Matthew Miller

A short course in Typography

Technical Tutorial Published 3/4/14 Last updated on 3/2/20

A poster I developed for my graphics design classes, summarizing what I felt were the essential elements of typography I wanted easily reference-able.
If you feel there is anything I've missed that's essential, please let me know about it for consideration for inclusion in version 2.

It may not be obvious from the thumbnail here, so I want to mention specifically that this is licensed CC-BY-SA, so feel free to use this in your courses, modify it, share it with others, and so on, subject only to the requirements to attribute me and share it in the same fashion (see the link if you're not sure what this means).

Age Levels
1-2 Hours

A poster I developed for my graphics design classes, summarizing what I felt were the essential elements of typography I wanted easily reference-able.  

If you feel there is anything I've missed that's essential, please let me know about it for consideration for inclusion in version 2.

It's not obvious in the thumbnail here, so I want to explicitly mention that this is licensed CC-BY-SA.

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5 / 5 • 40 Ratings

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Comments (77)

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Roana Marie Tapia

Posted on 7/2/20 4:38:58 AM Permalink

​very informative.

aziz cubuk

Posted on 6/26/20 7:47:03 PM Permalink

These are a hoot! thanks

Jeffrey Delfin

Posted on 6/22/20 2:17:06 PM Permalink

Very informative.​

Sheryline Bustarga

Posted on 6/21/20 1:14:31 AM Permalink

This resource is fantastic. Thanks for sharing.​

Matthew Eric Lit

Posted on 6/15/20 5:12:59 PM Permalink

Thanks for this great resource! I'm going to add this as content in my MGD124 course. The course is like skipping a stone across the Adobe pond. It and the online course shell in Canvas were provided to me last fall and is missing what I consider important content; the typography factor is completely missing. This is the perfect start for building a module for the fall session. Regards from Colorado...

Matthew Miller

Posted on 6/16/20 8:59:40 AM Permalink

Matthew Eric Lit

Posted on 6/16/20 4:00:06 PM Permalink

These are a hoot! I like providing my students with fun diversions and this one holds relevance!

Yung Ease

Posted on 6/15/20 5:28:33 AM Permalink

Wonderful content here you got. Don’t forget to get the latest house music

julian Elcock

Posted on 5/17/20 1:56:18 PM Permalink

​thank you, useful stuff.

Dilki Nimasha

Posted on 5/14/20 11:15:33 AM Permalink



Jon Taft

Posted on 4/28/20 4:43:46 PM Permalink

Great new episode in this round of the Neflix series ABSTRACT that follows a famous TYPOGRAPHY artist. AND teaches some typography principles. Find it. watch it. you will love it.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 4/29/20 6:46:46 AM Permalink

Thanks for the tip, Jon. I'll definitely add that to my to watch list!​

Peter Krizovensky

Posted on 4/23/20 6:11:38 PM Permalink

​Great post! Nice examples for placment, measures and sorts of types. Huge number of the information about typography. Excelent!


Posted on 4/14/20 3:00:30 PM Permalink

Matthew Eric Lit

Posted on 4/10/20 7:45:41 PM Permalink

Wow! One of my favorite courses in college and a love of mine in my design career. This is great for me and now for my students!

Steven D Bayless

Posted on 3/6/20 7:14:18 PM Permalink

This quickly and efficiently explained a lot about typography. Thanks!

TD Wright

Posted on 1/20/20 1:06:42 PM Permalink

Thanks for the share!

Christina Zientek

Posted on 1/9/20 6:02:54 PM Permalink

​I love posters!! This one is awesome!

Milind Dixit

Posted on 12/31/19 6:09:40 PM Permalink

Hi Thanks Its a useful information for beginners

Stoyanka Veselinova

Posted on 11/10/19 3:32:10 PM Permalink

Hot thanks for the professional work ! And for sharing :)

Rice Soup For The Soul

Posted on 10/27/19 11:53:52 AM Permalink

​Thank you!!

Denby Weller

Posted on 10/24/19 11:58:38 PM Permalink

​Matthew, this is fantastic, thanks for sharing! My video journalism students will love this guide – Typography is an essential element in news video, but it's rarely taught. Thank you!

Abdul Hadi

Posted on 10/16/19 6:34:11 AM Permalink

Typography is the foundation for graphic and text lay outing.

Lauren Petiti

Posted on 10/9/19 6:55:14 PM Permalink

​This is great! I don't touch too much on typography but the little bit I do I can tell can be confusing for students. Now that I have a visual I'm excited!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 10/12/19 2:39:59 PM Permalink

Thanks for the kind words, Lauren. I'm really glad you've found it helpful!​

Sara Cubberley

Posted on 9/21/19 11:02:44 PM Permalink

Good poster— great visual for student comprehension.

