Brand New to Typography, Help Please?

Justanotheruserhere's picture

Well.. I don't know if I'm in the right place.. And I'm sure I'm dealing with a bunch of adults who probably will doubt what I can do, but I don't care I'm trying it anyway (: I'm looking for a program that is SIMPLE to use, as far as typography goes.. What goes into typography? Do you type a word then move it to how you want it moved? I don't think it'd be that simple, just someone please try to explain basic steps to typography and how to start.. Thanks (: (Btw I'm 14)

Aaron Thesing's picture


To help answer your questions, I think Ellen Lupton's Thinking With Type is a good starting point. The book is well worth checking out, and I'm sure the website will give you plenty to absorb. I also suggest looking at the books listed at Type Library, especially those under general typography.

Most professionals use Adobe InDesign to create layouts that are typographically good, for print at least (It costs a lot, but Adobe does offer student discounts. Check to see if your school has it installed in any of their labs. There is also a free 30-day trial you can download.) Good typography is more a result of decisions made by a designer, and less about the specific tools used. You can make something nice in Microsoft Word, it just takes more effort.

I hope that helps. Good luck.

(It seems that you know that typography is not the same as type design, but just to make sure: the drawing of letters/making of fonts is type design, the arrangement/layout/spacing/etc. of text is typography.)

Don McCahill's picture

Don't assume that all of us are adults ... even if we are old enough to be. :)

I suspect that you will be blown away when you look at the price of InDesign. However, you can get 30 day trials of the software free, and if you put in a lot of time with it, you will learn a lot. As well as InDesign, Adobe also has Photoshop and Illustrator as other types of programs that have typographic components. You could move onto those after your InDesign trial runs out.

There are a lot of good tutorials for all these programs on the web in general, and Adobe's site in particular.

Finally, there is a free program called GIMP that works like Photoshop, and one called Serif that works (a bit) like InDesign. You can go to these if you can't con your parents into buying the Adobe software.

JanOriCab's picture

I'm fairly new here as well.. Thanks a lot for the immediate response to that newbie question. ^_^ I came here to learn the basics as well. I've been told to join forums, and not only depend on books.
Anyway, thanks for pointing out good books!

wish you all the best,


kmonsoor's picture

if you are talking about "typography" you need only imagination. if you got that, your mind will blow with what you can do with ms word.

if you r talking about "font design", same noob here. hunting for tutorial ;)

sondre m's picture

Since this was dragged up anyway – if somone is researching the same thing find this, Adobe now has something called Creative Cloud, where you can access one or all CS programs for a relatively low monthly fee!

betacarmody's picture

There is also a free program called Fontforge. It is good for a beginner in typography. also has a good tutorial on it.

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