FORUM Fall 2014 Vol. 47, Issue 1 - Page 6

The Importance of Typography in Relaying Your Message Presentation is everything. You know this. The hopeful job applicant carefully considers an interview outfit, the talented chef artfully plates a dish and adds a drizzle of sauce for the finishing touch. The same is true for anyone who writes, for where text exists, so does design. WHAT IS TYPOGRAPHY ANYWAY? Typography is simply the presentation of text. It is defined by the visual component of the written word, according to Matthew Butterick, author of Butterick’s Practical Typography. “Because you are a professional writer, you are already a typographer,” Butterick says. “You may be a re­uc­ant ty­ og­ a­ l t p r ph­ r. You may be an un­ killed ty­ e s pog­ a­ h­ r. But every time you put r p e words on a print­ d page, you’ve e made ty­pog­ra­phy hap­pen. So you are a typographer.” The word typography, however, is not synonymous with the word font. Typography goes beyond fonts. It is holistic. The overall purpose of typography is to convey the intended meaning of a text by making the right design choices to enhance the overall message. Many times typography can be art, especially if that is its intention. thing delicious for your eyes. In fact, using two to three typefaces from different type categories in the same piece is one way to create contrast, which always attracts the eye. TYPOGRAPHY SHOULD ENHANCE THE MESSAGE However, typography is primarily a utilitarian function and it greatly impacts the meaning of a message. The readers’ visual perceptions dictate whether or not your messaging was successful. For example, you would never expect to receive a letter in Comic Sans from the IRS notifying you of an impending audit. You wouldn’t take it seriously because its use of Comic Sans detracted from the intended message, instead of enhanced it. Butterick points out, “Ty­ og­ p ra­phy that is aes­thet­i­cal­ly pleas­ ant, but that doesn’t re­n­ orce the i f mean­ng of the text, is a fail­ re. i u Ty­pog­ra­phy that re­in­forces the mean­ng of the text, even if aes­ i thet­i­cal­ly un­pleas­ant, is a success.” Your typographical decisions must work together with the content, or your ventures have failed. Perhaps the most important aspect of typography is how it achieves its purpose of message enhancement: capturing readers’ attention. Beautiful content design using effective typography is eye candy. Even the most boring or nuanced of information can be made exciting and digestible through infographics that break down the data using a variety of colors and typefaces that interact with each other and create some- CLEAN DESIGN EQUATES TO HIGHER CREDIBILITY Remember, if you aren’t using typography to your advantage, someone else is. Publications that are designed well will attract more readers than those that are designed poorly. Readers equate quality design with credibility. They are turned off by publications that don’t put forth the time, effort or resources to make their design look professional. If you’ve lost credibility, you can kiss persuasion goodbye. Additionally, you can glean a lot of insight into the culture by noticing the trends in typography over time. Typography reflects cultural shifts, and in public relations you have to be culturally aware. For example, graphic design student at Olivet Nazarene University Cymone Wilder points out the recent rise in popularity of hand lettering. “The study of type in the handwritten/drawn form has been dying … but has recently made a resurgence. There’s just something so unique and authentic about hand lettered type, and that’s why I enjoy it,” Wilder said via Facebook message. With new fonts being created all the time and tasks constantly streaming in to your desk, don’t forget to harness the power of typography in your next visual or professional project. MAKE READERS DO A DOUBLE TAKE Michael Gartner, former president of NBC News, said it best: “The easiest thing for a reader to do is to stop reading.” This means that “typography matters because it helps conserve the most valuable resource you have as a writer — reader attention. Good typography can help your reader devote less attention to the mechanics of reading and more attention to your message,” says Butterick. Ultimately, using typography is all about persuasion. If a reader spends less time and energy digesting your information, then they will be that much closer to being persuaded of your message. Get noticed — in a good way. Want to see your Chapter’s news appear in the next issue of FORUM? Talk to Publications Editor in Chief Laura Daronatsy or email forum@prsa.org. Photo courtesty of Martin Silvertant Photo courtesty of Martin Silvertant University of Texas studentrun firm director gives his two cents on recruiting staff members PRSSA VICE PRESIDENT OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Last month, Texas Tower PR, the PRSSA Nationally Affiliated student-run firm at the University of Texas, developed a case study about a newly adopted recruitment strategy titled #JoinTheTower. This evolved after Texas Tower PR underwent a major change in staff due to a rising emphasis on accountability. “With students on full course loads and balancing internships, the time management factor comes into play,” said Hugo Rojo, Texas Tower PR firm director. “We have real nonprofit clients that are relying on our commitment to public relations excellence.” The internal overhaul from 2013 inspired Texas Tower PR leaders to plan and implement #JoinTheTower this fall. After rebranding the firm with a cohesive color scheme and refurbishing the website to demonstrate a digital identity, Texas Tower PR focused on attracting and retaining top student talent. “Making sure our team of Target Vice President of Public Relations Dustee Jenkins lectures Texas Tower PR students. The University of Texas’ student-run fir