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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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              Published on November 9, 2018

              How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

              How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

              Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

              Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

              So, are you ready? Here we begin.

              6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

              When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

              1. Spreadsheets and Databases

              Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

              To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

              In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

              • Microsoft Excel
              • Microsoft Access
              • Statistics
              • Data Analytics
              • Adobe Campaign
              • Quickbooks
              • XML Database management system
              • Filemaker Pro
              • MATLAB
              • Hive
              • FORTRAN
              • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
              • SAS

              2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

              Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

              Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

              • Content Management System (CMS)
              • Google Analytics
              • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
              • Email Marketing
              • Web Page Design
              • WordPress
              • Digital Media
              • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
              • Campaign Management Software

              3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

              A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

              • Adobe Photoshop
              • Adobe InDesign
              • Adobe Illustrator
              • AutoCAD
              • CorelDRAW
              • Microsoft Visual Studio
              • Maya
              • Microsoft Word
              • Microsoft Publisher
              • Operating Digital Cameras

              4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

              The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

              To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

              • HTML
              • C/C++
              • Java
              • Python
              • XML
              • UI/UX
              • LINUX
              • CISC and RISC architecture
              • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
              • Memory Management
              • PCB Layout
              • SQL

              5. IT Troubleshooting

              Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

              So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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              • Backup management
              • Diagnostics
              • End User support
              • Client-Server management
              • Installation and configuration
              • Issue tracking system (ITS)
              • System administration
              • Tech support

              6. Enterprise Systems

              Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

              Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

              The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

              Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

              Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

              Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

              1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

              a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

              Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

              Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

              b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

              This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

              c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

              Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

              Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

              2. Rule the Social Media World

              a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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              Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

              From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

              b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

              This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

              c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

              Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

              Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

              3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

              a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

              From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

              b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

              Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

              The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

              c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

              The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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              4. Live and Breathe Creativity

              a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

              It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

              From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

              b. Canva Design School

              From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

              c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

              62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

              d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

              The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

              Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

              5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

              a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

              IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

              It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

              b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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              The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

              Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

              The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

              • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
              • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
              • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
              • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
              • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
              • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
              • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

              Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

              Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

              1. Practice, Practice, Practice

              It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

              Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

              2. Work on Your Efficiency

              Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

              For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

              3. Look for Shortcuts

              Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

              4. Apply for an Internship

              Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

              By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

              How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

              The Bottom Line

              Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

              So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

              Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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