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LinkedIn Learning

The 33 Laws of Typography

via LinkedIn Learning


Discover how the 33 laws of typography can help you design documents that are beautiful and easy to understand.

Typography, done right, can enrich any message, making it beautiful and easy to understand. In this course, Jill Butler distills her many years of teaching and design consulting into 33 laws of typography. These laws are the details that designers can overlook or, in some cases, never learned, but that make for stronger compositions. Here these rules are broken down into five categories: documents, large bodies of text, small blocks of text, punctuation, and typefaces. Dive into any section to start learning how to put these principles into action in your own designs.


  • Introduction
1. How to Format a Document
  • 01 Distrust default software settings
  • 02 Ensure good contrast between text and background
  • 03 Avoid chart junk and page junk
  • 04 Enforce a consistent style within a document
  • 05 Maintain a visual hierarchy
  • 06 Group related page elements
2. How to Format Large Bodies of Text
  • 07 Set printed body text from 9 to 11 points
  • 08 Set body text two to three alphabets wide
  • 09 Favor flush-left, ragged-right body text
  • 10 Separate sentences with one space, not two
  • 11 Don't allow less than seven characters on a line
  • 12 Avoid bad paragraph breaks
  • 13 Avoid line-breaking hyphens
  • 14 Signal new paragraphs once, not twice
  • 15 Break up large blocks of text
3. How to Format Smaller Blocks of Text
  • 16 Emphasize ten percent or less of text
  • 17 Avoid all caps and underlined text
  • 18 Set acronyms and initialisms in small caps
  • 19 Hang punctuation in small chunks of text
  • 20 Hang bullets and numbers in lists
  • 21 Avoid bad line breaks
  • 22 Use symbols and special characters as needed
  • 23 Use proportional old-style figures in body text
  • 24 Adjust leading and kerning for large text
  • 25 Verify software alignments optically
4. How to Use Punctuation Properly
  • 26 Connect thoughts, using em dashes
  • 27 Show ranges, using en dashes
  • 28 Clarify, and improve readability, using hyphens
  • 29 Designate feet and inches, with prime symbols
  • 30 Replace missing characters with apostrophes
5. How to Choose Typefaces
  • 31 Limit typefaces to two per document
  • 32 Use typefaces that reinforce a document's mood
  • 33 Choose serif or sans serif, based on aesthetics
  • Goodbye

Taught by

Jill Butler

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