[Motion Graphics TIP 06] Typography

Are you a motion graphics designer?

Have you felt like something's missing in your work?

Here are some TIPS!!

The most basic, but important! This will help you to increase your completeness.


Typography is a 'type' related design. It's a design to deliver the intention, impression and imagination to the viewers by using Typeface design and Kerning, Tracking, Leading etc.



5 things About typography


1.     Choose the right font

There are many fonts, so find a font that fits you.

Before starting a project, try looking for the most basic shapes O, H and A. If the shape(circle, rectangle, triangle) is close to O, H, A... then that's perfect.(e.g. rectangle and H, triangle and A)

“Search for the basics. More closer to basics means more useful.”

First, search for the most basics. In other words, find the basic shape for each character. When you find this font, you can use it in numerous ways.

“Make sure that all the symbols you need are included!”

Check if everything that you need is included. Capital, Minuscule, Numbers, Symbols. If a font doesn't include all these, keep searching.

If you want to use fonts more flexibly, we recommend to use Font family(a group of similar fonts). And would of course be better if all Bold, Medium, Condense fonts are available in an italicised font.


2.   Basic distribution and align

Aligning letters depends on how you organize.

Left, right, center... these three are the align system that we can use.

Composition center is not the visual center. On the left screen, the line is the composition center. Do you see that the letters are slightly higher than the center? Make it higher than the horizontal line, or push it aside to fit into the visual center. If it's exactly on the line, you'll feel that the text is a bit off. Leave a blank space on the bottom by slightly placing the text higher than the actual center.

On the right screen, the line is the composition center. The text is italicised. In this case, push the text slightly to the left and make space on the right.


3.     Space between letters

Let me show you some tricks that I actually use.

Most letters have the same amount of space between letters. However, this doesn't mean that the actual space area is the same. The second graphic shows how the actual space depends on each character's shape. Just like the third graphic, try making all spaces the same.

"a", "o", "3", "9" These characters are longer and bigger than other ones. Although the actual size is bigger, in our eyes it looks the same.

This will not be a problem in 2D, but when it's in 3D that's when the problem appears.

When you look in other graphics, the "O" makes a dimensional problem because it's bigger. The bottom of "O" touches the ground, which forms a lighter shadow underneath. If you want the bottom to touch the ground, before going into 3D, try rearranging the type.


4.     Do not use

Here are some examples of mistakes.

Don't use the fonts Serif and Sanserif in one template. The two images are exactly the same.

The left image used fonts Sanserif(top) and Serif(bottom). Please don't do this. Mixing fonts can make an unbalanced result. Just like the right image, use one font to make the template neat and organized.

Another example, is to not use two or more font families in one template. The left example used 4 fonts. 4 fonts in one template is a little too much. 1, 2, 3, 4... Doesn't look good. However, the right used only 2. First title, second title, and the body is in the same font. And only the website address is in a different font. Nice, huh?

(In addition)Although the website is in a different font, it's still similar. A better choice would have been to use the same font for both title and body.

Place the text where the viewers can easily notice. On the left image, there's no spare space. And it's too big. Therefore, we feel stuffed.

The best choice would be the image on the right. Having additional spaces will help the viewers to easily read the text. 

And one more thing. Don't use aligning option by mixing all three. This can confuse the readers.

Last! Avoid using 'distorted' fonts. These fonts look cool, but they have few problems.

1) Distorted fonts are already customized. In other words, they already have graphic elements.

2) Locked in the current shape. A good example would be the letter 't' in the image above. No matter how many times you type that letter, it'll be the same.

3) These fonts are already customized. Therefore, there's a huge change to see them in other people's projects. Not good.

4)Gives a first impression of 'Drag & Drop'.

5) Cannot be applied as a 3D.


5.     Make it readable

Doesn't matter how cool it looks, but instead needs to be readable.

The balance between looking cool and readability is very important. There are two examples. The second one looks better that the first one. When we're trying to make a fun shape, sometimes we tend to forget about the legibility problems. Just like the left image. On the right image, if the letter H was shorter, it would have connected with S, but because it sticked out it became easier to read. Just like this, try finding the balance!

Second, adjust the text size and thickness.

The left thin type text is too small. If thin type texts are too small, some letters will be hard to read. So make it big like the image on the right.

The same goes to the extra bold type text. If it's too small, it'll be hard to read. Provide some space like the right image.

And the last legibility problem is the reflection. The reflecting effect in 3D beaks the readability. Therefore, you need to be extra careful with this. If you use too much of the effect, it'll result like the left image. 

The right image did a great job on smoothly using the reflection. Plus, no legibility problems at all! Again, find the balance between looking cool and readability.


Hopefully these TIPS will be useful :)

(This is an image that explains the basics of typography.)

Now you can start making motion graphics with typography.

The TIPS will continue on our next post [Motion Graphics TIP 07].