5 Basic Typography Principles for Better Designs

By Din Studio on September 30, 2022

Have you ever heard about what and how typography principles are? Most people have no idea about it. If you are about joining a design industry, you need to have a good grasp of it.

Typography frightens most designers, especially the beginners. They challenge themselves once they are working on fonts, sizing and colouring selections.

One can value the design as good, while others don’t. It is not the creator, but the audience who matters. Since audiences perceive different messages from different typography characters.

In this article, you will find five principles that you should always think of when selecting typography to a design.

Typography Principles


5 Typography Principles You Should Know

Simply put, typography is the art of arranging letters. A designer should know how to use and adjust it well within the design. In this way, typography is a basic principle in design.

Designers should carefully consider which typeface looks good, as well as the right size. In typography theory, there are 5 basic principles we should always consider.

Avoiding Multiple Fonts in a Design

One of the most neglected typography principles is the font use. Some designers use different types of fonts in one design, believing it enhances the design look.

On the contrary, placing various fonts only confuse the readers, let alone more than 3 types. No matter if the design looks exceptionally good, unless the readers don’t find it easy to read.

When it comes to text readability, less is better. Use one font type to convey your message to the readers. Remember this typography principle every time you are working with text.

If having multiple fonts is needed, restrict it to 3 types of fonts. It would significantly keep your text legibility and integrating design.

Another possible option is use one family font with contrasting thickness. This trick would preserve both text and design.

Which typeface would do? Check out our legible font recommendation below:

  1. Helvetica
  2. Futura
  3. Gill Sans
  4. Bodoni
  5. Avant Garde
  6. Garamond
  7. Courier
  8. Nunito
  9. Monserrat
  10. Poppins
  11. Open Sans
  12. Roboto

You could choose one of the typescripts mentioned, particularly for a design with compact writing. Adjust the font size to compromise the readability. 

Going with Left Alignment

Whenever you wonder why your text is still plain hard to read, after carefully choosing one suitable font, look over the paragraphs.

Most people prefer centre alignment for a unique look, while against the second typography principle, left alignment is better.

Simply because the majority of us read from left to right. Primarily for Latin where it is written from left to right, as well as Indonesian language.

Even for countries whose writing styles start from top to bottom or right to left, they adapt the same principle. Somehow, it is a common rule we should follow.

Every time you are working on a design, always consider these typography principles. For once, you can go with centre or right alignment, depending on the design.

It is important to keep your text easily readable by the audiences and left alignment is your ultimate choice. Mainly for a design with more written, preventing readers from misunderstanding.

Minding the Contrast between Texts

Choosing the right size of your text is also a part of typography principles. It is not only the font we should think of, but the size as well.

You wouldn’t make your body text have the same font size with your headline, would you? Make sure they have different font sizes. Headlines should contrast and emphasis better than the body text.

You can adobe the 2x principle, meaning your headline is 2x bigger than the body. If you use 12 points font for the body, make it to 24 points for the headlines.

This size is not a solid typography principle, rather it is adjustable to your needs. Especially when you have several headlines in your design.

In short, making your fonts appear too big or too small would prevent your audiences from grasping both the design content and its context. Avoid using different sizes in one line.

Even if it is meant for a highlight, audiences could lose their reading interest. Also, avoid using too small fonts since they are hard to read.

X-Height Theory

Next typography principle is using X-height to measure the height of the typeface. This measurement is needed when you have no idea how to considerately combine 2 different fonts. 

Briefly, look at the x-height of the two fonts. If their heights are similar, they will probably make a good pair. 

Type each of letter X next to each other to see the differences between the two typefaces. 

Following this typography principle would save you from excessive typeface combinations which are potentially disruptive in the design.

Things You Should Avoid

In addition to four basic typography principles, there is one thing you should avoid. It’s combining 2 script fonts or 2 serif fonts (except they belong to the same family), because these typescripts appear in thick typography. 

This combination is just difficult to read and your audiences would definitely miss the message. It is disturbing enough to cause some big issues for your design, unless you take more consideration. 


Principles of Readability Typography

Apart from those typography principles, here are readability typography principles you need to know: 

  1. Lowercase letters tend to have better readability than uppercases, because each font appears contrasted to each other. 
  2. Regular font is easier to read than italic. 
  3. Sufficient color contrast improves the text readability, while high contrast mode tiring the readers’ eyes. 
  4. Darker text on a dark background is more recognizable than brighter text. 
  5. The perfect combination of dark grey on nude is the most easily readable text. 

There are literally no rules telling you to use certain typefaces or sizing. However, we should follow some common principles to straightly organize our design and compromise the legibility. 


In conclusion, these principles rule our design for impressive appearance and text readability. The five typography principles should be adapted to create appealing and user-friendly design.