Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point size, line length, line-spacing (leading), letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space within letters pairs. The term typography is also applied to the style, arrangement, and appearance of the letters, numbers, and symbols created by the process. Type design is a closely related craft, sometimes considered part of typography; most typographers do not design typefaces, and some type designers do not consider themselves typographers. Typography also may be used as a decorative device, unrelated to communication of information.
Typography is the work of typesetters, compositors, typographers, graphic designers, art directors, manga artists, comic book artists, graffiti artists, and now—anyone who arranges words, letters, numbers, and symbols for publication, display, or distribution—from clerical workers and newsletter writers to anyone self-publishing materials. Until the Digital Age, typography was a specialized occupation.
In contemporary use, the practice and study of typography is very broad, covering all aspects of letter design and application, both mechanical (typesetting, type design, and typefaces) and manual (handwriting and calligraphy). Typographical elements may appear in a wide variety of situations, including:
- Display typography
- Business communications and advertising
- Maps and labels
- Vehicle instrument panels
- As a component of industrial design
- As a component in modern poetry
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Typography has long been a vital part of promotional material and advertising. Designers often use typefaces to set a theme and mood in an advertisement; for example using bold, large text to convey a particular message to the reader. Choice of typeface is often used to draw attention to a particular advertisement, combined with efficient use of color, shapes, and images. Today, typography in advertising often reflects a company's brand. Typefaces used in advertisements convey different messages to the reader, classical ones are for a strong personality, while more modern ones may convey clean, neutral look.