Lessons for UX from Typography

by Kevin Makice

Adaptive Path’s Kim Cullen recent cracked open her copy of Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style, a seminal resource for typography junkies. When she did, she was delighted to find so much of its content compatible with UX philosophies of design. Here are some quotes she extracted:

  • Honor the Content: “Typography exists to honor the content…Typography must often draw attention to itself before it will be read. Yet in order to be read it must relinquish the attention it has drawn.”
  • Guide but Don’t Intrude: “Typographers, like other artists and craftsmen—musicians, composers and authors as well—must as a rule do their work and disappear.”
  • Balance Functionality and Emotion: “One of the principles of durable typography is always legibility; another is something more than legibility: some earned or unearned interest that gives its living energy to the page…including serenity, liveliness, laughter, grace and joy.”

Cullen also sums up a semester of Typography with the following tips: Use Restraint (a few reusable variations are a stronger choice than rampant customization); Let it Breathe (consistent use of white space is a friend to comprehension); and, Avoid Filter Happiness (don’t embellish without a reason).

Adaptive Path (July 8, 2011, by Kim Cullen)