what is typography?

The visual component of the written word

Typog­ra­phy is the visual com­po­nent of the writ­ten word.

A text is a sequence of words. A text stays the same no mat­ter how it’s ren­dered. Con­sider the sen­tenceI like pizza.” I can print that text on a piece of paper, or read it aloud, or save it in a file on my lap­top. It’ll be the same text, just ren­dered dif­fer­ent ways—visu­ally, audi­bly, dig­i­tally.

But whenI like pizza” is printed, typog­ra­phy gets involved. All visu­ally dis­played text involves typog­ra­phy—whether it’s on paper, a com­puter screen, or a bill­board.

For exam­ple, what’s the dif­fer­ence between these two signs: the text or the typog­ra­phy?

Is typog­ra­phy an art? That’s like ask­ing if pho­tog­ra­phy is an art. Some pho­tog­ra­phers and typog­ra­phers use tech­niques that raise their work to the level of art. But at their core, both pho­tog­ra­phy and typog­ra­phy have a util­i­tar­ian func­tion. The aes­thetic com­po­nent is sep­a­rate. Being an effec­tive typog­ra­pher is more about good skills than good taste. And you can learn the skills.