Typography and typesetting for the small business owner

Before we start let me quickly explain what typography and typesetting are:

Typography is the technique to arrange typography.

Typesetting is the technique to arrange paragraphs and typographic compositions.

Why it’s essential for an entrepreneur to know?

  • Knowing typography and typesetting will give your marketing materials the finesse and professionalism that all businesses need.
  • Typography is everywhere. Look at your desk or open the fridge and look how many letters and type compositions you see.
  • Help emphasise and express an idea. Moreover, differentiate from other competitors.

Typography: Basic concepts


Times New Roman is possibly the most famous one. This style has very conservative connotations, so it’s excellent for establish and traditional brands. It’s also perfect for body text because it’s designed for small dense texts. (EG. Newspapers and books)

Slab Serif
The slab serif has the serif squared and thick. This font is excellent to make a statement. Rockwell usually comes with your computer, to mention an example.

Sans Serif
Helvetica or Arial are possibly the two famous guys. However, there are lots of this style. It’s a font that modern brand will use. Also, perfect for brochures and texts that aren’t too dense are great.

This style is not great at all for body texts. It’s a right font type to create personality and to be used on titles and highlight texts. Things to bear in mind of this style is that all the letters look the same so be wise when you choose one that the material in which you use the font doesn’t end up looking a bit naff.

Fancy Pancy (not called like that officially, basically decoration fonts)
These fonts are fun but possibly very limited use for a brand.

Comic Sans, please don't!
Most designers will ask you to stay away from Comic Sans.I’m just going to ask you to refrain yourself to use it in your brand. The indiscriminate use of this font makes it impersonal and also it’s a very childish font. Just not serious for a brand.

Space between letters. This tip is handy. The space between letters can be really useful but also damaging the readability. Some fonts are not well, and therefore the kerning isn’t well adjust and will create strange gaps and break the words in the wrong way.

However, also with the kerning, you can use to express an idea, as we’ve done above.


Let’s have a quick look at some typesetting concepts now.

The first concept you already know pretty well. What you need to think about it is that depending on what size you use the marketing leaflet or business card will look crowded or missing finesse. I always try a few different sizes on a printed paper to see what feels best.

Document or column width
Size and width are very related. If you have a wide document, it might be worth splitting it into two or three columns as it will air the readability.

AKA, the space between the lines. If the leading is too big, you will tire your reader’s eyes if it’s too small you will make the document dense and claustrophobic. For me, a rule is something like 1.5 (in a word document) or 3 points more than the text size on InDesign. This rule obviously, depends on the font design.

I am a prophet on a NOT JUSTIFIED text. The reason being is that justified text have to force the space between words making the reader’s eyes tired. Also looks more organic when is just a normal aligned to the left and gives a bit of dynamism.

A widow is a word that stands by itself at the end of the paragraph. This tip is purely aesthetic and quite pro. If the last word is a long word, three or more syllables I usually don’t consider it a widow.

An orphan is a stand-alone word from the previous paragraph that goes to the next column or page. It’s important to make that work fit in in the section because can be really disruptive for the reader.

Did you enjoy this article?

Well, I think this is possibly enough for today. If you have questions or would like to know more, please use the comments section, Social media or contact us, all can be found below.

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