To kick off our discussion about the importance of typography, let’s start at the beginning. In 1994, the new version of Windows came with a new font that would go down in infamy among typography nerds as the most hated typeface known to Western civilization: Comic Sans.
What’s wrong with Comic Sans, exactly? It’s easy to read, especially for kids with conditions like dyslexia. It’s homey and inviting. If used correctly, it tells the reader that they’re about to have fun at some awesome shindig (because hey, who needs a pesky serif? Certainly not all the people too busy having fun to add lines to the tops and bottoms of their letters).
As it turns out, the good people over at bancomicsans.com aren’t mad that it was invented, they’re just peeved that people keep using it in inappropriate situations.
Which brings me to my point: using the appropriate typeface for whatever project you’re doing is important, and not just to design nerds. Your kids are growing up in a time when written communication is more important than ever. In a world where potential employers will see your kid’s website long before they ever see their face, knowing how to use font correctly is kind of a big deal.
For all you graphic designers out there, I don’t need to tell how much fun it is to find the perfect font for your project. For the rest of you, it’s really not as boring as you think; you may even catch yourself having a little fun with your newly found font mastery.
So when it comes to teaching kids about the wide world of typography, where should you begin? One excellent resource is A Type Primer. Well suited for both the novice and advanced typographer, this book is the go-to text for Typography 101. To help engage kids in learning along with the text, go through the various activities with them from the accompanying website.
If you think a textbook may be a bit dry and dull for your younger kids, try something a little more upbeat and interactive like Hyperactivitypography from A to Z.
Another great book about design in general that emphasizes the importance of typeface is Design Dossier’s Graphic Design for Kids.
If you’d like to start younger kids on their way to a lifelong appreciation of printed text, grab them a typeface learning toy like the gorgeous Font Alphabet Puzzle from Etsy seller loodus (pictured in the header) or these fanciful heirloom-quality Bauhaus Blocks.
And of course, typography students must not forget to practice proper kerning. Practice the art of spacing with the fun and creative Kern Type, and then Google the word “kerning” and see what happens.