Alper Ciftci

Posted on 9/7/19 1:53:08 PM Permalink


Shafiq Rehman

Posted on 9/1/19 12:22:20 AM Permalink

Great Resource Thanks for Sharing

Lisa Klifunis

Posted on 8/12/19 4:27:07 AM Permalink

​A great resource for the basics of Typography, thank you!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 8/4/19 9:17:37 AM Permalink

​Kate, Caterina, I'm glad to hear it's a useful resource. Thanks for letting me know! If you encounter anything that would be beneficial to add to the next version, please leave a note.

Kate Jordahl, FHDA

Posted on 8/4/19 5:13:50 AM Permalink

Fun, effective and so so helpful. ​

Caterina Venier

Posted on 7/23/19 12:48:05 AM Permalink

​Thanks so much for the at a glance look at a Typography. I will definitely use this resource with my students.

Alexandra Smith

Posted on 6/10/19 4:48:13 PM Permalink

This is a really great resource!!​ There are a couple of design tweaks I would make, but the content is great! I will definitely be adapting this for my class!

Matthew Miller

Posted on 6/10/19 7:10:38 PM Permalink

Thanks for your kind words, Alexandra. Please post a copy of your adaptation, if you're comfortable with that (or send to me, if you'd rather - matthewm1970 at gmail dot com). I'd love to see how you'd tweak it!​

jyothika persadh

Posted on 5/22/19 9:43:00 PM Permalink

​So well explained, thank you for this

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/23/19 7:39:59 AM Permalink

You're quite welcome! Thanks for letting me know. ​

Kirk Fuller

Posted on 5/22/19 4:31:23 PM Permalink

​Nicely done! Thank you for sharing this valuable resource.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/23/19 7:39:23 AM Permalink

You're very welcome and thanks for your kind words! If you or your students have any questions not answered on the poster, or have suggestions for anything that should be added, please let me know.​

wendy norris

Posted on 5/22/19 3:50:03 PM Permalink

​Hi Matthew!

This is a great resources. Just a quick note for V2, em dashes should be used for quote attribution.


Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/22/19 7:59:28 PM Permalink

Oy! Em dashes, en dashes, hyphens - they could use a whole poster of their own! I tried to focus this poster on the use of font or typeface features overall, rather than the use of specific glyphs or characters.​ Maybe i need to add another poster to make it a series! Would you be interested in working on it with me?

Jeffrey Anderson

Posted on 5/22/19 3:31:59 PM Permalink

​Very nice resource! A suggestion for version 2: I often tell my students that when choosing a font for their projects that a good rule of thumb to follow is use sans-serif for anything primarily designed for a screen, and serif fonts primarily designed for print projects. I don't know what experience anyone else has experienced in their line of work, but as an instructional designer this is my professional approach and I try to convey that to my students if they have questions about what they want to do for their work.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/22/19 7:56:17 PM Permalink

Thanks for the comment, Jeffery. I have a similar preference, but when researching for this poster I found the studies that have been done have confirmed that this is a preference ​only. There aren't results that would confirm (nor deny) that this is more effective; it's simply what we like. So I discuss it .and have students experiment and think about it for themselves.

Jeffrey Anderson

Posted on 5/22/19 8:22:07 PM Permalink

​I'm curious as to what "studies" you have referenced. I totally agree it can be a preference but if one's goal is to increase readability and cognition on a computer screen then you should avoid something that's proven to get in the way of that process. In graduate school I was referred to this study:

But at the same time some of the published works out there produce funny results like this one:

Anyway, I'm not arguing the preference thing, but as long as it's a topic of discussion to go along with the poster it's something to think about if those in this community are adopting your poster for their educational resources.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/23/19 7:25:35 AM Permalink

Thanks for the follow-up, Jeffrey. I should have referenced my sources to begin with and appreciate you calling me out on it! There are fully scientific studies going back at least to the 1930s that show no effect between serif and sans-serif.

The most thorough recent study (ie: best controlled) I found when I investigated was Serifs and font legibility by Arditi and Cho in 2005, which found no measurable difference in legibility between no, small and significant serifs (0%, 5% and 10% of cap height) and controlled for all other factors of typeface design such as x-height, letter spacing, and so on. Many other factors, and specifically the two I mentioned, have been found to have quite measurable effects on legibility.

There is also this ​​meta-analysis">">​​meta-analysis by Alex Pool​ during the same year; it has a thorough bibliography, if students are interested in following this up. (Unfortunately, Alex has since removed this article, so this copy is from the Wayback machine.)

Stacy Hayes

Posted on 5/22/19 12:37:00 PM Permalink

​This is wonderful! Thank you for this wonderful resource! It's very well done.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/22/19 1:23:21 PM Permalink

Thank you for the kind words, and you're very welcome! Thanks also for the helpful redirect to Stephanie. (This is why I like the Adobe Forums - always finding cool stuff and helpful people here!)

