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How to use Typography AND Photography in Design

We all love good photography and we all love pretty type, but you can definitely have too much of a good thing. Here are some basic guidelines for designers to use when working with both typography and photography so that each piece remains effective without overcrowding the design and sending mixed messages.

Find Your Content

Most of the time, the written content of a piece is provided by the client. It is then your job as a designer to match the words to a typeface which carries the message effectively.

typography and photography example

Other times you may have more freedom around the wording. I am pretty lucky in that I started my freelance career as a copywriter so my grasp of the English language is pretty robust. If you are unsure of our wording, experiment with how it looks using typography and photography on the piece. Do you need all those words? Is the balance of the text working for you? What about if you adjust size and weight?

If you are providing the written content for a piece always, always, ALWAYS get the approval of your client before publishing. And get that approval in writing. Ironic? maybe. Necessary? Hell yes.

Think About Your Audience

When pairing typography and photography you need to think about the audience. In fact, in all element of design work you need to think about your audience! Who is the piece aimed at and what is the message you want your work to carry. What action do you want the viewer to take once they have seen your piece?

A heavy metal gig poster will carry a very different message to a magazine advert about adult only holidays for example.

typography and photography example
Unless we are talking about 7000 Tonnes of Metal Cruise obviously. Which goes to show there is a crossover for everything

Less is More

As covered in the Typography blogs, it is always a good idea for designers to stick to one to three fonts when working with text in a design. This helps tie the piece together and also prevents it from becoming overcrowded. This is especially relevant for pieces using typography and photography, as too many elements will compete for the viewers attention and the intended message will be lost.

photography and typography example text

Fight it Out

Remember, the more elements there are to a piece (graphics, typography and photography) the more difficult it is to see them all. Make sure you don’t overcrowd your piece and if you are using a lot, aim for a balanced composition so that each piece completes, not competes, with each other.

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