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How to Get Really Good at Typography in One Month

How to Get Really Good at Typography in One Month

Typography is the visual representation of the written word; though if it’s used effectively, it can also add meaning to what is being communicated. Good typography is more than just choosing a favorite font. It’s setting and arranging type in a way that is legible and pleasing for viewers.

With web and mobile being the dynamic force that it is today, there’s a great opportunity to explore more brand-forwarding typography. A company’s website is commonly the consumer’s place of interaction with the brand, so being able to have type function in multiple platforms is becoming increasingly important.

– Cristin Burton, Graphic Designer for Bigstock

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    If you want to efficiently make typography one of your skills, without having to become an expert web designer, there are plenty of resources to help you master the art. Follow this guide that takes you through a weekly process of becoming a great typographer in one month.

    Week 1: Learning the Basics

    To use type effectively, you need to gain a firm understanding of the anatomy of letters and the way they interact with each other. This includes knowing the different parts of a letter and the way fonts are classified.

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    Typefaces and Fonts
    First, you should understand what differentiates these two terms. A typeface is a set of distinct characters with varying weights, which ultimately make up a font family. A font is one set of character styles within the typeface. Basically, a font is a particular size, weight, and style of a typeface, while a typeface is a range of fonts that share an overarching design.

    Typeface Styles
    Typefaces are classified into different style categories to help define what they’re best used for. The most common and basic classification is serif and sans serif. A serif is the small stroke that stems off of the ends of letters, and a sans serif font does not have these strokes. Sans serif fonts are usually easiest for web reading, and serifs are great for titles or making bold statements.

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      Structure of a Letter
      The variations in the parts of letters are what make up different styles of fonts. Each font has its own set of unique shapes and sizes of parts. Some of the main pieces you should know are:

      • X-height: The height of a lowercase x, or the height of any lowercase letter excluding the ascender and descender.
      • Baseline: The imaginary line that a set of characters sit on to help create uniformity and legibility.
      • Ascender: The part of a letter that extends above the x-height.
      • Descender: The part of a letter that descends below the baseline.
      • Counter: The enclosed spaces within letters.

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        Resources
        These lessons and tutorials will help you gain a deeper understanding of the basics of type.

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        Week 2: Combining and Modifying Typefaces

        Anyone can simply choose a font that seems to suit a particular project. But if you want to really add meaning to your project and customize a font style to optimize its effectiveness, you need to learn techniques for combining and manually adjusting different styles.

        Combining Typefaces
        Combining typefaces can add depth and interest to your project that keeps your viewer’s attention and keeps the eye moving. There are certain principles that need to be considered when putting these combinations together to ensure a unified and complementary style.

        Contrast: Your chosen typefaces need to be unique enough to be recognizably different, yet not so different that their styles clash. You can find this balance by making variations to weight, size, structure and color.

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          Hierarchy: Besides the actual style of your typefaces, you can create contrast by establishing a visual hierarchy that helps guide the viewer’s eye.

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            Modifying Typefaces
            Each font has a built-in space setting to establish its structure. However, sometimes the spacing isn’t right for a certain layout. You can fix this by adjusting these spaces, known as leading, kerning and tracking. Leading refers to the distance between baselines in a block of copy, kerning is the space between two specific letters and tracking is the uniform spacing between all letters in a text. By slightly changing these settings, you can make your layout more legible, aesthetically pleasing and meaningful.

            Resources

            Week 3: Layout

            Even if you’re putting together a simple, text-based document, intentional layout can mean the difference between readers digesting the entire content, and moving on to something more interesting. Variations in fonts and font styles, white space and proper leading, kerning and tracking all contribute to an aesthetically pleasing project.

            Grids: A helpful way to develop a solid layout is to use a grid system, which enables you to find consistency in spacing and alignment. InDesign has a great grid feature that is easy to use and prime for laying out and customizing type.

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              Resources

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              Week 4: Getting Creative and Using Visual Hierarchy

              As you advance in your typography skills, you can begin to experiment with more unique and creative layouts, and even customize your own lettering. Once you’ve gotten a grasp on how to create a solid layout, you can begin to experiment with different ways to make a visual hierarchy that keeps readers’ interest.

