The Worst Typography Mistakes

Even though typography can seem simple, it's still possible to get it wrong very easily. 

Choosing a typeface, adjusting the size, and perhaps altering the colour seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong! 

The truth is, effective typesetting involves so much more.

Here are some of the best (worst?) examples to save you time, effort, and embarrassment:

01- Using a Bad Font

Why is a font bad? There are many reasons. Some fonts can be difficult to read, while others can be distracting, or simply too much. 

Fonts to choose instead:

You have a tonne of gorgeous, readable, and innovative font selections to choose from for your design. Some of our favourites are as follow:

02- Using Too Many Typefaces or Font Styles

What number of typefaces is excessive? In general, using more than two fonts or font styles is superfluous and not a good idea, especially if you're new to typographic design.

In case you forgot, a typeface is a family of fonts.

How to use typefaces instead:

This one is a no-brainer. Keep it simple, please! You should be alright as long as you stick to one or two options.

03- Poor Font Pairings

It's nice to have it down to two typefaces, but that is just half the battle.

Fonts that are too similar to one another may confuse the reader. It undermines the hierarchy you're attempting to create or softens the point you're attempting to make.

What to do instead:

Similar to wine and food pairing, font pairing also takes practice. Any two possibilities could be combined, but a perfect pair is required for a tasty design. There are countless variations possible. Here are some excellent Google Font combinations:

04- Tragic Tracking

The concept of tracking refers to the standard spacing between each character in a piece of text.

Letters that are too close together may overlap and become challenging to read. When they are too far apart, it is challenging to distinguish the individual words.

What to do instead:

As you make your adjustments, bear the following in mind to prevent committing the crime of "tragic tracking."

Readability: Is the text easy to read?

Can you identify which letters go with which words?

Your content should be in good shape as long as both of those statements are accurate.

05- Don't stretch your font

When stretching a font your text may become distorted, difficult to read, pixelated, or simply unattractive.

Therefore, kindly refrain from stretching, scrunching/squishing, slanting, or doing anything else that could obliterate the lovely shapes of the letters you are working with.

What to do instead:

Change the weight or form of the letters by using a different style of the same font. If the font you're using and the desired effect are right, highlighting the word may be as easy as pressing a button. Yes, it's that easy!

Changing character spacing is all you need to do, so keep tracking in mind. Tracking is a great option if you want to change the spacing between each of your characters at once.

06- Inappropriate Use of Hatch Marks (or Prime Marks)

When we're talking about measurements, hatch marks (or prime marks), also known as 'dumb quotes', are used to notate measurements, but many of us mistake them for apostrophes. It's sometimes confusing, but it's mostly just... wrong.

What to do instead:

The difference between "dumb quotes" and "smart quotes" is important to recognize. In dumb quotes, the markings are usually just straight lines. The smart quotes that you should use to contract and quote are those lovely little curved characters that we use prefer to use.

07- Rage of Rorschach

(The rag is the side of the paragraph that isn't justified -- i.e. not perfectly aligned. In the western world, it is usually the right side.)

You shouldn't let the rag make your paragraphs into discernible and distracting shapes unless you're working on a concrete poem or a snazzy experimental typography.

What to do instead:

Take control of the shapes if you notice the rag lining up perfectly square, all over the place, or looking like Maine. of the lines and the breaks so that the rag is nice and organic

08-Leaving Behind ‘Orphans’ and ‘Widows’

The term ‘widow’ refers to a line that opens a paragraph, which is separated by a page break or column, from the rest of the paragraph. Therefore, it is left all by itself. It's so sad. So lonely.

To run with the same sad concept, an ‘orphan’ is a paragraph-closing line that's either too short, or is isolated at the end of the section.

What to do instead:

Keep those sentences together into a single, happy paragraph. A simple way to fix the problem. By including breaks and moving words to the next line, you can manually change the line lengths.

In essence, you merely need to "return" everyone who is an orphan or widow to their family.

09- SO Many Signals!!!

Did reading that completely awful heading hurt your eyes? Because it certainly hurt mine just to write it.

Why? Like most readers, us, designers too, prefer it to be obvious to know what deserves our undivided attention. The message becomes muddled and the emphasis is lost when you overuse stressing signals like caps, bold, italic, underline, etc.

What to do instead:

The solution to this typography offence is to keep things straightforward. Create a single, consistent technique to highlight your text, and please stop there. It really is that simple.

10- Doubling Down on Serifs

We've already discussed the offence of poor font pairing. Absolutely, we did. This exact typographical faux pas requires its own legislation because it is so awful.

"Birds of a feather flock together," right? Wrong.

Seriously, two Serifs don't belong together. The phrase ‘fonts of a feather’ is still under development, however the sentiment is still valid! 

When used together, two serif typefaces create an unkempt mistake.

What to do instead:

Attempting to match a sans-serif (a typeface lacking serifs) and a serif typeface is another simple solution to avoid this calamity.

11- All Jammed Up

Incorporating as much as you can into a design won't improve it; it will only make it busier, more distracting, and unprofessional-looking.

Remember to move the typeface away from the corners and edges unless you're purposefully cutting something off, because sometimes spacing matters more than information density.

What to do instead:

Change your perspective (and try to convince your client to do the same)! You'll find it getting easier and easier to let your design breathe as you start seeing negative space as a valuable component of the design rather than as unused space.

Play around with the available space; adding more negative space can help you create a cleaner appearance. You can reduce the font size, scale down all or just some pieces, or sometimes a clever rearrangement of the individual components will work.

12- Illegible Text

If you consider this to be a complete "given," fantastic! We all adore hearing that! Though we do believe that occasionally, some people need to be reminded of this crime. You're not hitting the mark if the intended audience cannot read the material.

What to do instead:

Put "function" before "fashion." Of course, go for both if you can. As much as the next designer, we enjoy a gorgeous (type)face. However, if you can't have both, choose useful instead of fashionable.

Of course, if your goal is to play with wacky or strange fonts and your content doesn't need to be readable, just go ahead, my friend!

13- Random Rules

It might be time to let go of that loosey-goosey mentality for a hot second and follow some real guidelines. If you find yourself explaining why things are aligned a specific way or you’re repeatedly readjusting and readjusting until it "feels" right, you may need to rethink your design. "Ruler" is a concept for a reason.

What to do instead:

You need that massive grid energy to get back on track and make your type look practical and new. In other words, you better become genuinely enthusiastic about using grids. We should possess them, put them to use, and adore them as well.

14- Snooze Cruise

Nobody wins if you're not having fun and your design is a snooze-fest.

Not you, not your customer, and most definitely not the other major design nerds (that's us!) who can't wait to see what you come up with.

What to do instead:

Have fun with design, please! As much as it is motivated by the rules and norms we've discussed today, design is also driven by passion and curiosity. Hey, part of the reason we learn the rules is to break them in amusing, novel, and entertaining ways.

Now you're making great progress towards a crime-free design!

After reading about the worst typographic offences, we're sure you're ready to exchange your life of type-crime for one of excellent design. Though if you’re still struggling with making sensible design choices, we can help you!!

Just give us a BUZZ!

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