Introduction to Typography

Little details do matter.

Every Monday is see a little detail that sometimes makes people stumble when reading out the Agile Manifesto.
So I thought of writing a little bit about typography which is a topic I think is often underestimated.

I googled the Manifesto that we’re using every Monday morning and created another version that improves on certain parts that I want to go into.

1. Line breaks
The line breaks in the text happen at points where they cut off a thought.
In the first two lines the two “thoughts” are:

  • We are uncovering better ways of developing software (what)
  • by doing it and helping other do it (how)

However, the line stops one word before the first thought is complete.
This results in a little break of the reading flow and causes a pause to happen.
Typography should generally support the text in an “invisible” way, so that the focus can be completely on the content. The typography of a text shouldn’t hinder that flow.

Now I understand, that it’s not always possible to do this, especially in longer written texts (or books for that matter). On slides like the one here though, it is often possible to arrange the words to make them easier to scan and thus read and understand quicker.

2. Law of Proximity
In this case this is not a big issue, but still an interesting point that I also often see.
The law of proximity states that elements that are close together tend to be perceived as a unified group.
In our example above, the first 3 lines look like a group. The second sentence of that group is an introduction to the 4 principles though and should therefore stand together with those.


3. Font Size
Different font sizes can be used for different content, like headlines, teasers and paragraphs. They should not be mixed or used within a continuous text.
This is generally a bad practice and just makes the text look messy and takes more time to process it subconsciously.
To stress words or parts of a sentence, it is better to use font weights (light, medium, bold, etc.) or styles like italic or simply underlining.
This keeps the text neat and much cleaner in it’s appearance.


4. Text Alignment
Text alignments means if a text is aligned on the left, right or a middle axis (+ justified alignment is a 4th option, that creates a block like appearance).
I know that a center alignment is often considered to give text a more even appearance.
However reading wise this is a big pain. There is no clear line for the eyes to orient and jump back to, after a line of text ends.
This is again more severe for longer text and paragraphs (please never use it for long paragraphs). Yet the use should be limited to very very short texts, or things like food menus, that only contain a few words.


Typography is a huge topic and this is only a very brief introduction.
In my opinion typography can have big improvements on the texts/emails we write and should not be underestimated.
Of course the content itself will always be the most important, but using typography can support that very content and make it more effective.

Please let me know if you want to know more about typography, as this is a topic I’m not sure many people will be interested in :smile:

6 Likes

Wow. Interesting facts about Typography in the very common picture that all of us look at every Monday. I believe @steve will take your version the next time :wink:

Wonderful
Should we bold the “the items on the left more”

Interesting tips @anon16762564. Btw, I suggest that you put the background into the new version so that when we see the image on Monday motivation, we can recall to the origin of Agile manifesto :smiley:
here is the background I found https://agilemanifesto.org/background.jpg

Great article Philipp ơi!!! Sorry for saying that “it’s not interesting” initially. hihi :))))))