              Hierarchy: Keep your target audience in mind when testing different layouts and typefaces, and consider whether your solution meets their needs and expectations. For example, it might not be most effective to use a highly decorative font for a project that is meant to portray a trustworthy and professional brand. Use what you’ve learned about combining typefaces to create different hierarchies.

              Lettering: If you’re especially ambitious in your journey to become good at typography, consider trying your hand at lettering. This is “the art of drawing letters,” though it can also all be done on the computer (usually in Adobe Illustrator).

              Resources

              You’re Ready!

              Now that you have your typography lessons planned out, you’re ready to get started! By the end of the month, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert typographer, making all of your projects easier and more effective in communicating to audiences.

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              Last Updated on May 28, 2020

              18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

              18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated)

              No one can dispute the countless benefits technology has brought us. Undoubtedly, it has allowed us to connect, perform, improve, and leverage our resources beyond what was once imaginable.

              If you’re not taking advantage of some of the hundreds of time management apps and tools out there, you’re definitely missing a trick.

              But with so many apps to choose from, how do you know which ones to use?

              Well, this will depend on your needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 18 of the best time management apps that can help you with the most common challenges of managing time.

              Let’s dive straight into the list.

              1. Rescue Time – Use Your Time Wisely

                If you have doubts if you are using your time sensibly, this app will send you weekly reports to indicate what things are stealing your time. Aside from its automatic time-tracking feature, this app also has distraction blocking and efficient report tools.

                RescueTime helps you avoid being overwhelmed by too many tasks. This app also has a team software that’s dedicated to time management among team members. With this app, you may be shocked to discover how much time you’re actually wasting.

                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                2. Remember The Milk – Keep on Top of All Your Tasks

                  If you’re struggling to manage everything you have to do, and you work with many different devices, then this is the app for you. It’s a great free tool that is compatible with your mobile, computer, Gmail, Outlook, etc., and it allows you to sync all your devices for easier time management.

                  This app will help you to manage your tasks easily and reminds you of them – wherever you are. You can share tasks and lists with others, making it a great tool for teams as well.

                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                  3. Focus Keeper – Boost Motivation to Complete Tasks

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                    This app is based on the principles of the Pomodoro Technique, and it is aimed at individuals who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by tasks. It has a simple, efficient user interface that is easily customizable based on your needs.

                    Focus Keeper is designed to enhance your focus and remove any anxiety you might have with time pressures. This is a great app to use if you want to prevent yourself and your team from being burned out.

                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                    4. Toggl – Keep Track of Time Spent on Projects and Tasks

                      Effective time management starts with being clear on exactly how much time you actually spend on your projects and tasks and through analysis – working out how you can manage them more effectively. Toggl allows you to do all this even with its simple design.

                      Toggl includes great time-saving features integrated with its intuitive interface. This is a great alternative to time-sheets if you need to track how much time you spend on different projects.

                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                      5. Dropbox – Store and Send Large Files Easily

                        There are many apps that allow you to transfer content from your computer to other devices, but Dropbox is free and it is easier to use than the others. With the Dropbox app, you can even access and share important files on the go. It is an easy way to share your files and documents with others for improved productivity.

                        Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                        6. Evernote – Keep All Your Notes in One Place

                          Evernote is a free productivity tool that allows you to capture all your ideas, thoughts, and images in many different ways (e.g., with voice, notes, or images). You can even record your meetings, interviews, speeches, and ideas, create lists, add voice or text attachments, and share your files with friends. You can also sync Remember The Milk with Evernote to better optimize your time.

                          Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

                          7. MindNode — Focus on Tasks at Hand With Mind Mapping

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                            Mind mapping is a great productivity technique, and Mindnode is one of the best free mind mapping apps available. It helps you to become more organized by focusing your thoughts – thereby gaining clarity on what needs to be done.

                            This app allows you to customize various visual tags and templates to suit your needs. You can also easily share your documents with others.

