Unity and Contrast in typography

Unity and Contrast

Two important elements of the fundamentals of design are Unity and Contrast. Too much unity and you end up with something lacking attention grabbing appeal. Too much contrast and you may have something too chaotic for comfort. The key to excellent design is in finding a balance of contrast and unity that works well with the message you are conveying.

Unity

Unity in typography lets the audience know that sections of type belong together. Body copy, like that in a novel, is usually uniform so that the audience can easily read for long periods without interruption. Unity in this sense, is used so that the audience can focus on the meaning of the words rather then the typography itself.

The simplest type possible, such as Highway Gothic, is best for street signs to make sure the audience understands vital information. Unified type can be used to indicate when specific characters are speaking or even indicate feelings.

Knowledge of typography is important of Advertising, which short form persuasion. Companies use persuasion in the form of type and brand identity. Advertisements much catch attention over the chaos of competing ads via print, television and internet.

Contrast

Everything that exists appears to have an opposite. Much of our language and even thinking is based on the concept of differentiation, or placing things into dualities. Contrast is a basic part of human perception.

In typography, contrast is used to give the sense that items are different and stand apart. The type can be serifed, italic, bold, and placed next to a line break so that the black type stands out against the white background. Contrast is why the headline is the most important part of any message.

Whatever you are creating, be it painting, logo or print media, visual conflict is an element that will catch the viewers attention.

Balance

Balance is the act of creating with the right amount of unity and contrast. Until you have created that balance, its a matter of guess work. That’s why it is o.k. to make mistakes, getting it wrong first until you achieve balance in your design.

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