Up until now the closest thing I had to formal learning around typography was reading about how Steve Jobs audited a calligraphy class after dropping out of college and then crediting that experience to many of the successful design decisions at Apple.
Learning about some of the fundamentals of different typefaces and how to effectively use them in different settings made me start to look at text a lot closer over the last few days.
I noticed the designers of a balsamic vinegar bottle used a decorative typeface to label the ingredients that made it nearly impossible to read, especially at a very small size.
I catch myself analyzing the font of every article I read online now and also trying to determine how that choice would translate in print. Even as I type this I am looking at the default typeface that Medium uses (apparently it is Noe).
This weekend I was setting up my new grill and started to really appreciate the typography used in the owner’s manual. It wasn’t perfect but it really stood out compared to most product manuals that you see. Green Mountain Grills clearly hired a professional designer to help layout these pages.
Principles of design like balance, proximity, and repetition are apparent throughout the pages but most impressive to me was the clear typeface system in place. Color, size, and weight were all utilized to help create an effective hierarchy.
That said, I still ended up going to YouTube to get help since the manual in text form just did not align with the needs I had as a user. Watching someone go through the steps while they explain it fit my needs a lot better than looking at small pictures and trying to make sense of the wording.
I understand typography is critical and I am not arguing against the importance of it but understanding how humans are not naturally designed to read and the cognitive load required to learn new things, even the best designed type systems may come up short.
Maybe it is just me and that is why I have never jumped fully into typography but I still find a well designed visual presentation more helpful than a written one. The video below is the reason I was able to cook my tritip to near perfection on the first try without burning down my house.