                            Available on iOS and Desktop

                            8. GoodSync – Back Up and Sync Your Files Effortlessly

                              This software allows you to back up, restore, and synchronize your files easily. It supports folders from a variety of locations, and it has filtering options that let you exclude subfolders from synchronizing.

                              This app also allows you to sync files to and from your phone. If you have never backed up your files before, you should definitely take a look at this tool.

                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                              9. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) – Manage Your To-Do Lists Effectively

                                Check this out if you find it difficult to manage all your tasks, work with your to-do lists, and organize your goals. This task management software helps you target what you should be focusing on to reach your objectives.

                                MyLifeOrganized is one of the best task management apps for focused work. It automatically generates to-do lists with priority actions for your immediate attention so that you can track your progress methodically.

                                Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                10. 1Password – Have All Your Passwords Remembered

                                  1Password allows you to keep all your passwords in one encrypted database – protected by one password. This saves you time when you forget your passwords and need to retrieve them. This also allows you to use various passwords for different accounts so you don’t compromise on security.

                                  Available iOS, Android, and Desktop

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                                  11. Pocket – Keep Your Eye on the Ball

                                    When you’re surfing the web, it’s easy to get distracted by enticing and fascinating websites. That’s why you need effective time management apps like Pocket. You can use this tool to save your ‘finds’ to access and read later on at a convenient time. This prevents you from getting distracted and negatively impacting your immediate work.

                                    Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                    12. Focus@Will – Boost Your Attention Span

                                      This amazing app combines neuroscience and music to boost your productivity. According to the developers, it’s possible to increase your attention span by up to 400% using Focus@Will, making this one of the best time management apps available.

                                      Focus@will is ideal for those who find it difficult to focus while studying, working, or reading. It also helps you control your ADD.

                                      Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                      13. Alfred – Interact With Your Computer in a Smart Way

                                        This small and simple tool allows you to launch your documents, project files, folders, and bookmarks with just a few keystrokes. This makes life so much easier as you don’t need to go through the start menu to access what you want. The only downside is that it’s only available for macOS.

                                        Available on desktop (macOS)

                                        14. Forest – Boost Your Focus by Growing a Forest

                                          Forest is a unique reinvention of time management apps. This unique and fun app helps you stay focused and on-track by making you focus on another thing.

                                          The concept is simple: whenever you want to focus, plant a virtual tree. If you stay focused, the tree will grow. If you lose focus, the tree will die. As the app’s name implies, you can grow multiple trees to create a virtual forest!

                                          Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop (Firefox Add-on)

                                          15. Trello – Track Your projects in a highly visual way

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                                            Trello is a hugely popular app that you may already be familiar with. It works by allowing you to create cards for tasks that you need to complete. Each card moves across the Trello board, which is typically broken into columns such as To Do, In Progress, and Completed. This serves as your cue to start working on and completing the associated tasks.

                                            Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                            16. Quire – Unfold Your Ideas

                                              Quire is an innovative time management app that helps boost your team’s productivity. The strength of this app lies in its features for collaboration and ease of sharing. You can streamline and adjust your workflow based on your team’s needs and preferences.

                                              Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                              17. TimeTree – Have a Shared Calendar With Your Family

                                                This TimeTree app allows families or teams to share multiple calendars and appointments with each other. So, whether you’re planning a party or running a local sports team, Time Tree can keep everyone up-to-date with all current and upcoming activities and events.

                                                Available on iOS and Android

                                                18. Todoist – Capture and Order All Your Tasks and Activities Easily

                                                  Todoist is close to being the ultimate digital to-do list and one of the best time management apps out there. It’s available via browser and app, and it lets you schedule all your tasks and activities. Each item can be flagged for priority as well as a given due date. There is also a neat option to add notes to any of your tasks.

                                                  Available on iOS, Android, and Desktop

                                                  Final Thoughts

                                                  The above list covers what we consider to be the very best time management apps and tools available. And the good news is that many of them are completely free of charge!

                                                  So, what are you waiting for? Select the ones that will be the most valuable to you, and begin boosting your productivity now!

                                                  More Productivity and Time Management Apps

                                                  Featured photo credit: freestocks via unsplash.com

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