working with other companies that have the same passion and dedication. The team at Prosperity Candle have given their hearts and talents to make the world a better place for women.

This holiday season we partnered with Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service and Prosperity Candle on a special project.

In 2014, LIRS will be celebrating 75 years in service (we also created a special 75th logo for the occasion) and they wanted a commemorative candle to light the way.

Prosperity Candle was the perfect match. This company employs refugee woman and gives them an opportunity to earn a living wage to help support their families. What a perfect partnership for LIRS.

We created a lid and label design for their travel tin, refugee woman made the candles and then beautifully packaged them in a gift box including their personal story of overcoming.

We loved creating this 75th anniversary candle design, and are now working on three more designs that feature refugee woman that LIRS has helped resettle in the United States.
 

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Kickstarter Success! I Will Dance Meets Its Goal

This past weekend, Freedom House Productions was proud to celebrate a successful Kickstarter Campaign with our very own, Joseph East. Joe has a passion for telling stories that matter and has embarked upon a journey to tell the story of the incredible young people of Random Acts of Theatre.

FHP had the privilege of helping Joe on the marketing side of the campaign and it was a full court press the past 30 days. Check out some of the materials for the campaign:

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Our social media team was hard at work blitzing all the social networks we could – between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and submitting information to every blog we could find the team basically lived online for the duration of the campaign.

We’ll be sure to keep you up to date on the development and distribution of I WILL DANCE: The Documentary which is scheduled to be complete in Spring 2014.

A Graphic Designer’s Best Friend

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As a graphic designer, it’s always handy to have a “toolbox” of resources. Whether it’s a folder with a good variety of textures, color palettes, or reference for design inspiration – it’s nice to have some tools all in one place.

There is a site that is just that—a designer’s toolbox—and better yet, it’s free.

www.designerstoolbox.com

Here are some of the helpful things this site offers:

  • Envelope Sizes
  • DVD and CD Labels
  • Postcard Templates
  • Paper Sizes
  • Business Card Sizes
  • Binding Styles
  • Web Browser Elements
  • Web Banners
  • Conversion Chart
  • Proof Reading Marks
  • Lorem Ipsum Generator
  • HTML Characters
  • iPhone GUI Elements

Since time is an important thing for client projects, a one-stop-shop for these resources is a useful tool to add to the collection.

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5 Graphic Design Tips You Can Learn From Painting: Tip #5: The Key is To Do It – A Lot

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“You want to know the key to art?” an artist says, holding up a glass jar. After a closer look, it is apparent that inside the jar are hundreds of pencil stubs, worn to nothing but tip and eraser. “This is the key.”

Good painters improve their work simply by doing. They make a painting, good or bad, and then they set it aside, and make another. Then they make ten more. By constantly engaging in work (and observing), they are climbing uphill against the difficulties of their craft. Every mistake yields a new answer. Every dead-end opens a new drawer to learning and possibility. This is a great way to approach graphic design as well.

Make projects. Lots of them–and if you donʼt have a steady stream of client work, invent your own projects. Make them fun but also challenging. Pretend there is a client and set restrictions in place. Donʼt worry, all designers will tell you—the restrictions will make you more creative, not less. Then when youʼre done, print it or publish it, and move on. Make ten more. Donʼt compare your work to others and donʼt judge it too harshly. It will only discourage you from continuing on. Which once again, is the key: keep going. And of course, donʼt forget to have fun along the way.
 

5 Graphic Design Tips You Can Learn From Painting: Tip #4 – Observe Everything

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Fine artists are taught to observe everything. Graphic designers should too.

Painters become students of their craft and subjects. They draw from life. They look at it carefully. They study pictures in books. They draw and paint those pictures. Then they draw some more from life. They go to museums and look at other peopleʼs art. They draw and study it. You get the picture:) …

Being a successful and innovative designer means you are committed to being a lifelong student. You must observe everything. Yes, award-winning design is good to look at. But donʼt stop there. Look at great photography. Look at art. Watch movies and listen to music. Take hikes and look at nature. Even within the areas of print and web, for example, look at work that is completely different than what you might be currently working on. All of this observation will inspire your work in truly original ways. It keeps you fresh and excited as a designer, open to new possibilities, and striving toward improvement.

5 Graphic Design Tips You Can Learn from Painting: Tip #3 – Use Good Materials

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Anyone who has ever painted, be it in first grade or professionally, has, at one time or another, used crappy supplies. They are so tempting, so cheap, and schools are full of them. Hereʼs the thing—you can sometimes make some pretty good work out of poor-quality paints and paper. It sure makes it harder though.

When you graduate into using slightly better materials you realize why that piece of Arches paper or professional set of watercolors cost a little more. They produce beautiful results, and you the artist, have a lot less strain to make it so.

Design, once again, is the same. Good typefaces are worth their weight in gold. Use them. Thereʼs a reason typeface designers spend years perfecting each individual weight and kerned letter—so in the heat of battle, you wonʼt have to. Yes, you can make cheesy true type fonts work for you, but try hand-kerning body copy—itʼs not for the faint of heart. The same can be applied to using good photography, solid color palettes, beautiful high-resolution textures, and so on. Hereʼs the good news: using good materials is not always an issue of cost. A lot of times, itʼs simply knowing where to find them, and sharing on the internet has cast aside many limitations.