Typographers are graphic designers who specialize in the arrangement and selection of letters and words on a printed page. While a typographer could be used or consulted for the best word arrangement on an Internet website, this is usually handled a webpage designer, and typography is usually reserved for printed works like newspapers and magazines. A typographer should be well-versed in both general graphic design elements like shape, form, function, and color, as well as specific knowledge of fonts and type.
In many ways, modern typographers are direct descendants of typesetters, who worked with the first printing presses physically arranging the letters on the press to achieve the best possible layout on the printed page. Although typesetting is still used, it usually entails working with document creation and publishing software on a computer rather than moving letter blocks around on a large metal press. Typographers are still in charge of many of the same tasks, and they are usually the ones who make a printed page look the way it does, despite the fact that the tools and techniques have changed.
Understanding the spatial relationships between images and words on a page, as well as a thorough knowledge of different fonts and typefaces, are two of the most important and fundamental understandings for typographers. Whether it’s a page from a newspaper or a magazine, space is limited, and most publishers want to pack as much information as possible onto a single page. It is the responsibility of the typographers to ensure that information is conveyed on the page in a clear, understandable manner that maximizes the use of visual space.
In this process, the order in which words and images are presented is crucial. It’s critical for languages that read from left to right across a page to arrange the images and captions in a way that flows naturally and makes strong visual sense to the reader. The same issues arise in languages that are read from right to left. Typographers usually think about how a reader will approach a magazine or newspaper page, as well as how the eye will naturally move through the content and space.
Most typographers must also be familiar with and understand a wide range of typefaces and fonts. Different letter shapes and sizes can have a variety of effects on the reader. Strong, bold, or other commanding fonts can subconsciously instill trust and authority in a reader regarding the content on the page. The typographer is in charge of the words on the page visually making an impression on the reader before they are even read, and font and typeface selection can be crucial in this process.