Graphic Design Terms 1-2: Typesetting vs Typography

In my previous post, My journey to becoming a graphic designer, I mentioned typesetting several times. I also mentioned typography. Have you ever wondered what the difference between them is?

Typesetting is the “process” of arranging or composing text ready for printing whereas typography is the “art and technique” of arranging text so that it is visually appealing and readable.

Typesetting: the process of arranging or composing text ready for printPicture a block of text in a book, newspaper or magazine article vs a block of text in a display ad, logo or some other graphic design piece. Do you see a difference? While both blocks of text involved the initial process of typesetting, unlike the display text, the text in the editorial pieces are not arranged artistically.

The block of text in editorial (whether for print or web) is very uniform, generally using only one typeface, in the same size and colour and, for the most part, in the same style. Horizontal and vertical spacing (between individual letters, lines of text and paragraphs) are the same. The only variation you see tends to be the size and style used for accompanying headlines, sub-headings and foot notes.

Compare this with a block of text in a display ad, logo or graphic, and you’ll see more than one typeface, fonts in a variety of sizes, styles and colours, and spacing adjusted to create a visually appealing message.

The following definitions may help to differentiate between the two terms.

the “art and technique” of arranging text so that it is visually appealing and readableTypesetting involves arranging letters and symbols according to the rules of the language being used, including spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation. When typesetting, a pre-designed font is used and generally various fonts from the same typeface (font family) are used to differentiate between headlines, sub-headings and paragraphs.

Typography involves selecting different typefaces, point size, line length, line-spacing, letter-spacing and adjusting space within letter pairs, to create a visually appealing, readable and legible display of type. Typography is the work created by a variety of specialists (including typographers, graphic designers, comic-book artists) or anyone who arranges words, letters, numbers and symbols to communicate a message for display, publication or distribution.

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One Response to “Graphic Design Terms 1-2: Typesetting vs Typography”

  1. Graphic Design Terms 3-4: Typeface vs Font | Kaz Talk Says:

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