Typographic design services

Typographic communication is a major part of graphic communication design projects, a typical website is about 75% text. We can help you design a good typographic appearance, feeling and voice, improve legibility, to general advice and support. Typography is the enhancement and optimisation of graphically visible language. It improves the way you communicate and are perceived, creating a professional appearance and tone, and makes graphic language easier for people to use and process. Academic typographic design research is also 1 of our specialities. Typography goes a long way to improving your communications and users’ motivation levels.

Complex information rich times and environments

We can help you with

  • Legibility issues at both small, medium and large sizes.
  • Increase the appeal of text for different categories of people.
  • Text economy issues, for example in dictionaries, or on signage in the environment.
  • Typographic design for general, children, dyslexic, vision impaired and ageing readers.
  • Choosing a typeface.
  • Micro-typography issues (justification, kerning, leading, tracking, hyphenation, superscript/subscript setting).
  • Combining 1 or more different typefaces.
  • Heading structures and hierarchies.
  • Mathematical and scientific symbols, and equations.
  • Multilingual texts (Cyrillic, Greek, foreign languages).
  • Hand-lettering.
  • Using typefaces to achieve a branding, tone, character, or feel.

Below is a selection of projects to give you an idea of just some of the projects we have worked on.

A large thick yellow handdrawn chalk arrow pointing down

Client

Typography.Guru.

Project title

Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers.

Services

Typographic design + Academic research.

Link to paper

Read on Typography.Guru.

About the client

The number 1 typography hub on the internet where you can learn about typography.

Figure 1 from the Typography.Guru paper. It shows the text Henry III, Henry Ill, and Henry 111 in 2 different typefaces, the above typeface is not very legible, and the below typeface is more legible

Photo of a yellow UK car number plate with a letter or symbol not in usual language

Outline of what we did

This paper is an extensive exploration into specific legibility issues. Legibility is a very fine, narrow and microscopic issue and the smallest of slight changes to a letter’s or symbol’s design, can have a large impact. The paper and research is not meant to constrain and make typeface designs generic, but to improve typeface designs and further increase legibility, its aim is to make typefaces work even better. There have been 4 editions of this paper published on Typography.Guru. Between the 1st edition published on the 2nd December 2015, and the 4th edition published on the 1st May 2019, it has been read more than 63,000 times. We have started to see the research and issues explored in the paper, in new typeface designs from about 2018 onwards, and especially in custom designed typefaces for organisations like IBM (IBM Plex), Netflix (Netflix Sans), BBC (Reith), YouTube (YouTube Sans), Goldman Sachs (Goldman Sans), and Amazon (Amazon Ember). The paper has been edited and updated around 8 times, and published in 5 places over a 10‑year period, which had a large beneficial impact. It has also informed best practice accessibility research and guidelines published by the Association of Registered Graphic Designers in Canada.

Below is a list of places the paper has been published (ordered by date, oldest 1st to newest last), and it includes 2 interviews about the work with Steven Heller and Sarah Dawood.

Paper editions

  • Bohm, T. (2012). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers. Baseline, 61.
  • Bohm, T. (2012). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers. Slanted, 18 (Signage/Orientation).
  • Bohm, T. (2013). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers. Hiut, 4(2).
  • Bohm, T. (2014). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers. Information Design Journal, 21(1).
  • Bohm, T. (2015, December 2). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers [1st edition]. Typography.Guru.
  • Dawood, S. (2015, December 11). Can you tell your 1 from your l? Why letter legibility is key in type design. Design Week.
  • Bohm, T. (2016, October 9). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers [2nd edition]. Typography.Guru.
  • Heller, S. (2016, October 24). Daily Heller: Type for impaired eyes. Print Magazine.
  • Bohm, T. (2018, February 5). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers [3rd edition]. Typography.Guru.
  • Bohm, T. (2019, May 1). Letter and symbol misrecognition in highly legible typefaces for general, children, dyslexic, visually impaired and ageing readers [4th edition]. Typography.Guru.
  • Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD). (2019). AccessAbility 2: A practical handbook on accessible graphic design. (pp. 25). Association of Registered Graphic Designers.

3 main improvements for them

  • Improved the design, legibility and performance of typefaces for general, ageing, dyslexic and vision impaired readers.
  • Improved international typographic legibility standards.
  • Increased typographic accessibility, usability and inclusive design knowledge for a wide-range of people and abilities.
Helped them to be fully understood

Client

Friends of New Walk.

Project title

Website redesign.

Services

Website design + Text editorial standardisation + Information design + Write of website accessibility statement + Photo editing + Typographic design.

Website

www.friendsofnewwalk.com.

About the client

A charity that effectively monitors and influences the future of New Walk, Leicester’s historic walkway.

Website design, website setup and updating. Screenshot of the Friends of New Walk Leicester website. Shows a green navigation area at the top with large blue heading below and introductory text below

Outline of what we did

This project is a good example of what good typographic choice and design can do, and can offer graphic communication design. We originally researched and proposed 4 different typefaces for the website design project, and for the client to choose from. In collaboration with the client, a final medium weight typeface was chosen, because screen resolutions and devices vary so much today, even different internet browsers and computer operating systems all render a typeface in subtly different ways. If we had of chosen a regular or light weight of the typeface, there would have been real risk of the typeface in some electronic environments, rendering too thin. In relation to legibility in an electronic environment, too bold is better than too thin. The typeface chosen relates to the client’s content and purpose, reflecting what they do. The typeface is also equipped with the necessary features, like common ligatures, small capitals in all weights, and oldstyle numbers. All of this, along with good graphic communication design and relevant use of colour, enriches and improves typographic communication and helps to create an appealing and fitting identity, which is easy‑to‑read and makes people want to use it. It shows the power and effect that typographic design has. What would the website’s typographic communication, tone and feeling say, if a typeface like Arial had of been used?