Stephanie Cottrell

Posted on 5/22/19 12:05:48 PM Permalink

​Is there a way to download the poster in a larger size? When I try it's just a thumbnail and enlarging it makes the fonts grainy and illegible. And going to the CC-BY-SA site, I can't find the poster.

Stacy Hayes

Posted on 5/22/19 12:36:18 PM Permalink

Hi Stephanie,

Click on the down arrow next to the resources and it'll download as a PDF document.​

Stephanie Cottrell

Posted on 5/22/19 1:01:14 PM Permalink

Thank you Stacy! I totally scrolled right past that section!​

Neva Allen

Posted on 5/22/19 11:54:19 AM Permalink

​Always exciting to find new resources. Thank you.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/22/19 1:21:28 PM Permalink

You're very welcome!

Marcella Pieper

Posted on 5/22/19 11:54:11 AM Permalink

Thanks for the poster!​

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/22/19 1:21:21 PM Permalink

You're very welcome!​

Anne-Marie Perks

Posted on 5/22/19 11:49:27 AM Permalink

This is a great poster, very helpful! Thank you for sharing it, I'm using it with my students.​

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/22/19 1:21:11 PM Permalink

Glad to hear it, Anne-Marie. If you all look it over and think of anything you think should be added or changed to improve the information or usability​, please let me know!

agus rustanto

Posted on 5/11/19 12:18:18 PM Permalink

​Thank you.. very useful for my students

Ray Cooper

Posted on 5/3/19 11:39:27 PM Permalink

​Very helpful!

Carly Manhart

Posted on 4/2/19 7:06:04 AM Permalink

Great poster!​ Thanks for sharing!

Judy Durkin

Posted on 1/12/19 7:42:38 PM Permalink

Thank you for this - I will use it in my classes.​

Shannon Bourne

Posted on 10/23/18 2:17:38 AM Permalink

This will be a great resource for my Intro to Graphic Design courses. Thanks so much!​

Morgan Popple

Posted on 7/12/18 6:41:30 PM Permalink

​Thank you! It's great to have all of this information all in one place.

Cindy Kringelis

Posted on 5/2/18 4:25:42 PM Permalink

​Thanks, Matthew! Loved the advice about how to mix and match the font families.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 5/2/18 7:24:15 PM Permalink

Thank you, Cindy. I'm glad it's helpful! ​

Chris Huxley

Posted on 6/30/16 5:20:02 AM Permalink

Thank you for sharing this Matthew. It contains some important basics in a relatively small space - well done.

Jody Campbell

Posted on 8/28/14 2:21:06 PM Permalink

Awesome resource and I am stealing it!

It's a great intro to the basics! I was looking at it and thinking what could I offer without making it into more then a great intro. All I could come up with is adding "moveable type" where you explain where the term "leading" comes mention that is a throw back to adding metal strips between lines of type but it might be clearer if mentioned this was done back in the day of moveable type to adjust that spacing.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 8/29/14 5:11:41 PM Permalink

Steal away! I'm glad you find it useful. That's a good point about movable type - I'll add that to the next version. Thanks, Jody.

Andrew Kutchera

Posted on 8/10/14 5:50:49 PM Permalink

I love your poster! I think you've included all the basics, but I would probably also try to squeeze in something about caps, small caps and unicase (maybe near the kerning / 'love' section at the bottom?). Otherwise I think this is very succinct and communicates a lot of great information.

Matthew Miller

Posted on 8/10/14 6:02:12 PM Permalink

A nice idea. I'll look into how to incorporate that. (I had to google "unicase" as I am too anglo-centric to have run across that before; learning new things every day. ;-)

Thank you

Caitlyn VanderMaas

Posted on 4/9/14 7:55:24 PM Permalink

Very nice!! Thank you for sharing!!

Mike Skocko

Posted on 3/23/14 7:57:22 PM Permalink

How did I miss this?

Great resource, as usual, Matthew. Thanks!

Mary Codd

Posted on 3/22/14 9:34:34 PM Permalink

Thanks for creating and sharing this poster!

Radha Naganathan

Posted on 3/19/14 11:03:47 AM Permalink

Great resource for a teaching typesetting subject for Printing technologist students...

margaret campbell

Posted on 3/7/14 8:22:56 AM Permalink

great poster, thanks for sharing :)

James Buchholz

Posted on 3/6/14 5:55:24 PM Permalink

Very Nice! I would like to use this with my students is that ok?

Matthew Miller

Posted on 3/6/14 7:38:46 PM Permalink

Of course, James! That's why I posted it and marked it with a CC-BY-SA license. You're welcome to use it as much as you want. I'm glad you find it useful.

Clint Balsar

Posted on 3/5/14 3:27:57 AM Permalink

Thanks for sharing!

Erika Shorey

Posted on 3/5/14 1:32:11 AM Permalink

Great poster! Thanks for the posting.