Flawless Typography Checklist

A typography master course that doubles as an interactive visual reference that helps you achieve flawless type on every design project

As a designer, you’ve probably read a book or two about typography and skimmed through hundreds of random online articles. Maybe you even took a class back in college. But how confident are you that you actually remember everything you’ve learned over the years?

To deal with this issue in the past, I’ve always referenced a scattered mess of different sources—a handful of trusty typography books sitting on my bookshelf, a Google doc full of notes I’ve written down, a massive collection of bookmarked blog posts and a mental list of typography tips floating around inside my head.

When working against a deadline on a design project, I would always struggle with recalling and sorting through this vast repository of knowledge. I would end up overlooking things that I had learned years ago and my typography suffered. This problem is extremely common—it’s why the web is still plagued by poor type, even in the year 2024 when designers should know better.

What I really needed was a single, definitive resource that covered everything about typography—from pairing typefaces to punctuation rules. Something that was always up-to-date and never went obsolete like a book. Something that I could quickly review against on every design project. Nothing like that existed, so I set out to create it…

I ordered a stack of typography books from Amazon and re-read the books I already owned. I took meticulous notes, writing down every piece of practical advice I could find. I hit up Google and did a search on everything related to setting type on screens. I added over two hundred articles to a spreadsheet and individually reviewed each one. I added in additional notes compiling every tip and trick I’ve learned from reviewing hundreds of designs on Typewolf over the past five years.

After weeks of organizing pages and pages of notes, I began the long process of consolidating everything into a single resource. Rather than build a traditional online course or an e-book, I came up with a concept that I had never seen done before—an interactive visual checklist delivered as a web app. This unique format allows the product to function as both an in-depth master course and as a quick reference tool. Expand the checklist items to go deep on a particular topic or collapse the items to skim through for a quick refresher.

The end result is the Flawless Typography Checklist. Over a year in the making, it consolidates absolutely everything you need to know about typography into a concise and digestible format. It covers typeface pairing, design and branding tips, body text best practices, legibility and readability, layout and hierarchy, punctuation rules, implementing OpenType features to get print-like typography on the web and much, much more. Read it straight through as a complete typography master course and then continue to use the checklist as a tool on every design project to ensure your typography will always be flawless.

Everything you need to know about typography organized into a concise and digestible format

  • Covers absolutely everything—typeface pairing, design and branding tips, body text best practices, legibility and readability, layout and hierarchy, punctuation rules, using OpenType and much, much more
  • Save hours of time—no need to pick up that dusty typography book sitting on your shelf or aimlessly search Google—everything you need is right at your fingertips in an easily accessible format

Learn from visual examples that show what to do (and what not to do)

  • If you are like most designers, then you learn best by looking at visual examples rather than reading dense theory—each typography principle includes a large illustration that clearly demonstrates the concept using before-and-after examples

Quickly absorb all of the practical advice extracted from eight typography books and over two hundred online articles

  • Includes every actionable tip distilled from eight of the most well-regarded books on typography
  • Printed books can’t keep up with the latest best practices in web typography, so this product also includes current information from over two hundred online articles (and will be continuously updated to make sure everything stays up-to-date)

Learn more than just the “rules” of typography—discover how to get truly gorgeous type

  • You can probably recognize a site that has nice typography, but you might not know exactly why—in the Design & Branding section, I deconstruct what makes type-driven designs effective
  • I’ve reviewed hundreds of typographic designs on Typewolf over the past five years—every tip and trick I’ve learned is collected here

Designed to be read straight through as a complete typography master course

  • My goal was to make this product more comprehensive than any college-level class on typography
  • This is the only educational resource on typography you will ever need—there is nothing out there that is more thorough and exhaustive, either online or in print

Use the checklist as a tool to ensure your typography is flawless on every design project

  • Check off items as you complete them—the percentage bar will tick up showing how close you are to achieving flawless typography
  • Expand checklist items for more in-depth details and to see visual examples demonstrating the principles
  • Collapse all the items to skim through the list as a quick refresher
  • Use the numbers on your keyboard to quickly navigate the checklist