3 main improvements for them

  • Increased the appeal and perception of the client’s organisation with people.
  • Increased typographic legibility on screens and for general and ageing readers.
  • Avoided generic, bland and faulty typography.
Related the past and present

Client

Smashing Magazine.

Project title

Micro-typography: how to space and kern punctuation marks and other symbols.

Services

Typographic design + Academic research + JavaScript coding.

Link to paper

Read on Smashing Magazine.

About the client

The web’s number 1 online magazine averaging 3 million monthly page views. Founded in 2006, Smashing Magazine delivers useful articles to web designers and developers.

The word 'Typography' repeated in 4 columns, with various punctuation marks and symbols showing the effect of spaced and not spaced marks

Outline of what we did

The paper and research is on issues of micro-typography in typeface design. Micro-typography is basically white spacing and kerning in typography and typeface design, like microscopic additions or reductions in white space. We read and reviewed around 40 references (books, journals, websites) and discussed the issues within the paper. Before the paper was published, we spoke with and got the paper reviewed by worldwide experts. There is even an interactive real-time figure (see Figure 5 within the paper) so you can see exactly what micro‑typography is and does. Some people say micro‑typography makes no difference and that you should start with a well designed typeface in the 1st place (as Chris Coyier mentions in Some Typography Links on CSS Tricks), things are not so straightforward and simple…

The paper concludes that we need a kerning table edit for Adobe InDesign and basically a kerning table edit for web typography, or a technical option to allow typographers to add space either to the left or right side, of a letter or symbol.

3 main improvements for them

  • Provided recommendations for improving future typographic practice and software.
  • Highlighted strengths and weaknesses in past research and practice.
  • Increased typeface designers understanding, knowledge, and the benefits of micro-typography.
Gave them macro solutions

Client

Typography.Guru.

Project title

No more new similar typefaces for extended reading, please!

Services

Typographic design + Academic research.

Link to paper

Read on Typography.Guru.

About the client

The number 1 typography hub on the internet where you can learn about typography.

An illustration of the world showing various multi-script characters and diverse symbols

Outline of what we did

This paper seeks to briefly explore the issue of design similarity and usefulness in contemporary typeface design and development. The following issues are explored and discussed: new typeface designs and similarity to existing ones, what do we need in terms of character and language support, arguments around whether we actually need anymore typefaces, typeface designers doing extension work on existing typefaces, to the rise of major brands commissioning new custom typefaces. It also showcases examples of ideal practice and concludes that new is not always better, and that we should not forget what has worked well in the past. As of July 2021, it has been read more than 15,000 times.

We have started to see some of the good old typefaces and typefaces directly referred to in the paper, have their character and symbol range globally expanded in recent years, like Helvetica Now (2019), Arnhem Cyrillic (2020), Arnhem Greek (2020), Futura Now (2020), and Avenir Next World (2021). This is very interesting and we are delighted.

3 main improvements for them

  • Outlined strengths and opportunities for development in typeface design.
  • Highlighted accessible character needs in old and new typefaces.
  • Showcased highly useful typeface design examples.
‘Build on the good and make it better’…Paul Mijksenaar

Client

Smashing Magazine.

Project title

Measuring the performance of typefaces for users (part 1), and Measuring the performance of typefaces for users (part 2)

Services

Typographic design + Academic research.

Link to paper

Read part 1 or part 2 on Smashing Magazine.

About the client

The web’s number 1 online magazine averaging 3 million monthly page views. Founded in 2006, Smashing Magazine delivers useful articles to web designers and developers.

Illustration showing a row of large lowercase letter a’s in the many different versions of the Garamond typeface, then the name of each version in a diagonal red line below Technical flow diagram that shows if 2 people test typefaces, they will probably test against a different sans ser or serif typeface, and will probably use different typographic typesetting configurations

Outline of what we did

This paper looks into the various issues and problems around testing typefaces and how we can measure the quality (performance). It outlines various issue around what we are actually looking for when we test typefaces, why it is important to measure. Also the complex and difficult issues around testing typefaces and is it even worth the effort, to issues around what ultimate utopian highly legible typefaces might be like. Is new always better and are we just designing wheels nowadays that already exist? Then to data quality and relevance, to a list of ways to measure typefaces and if they produce subjective or objective data. To finally the expertise distance between a designer approach and a scientific approach. This paper also references to a mass of papers, journal articles, books and academic research. We feel the paper does a lot of groundwork and is quite forward‑thinking.

3 main improvements for them

  • Outlined more accurate ways to measure and typeset typeface testing materials.
  • Discussed many issues around this typographically difficult and complex area, and brought them all togethe in 1 place.
  • Described what makes bad and good data (subjective and objective).
Testing… testing… can you read me alright?

3 results of typographic design by us

 1 Establish your service, product or business clearly, in a professional and legible graphic voice.

 2 Communicate better with more people including people with vision impairments, ageing eyesight or dyslexia.

 3 Reduced the cognitive demand on readers, due to our typographic design which tires them less quickly.

Clarify your ideas and describe your content much better

We make more of a difference than you think! We would like to know more about your project

Contact us