Know your Type – Beginners guide to Typography

Know your Type – a Beginners guide to Typography


What is Typography?

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.

But what is the importance of Typography?

It’s usually overlooked, but it is critically important to strengthen your brand, products and core message. It’s everywhere, seriously, just take a look around you now and I know you’ll be able to see tonnes of examples.

Whether you’re a beginner to typography or just looking to refresh your typographical skills, we’ll help you gain some fundamental knowledge, to knowing your type.


Typeface or (Font Family) Classification

A key area you need to know first is the different Font Family’s. Having a good understanding of what type groups are and the differences between them will help you choose one that conveys the right message for your design.


Black Letter

Or sometimes referred to as Gothic Fraktur or Old English. This old typeface, usually associated with the Middle Ages, is usually found in dusty old books in Churches, and Monasteries. A more modern use of the font is in the daily newspaper, The Telegraph.



More commonly known as Calligraphy, is usually written with a Quill and Ink set, on scrolls of course. Calligraphy is a truly expressive form of type creating style, flow and feel to the letters form. Modern Calligraphy has become very popular with creative agencies, crafting, and design. Our design work for The Stay Company brought a classic feeling to a very modern brand The Stay Company that shows this typeface is still very much alive and well.



No it isn’t the dreaded Wingding font, non-alphanumeric is a general term for characters that represent numbers 0-9 and letters A-Z (upper and lower cases) and commonly used symbols such as &,@,#.



Serif originated in the Latin alphabet, think of the letters used when carving Roman stone, plaques etc.


This typeface has a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter in certain typefaces, you can see this in the work we produced for Longleys. Take a look at the flick of the L’s and points on the S. A font that doesn’t include these is called a Sans- serif (Sans – from Latin meaning without) You learn something new every day.


Sans Serif (without a ‘Serif’)

Is simply, like we mentioned above a typeface that doesn’t include serifs.

Sans Serifs have interesting classifications:

Grotesque – A solid bold design suitable for headlines, early sans-serif types didn’t include lowercase letters.

Neo-grotesque – As the name suggests, and evolution of Grotesque type. The most commonly used Neo-grotesque font being Helvetica.

Geometric – The typeface’s shape is full of circles and squares in the letter formation.

Humanist – inspired by traditional letter forms (see Calligraphic, Serifs)Script. This Typeface mimics the varied and fluid strokes of handwriting. It’s generally used for titles and headings.

Now you know your basic Typeface classifications, there are a few more important things you should know. One of the most important things is making them look visually appealing. Let’s introduce you to Kerning.



Kerning is the act of adjusting the spaces between characters to achieve a visually pleasing result.

This is key for word digestion, visual appeal, and reading speed.
To illuminate this point further Mark MacKay has created a Kerning game Kerning game to highlight the importance of kerning in typefaces, it’s quite addictive. (press the compare button to see how well you’ve done)


Letter Anatomy

There are lots of different names for the different parts of letters, too many to list. Images work much better.

Typography at Ginger Root

We adore all the intricacies of making a design right, from the big and bold down to the spaces in between letters.
If you know someone who could do with learning a bit more about the difference between Serif and a Sans Serif, why not give this blog a share?

Our font family is Soleil. We chose this font to work with the Ginger Root monogram.

Our monogram logo is in a Serif font, we needed a font that was durable and would work well with Serifs. Now, if you’ve learnt anything from what you’ve just read you’ll know we needed to choose a Sans Serif to work with our monogram, so we chose the delectable Soleil to accompany our logo.

Typography resources

If you would like to find out more information about typography head on over to

Here are some of our favourite sites we use to find fonts, they’ve got some great names too.
Font Squirrel

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