Code snippets for properly implementing advanced OpenType features on the web

  • Includes comprehensive coverage on using cutting-edge OpenType features such as small caps, standard and discretionary ligatures, tabular figures, lining figures, oldstyle figures and swashes
  • Take advantage of modern browser support to get print-like typography on the web

Become a master at pairing typefaces

  • The Typeface Selection & Pairing section is the part of this product that I am the most proud of—I believe it is the clearest guide available about a topic that is massively misunderstood by most designers
  • Almost all typeface pairing guides that I’ve read are full of vague, ambiguous advice such as “seek out harmonious proportions”—I’ve put together a simple, straightforward system that anyone can use to find typefaces that pair well together
  • Includes a cheatsheet that shows exactly how to pair 180 of the most popular typefaces used by designers
  • The bundled Type Pairing Lookbooks include curated type palettes that you can steal for your own projects, whether you use Adobe Fonts (Typekit), Google Fonts, Monotype Library Subscription or indie foundries

Free lifetime updates

  • I will be actively updating and improving this product so it will always be the most up-to-date resource on typography available
  • I’ll be using this tool myself on every design project for years to come

A labor of love that was over a year in the making

  • Putting this together is the biggest project I’ve ever worked on in my entire life—it took over a year to complete with all the extensive research involved

Invest in your career as a designer and become a typography expert

  • Become the type expert on your design team who knows everything about typography—after reading, you’ll know more about typography than 99% of designers
  • Design skills are in high demand and with a mastery of typography you will be able to charge much more for your work
  • Integrate this tool into your workflow to ensure you will have flawless typography on every design project for years to come
  • The Flawless Typography Checklist is used by the internal design team of a large social media company, in the design curriculum of a major university and by designers all over the world

Jeremiah Shoaf

By Jeremiah Shoaf  ·  Last updated on January 2, 2024

What People Have Said

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How to set type is nine-tenths of what a designer needs to know, and you’ll find 100% of what you need to know about it in Jeremiah Shoaf’s Flawless Typography Checklist. In this elegant, streamlined setting—half master class, half interactive tool—Shoaf crystallizes the wisdom of nearly a dozen classic type books, along with hundreds of articles. Savor it as a tutorial, or keep it open on your desk as a cheat sheet. Don’t set type without it!
Jeffrey Zeldman Jeffrey Zeldman
Founder of studio.zeldman & A List Apart
One of the most comprehensive and comprehensible guides to typography I’ve ever seen. There’s valuable lessons in here for everyone who works with type.
Khoi Vinh Khoi Vinh
Principal Designer at Adobe

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Typography books

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this product better than a typography book?

I believe the Flawless Typography Checklist is better than a traditional typography book for several reasons:

  • The knowledge you gain from reading a book is only useful insofar as you can apply that knowledge when you need it. In the midst of a design project, you probably aren’t flipping through a stack of books. You are more likely attempting to recall information directly from your head as you work. And unless you have a perfect memory, you are forgetting a ton of what you’ve read in the past. With the Flawless Typography Checklist, everything is available in a concise format on a single page. You can quickly jump through the content using the numbers on your keyboard, checking off and collapsing sections as needed. It’s a tool that you can use while you are working to ensure that you are directly applying everything you’ve learned.
  • This product is much more comprehensive than any one book, as it covers all aspects of typography from technical topics like responsive design to less technical topics such as using color effectively.
  • It focuses on the design and branding aspect of typography more than any other book I’ve read. Everything is approached from the perspective of a professional designer with a focus on real-world design examples rather than theory.
  • The illustrations are a much larger size than what you will find in books, which are confined to fitting small images on a single page.
  • Books eventually become obsolete, particularly when dealing with topics related to technology. Rather than reprinting a book, I can push updates to a server with a single click. This ensures that you will always have the latest information at your fingertips. Typewolf has been updated daily since 2013 and I work on the site full-time, so I’m fully committed to making sure all my products stay up-to-date.
  • Other obvious benefits that come from the digital format like using cmd + f  to search, clicking on links to navigate, accessing the content from any device or location and the ability to copy and paste code snippets rather than transcribing by hand.

Is this product a typography course or just a simple checklist?

The Flawless Typography Checklist is an interactive visual checklist that is organized to be read straight through as a complete master course on typography. Each of the one hundred checklist items includes a detailed description, a visual example demonstrating the principle and additional tips (and often a relevant quote from a typography book).

The checklist items can be collapsed after reading so it functions more as a typographic tool that you can use on every design project to ensure your typography is always flawless. A friend described the product as “100 visually-enhanced mini-essays on typography” which may be a more fitting description than checklist.

Who uses the Flawless Typography Checklist?

It’s used by the internal design team of a large social media company and in the design curriculum of a major university. Designers from all over the world have used the Flawless Typography Checklist to take their typography skills to the next level.

Why should I trust you?

I stare at type all day long working on Typewolf. I’ve analyzed hundreds of sites, deconstructing what makes the typography effective (and ineffective). Additionally, I’ve been a professional designer for 20 years, working with some of the top agencies in the world like AKQA and SapientNitro, and with brands such as Discovery Channel and Pepsi. I’ve written for A List Apart, Offscreen, Communication Arts, net and Smashing Magazine. Typography is my passion and I’m constantly striving to read and learn more every single day.

I’m a total beginner when it comes to typography. Is this product right for me?

I created it assuming an understanding of basic typography terminology—I don’t waste time explaining the difference between a serif and a sans-serif typeface, for instance. It also assumes a basic understanding of the web (you should know what HTML and CSS are). That being said, my goal was to be 100% comprehensive and cover absolutely everything you need to know about typography, from beginner topics that everyone should already know, to advanced topics that I wasn’t aware of until I did the research to write this.

I’m already an expert in typography. Will I learn anything new from this?

Before creating this product, I had thought of myself as fairly knowledgeable on all things typography. However, after doing the research for this (reading and re-reading eight typography books and over two hundred online articles), I discovered that I really didn’t know as much about typography as I had previously thought. I’m confident that even the most hardcore type geeks will still learn quite a bit from this.

The product includes extensive information that I have not seen written about anywhere else—tips that I’ve learned from analyzing type on Typewolf over the past five years as well as lessons I’ve learned from my 20 years of experience as a professional designer. The Typeface Selection & Pairing section outlines a unique and innovative system for pairing typefaces that you won’t find in any book or online article. For what it’s worth, someone told me that they’ve read 10+ books on typography and still found this full of useful tips.

What if I’m too busy to go through the course?

This product was created specifically for designers who are too busy to take traditional courses. I don’t begin with Gutenberg and proceed through 500 years of type history. I don’t ramble on about the importance of our craft—you already know that design is 95% typography. There are no videos to sit through and there aren’t hundreds of pages of text you have to read. The focus is entirely on actionable tips that will make you a better designer.

Most of the illustrations follow a before-and-after format, visually demonstrating how to improve your typography. The unique format of the checklist allows you to skim through the items as a quick reference and then expand the items to dig deep when needed. You can integrate the checklist into your workflow and use it to save hours of time on every design project for years to come, all the while resting assured that your typography will always be flawless.

Why is this so expensive? I can’t afford this.

The target audience for the Flawless Typography Checklist is professional designers. Professional designers readily invest in tools that save them time and improve their craft. I personally spend a lot on high-quality products that improve my design work—the Domaine type family I use on Typewolf cost me $1650 and my iMac is worth more than my car. Design skills are in high demand and with a mastery of typography you will be able to charge much more for your work.

For a student or hobbyist, I can understand why the price may seem expensive, especially if you are comparing it to a simple e-book. But if you view the product as a complete typography course that doubles as an always-up-to-date interactive tool that you will use for years to come, then I think the value becomes much more apparent.

I spent over a year creating this with the majority of that time being spent on research—I really believe it is the most exhaustive resource on typography ever put together. Lifetime updates are included for free, so it’s the last typography resource you will ever need to purchase. Customers regularly tell me that the product is worth every penny.

Can I get my employer to pay for this?

Yes—many customers have gone this route. Most employers will readily invest in the education of their employees and with a mastery of typography you will become much more valuable to your company. Here is an email script you can use to ask your boss. If you are a freelancer, work-related educational expenses are usually a tax write-off.

Does the product focus on web or print design?

Although many of the principles are timeless and can apply to any medium, the core focus is on designing for screens.

Does the product cover responsive design?

Yes, although I feel like the term responsive design is no longer needed when it comes to designing for screens. It should be implied that all modern designs will function seamlessly (and beautifully) across a wide variety of different device sizes. Everything in this product is approached with that perspective in mind.

Can I print out the checklist?

I wouldn’t recommend printing out the checklist. It would use 150 sheets of paper and a lot of the full-size images would be cut off. The interactive functionality would also be lost. If you would like to read it away from your computer, it reads very nicely on a phone or tablet.

How do I navigate through the massive amount of content in the checklist?

  • Click the check all/uncheck all  buttons in the table of contents at the top to quickly collapse or expand all items.
  • Click the section titles to collapse or expand all items within that section.
  • Click the individual checklist items to collapse or expand the content within that item.
  • Press 1–6 on your keyboard to jump between sections.
  • Press 0 to jump to the top, 7 to jump to the bottom and 8 to jump to the table of contents.
  • On touch devices, tap the percentage bar to jump to the table of contents which can be used as navigation.

Will the checklist remember which items I have checked?

The checklist sets a cookie to remember which items you have checked. You can exit your browser and the checked items will be saved, however, if you access the checklist from a different browser, the checked items will not be remembered.

Does every design project need to reach 100% on the checklist?

No, of course not. Every design project is different and not every checklist item will be relevant to every single project. And it’s fine to break the “rules” of typography when you have a good reason for doing so. The important thing is to make sure you understand each checklist item before checking it off or skipping it altogether.

Can the checklist be used offline? Do I need an internet connection?

The product is delivered as a single-page web app. Once the page is downloaded, no further HTTP requests are made. The content will be cached in your web browser, so you should be able to read and check off items without an active internet connection.

Will this product be updated? Do I get free access to all the updates?

Yes and yes. I will be continuously improving this product as well as making sure the included CSS snippets are always the latest and most up-to-date versions available on the web.

How do I access the product?

Visit this page for help.

Can I share my login info with other people?

No. Each purchase allows for a single user to log in and access the product. Sharing your login info may result in deletion of your account. You will need to purchase additional copies for each person who needs to access the checklist.

Do you offer volume licensing for design teams and educators?

Yes. Please contact me at jeremiah@typewolf.com for more details.

How does purchasing work? Is it secure?

Payment is made securely over SSL/HTTPS using any major credit card. The checkout process is handled by the awesome folks over at Memberful and the payment processing is through Stripe. Please do not close the window as the payment is being processed—it can sometimes take upwards of 10 seconds to go through. Typewolf does not have access to and does not store any credit card data (neither does Memberful).

After purchasing, you will be automatically logged in and redirected to the Flawless Typography Checklist. You will receive an invoice receipt email and an additional email containing instructions on accessing the product. The entire checkout process takes roughly 20–30 seconds. Visit this page for more details.

Do you accept PayPal?

My system is only set up to handle credit cards, however, if PayPal is your only option then you can send payment to jeremiah@typewolf.com. Be sure to send me an additional email letting me know what email address you would like to use for your account login. I will have to manually set up the account for you, so it won’t be instant access. Usually, I can do it the same day, however, if I am traveling it could potentially take longer.

Can I pay with Bitcoin?

Yes! Please contact me at jeremiah@typewolf.com for more details.

Are there any recurring charges for this product?

No. It’s just a one-time purchase. There are no recurring charges. Lifetime updates are included for free—just log in to your account and you will have access to the latest version.

What if I’m not happy with the product?

Throughout my freelance design career, my objective has always been to under-promise and over-deliver. I have taken that same approach with this product. The sales page is full of unsolicited tweets and emails from real customers who love the checklist. I really believe it is an awesome tool. If you are on the fence, then take a chance—I offer a no-questions-asked/no-drama money-back guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t completely happy with your purchase.