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“Design is 95% typography.”
“Typography is graphic design’s secret club.”
As a designer, you’ve heard quotes like these before and you fully realize the importance of good typography. 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 all of the complex typography rules and best practices you’ve learned over the years?
To deal with this issue in the past, I’ve always referenced a scattered mess of sources: a few go-to books on my bookshelf, a Google doc full of random typography tips I’ve learned, a massive collection of bookmarked articles and web resources, and finally, a mental list of type rules floating around inside my head. On every design project, I would browse through these sources and hope that I was remembering all the key tenets of creating beautiful and functional typography.
I would end up overlooking things that I had learned years ago (and instead focus on using pretty typefaces and colors). My typography suffered. This common problem is probably why the web is still plagued by poor type, even in the year 2017 when designers should know better.
What I really needed was a single, definitive resource that covered everything about typography—from punctuation rules to pairing typefaces. Something that I could quickly review against on every 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 handful of books already on my shelf. I took meticulous notes on every piece of practical advice I could find. As it’s not possible for printed books to keep up with the latest in web typography, 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 additional notes incorporating every tip and trick I’ve learned from reviewing hundreds of typographic designs on Typewolf over the past three years.
After weeks of organizing pages and pages of notes, I began the long process of consolidating everything into a single resource. I had originally planned on making this into an online course but I wanted something that could be easily referred back to later. I eventually came up with the concept of an interactive checklist where each checklist item could be expanded to reveal more in-depth details. This would allow the best of both worlds—expand all of the checklist items to read it straight through as a complete course on typography or collapse the items and check them off, only expanding when you need more details.
The end result is the Flawless Typography Checklist. Over a year in the making, it’s the biggest project I’ve ever worked on in my entire life. It consolidates absolutely everything there is to know about typography in one place. It’s the most comprehensive resource on typography available—online or in print. Read it straight through as a complete master course or use it as a tool on every design project to guarantee your typography will always be flawless.
If you are at all interested or concerned with typography, you need this: https://t.co/srITRV10fK Not cheap, but money well spent— erik spiekermann (@espiekermann) January 4, 2017
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.
I stare at type all day long working on my side project Typewolf. I’ve analyzed hundreds of sites, deconstructing what makes the typography effective (and ineffective). Additionally, I’ve been a professional designer for 15 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.
Much more than a year actually—just not all at once. Although I spent almost all of 2016 working on it (minus some time off for a new baby), I first started this project way back in 2014. This was right after Typewolf had begun to gain some real traction. I knew that if I wanted to keep Typewolf going then I would have to make the site financially viable considering the vast amount of time and money I was pouring into what was just a side project.
Monetizing with advertising didn’t seem like the right fit for Typewolf—I’m personally just not a fan of a publishing model that relies on ever intrusive ads that annoy readers. And back then the site traffic wasn’t enough to make any real money anyway (although now with one million pageviews a month, ads could probably bring in decent revenue). So rather than sell ads, I decided I would create and sell an educational product instead. My readers would learn more about typography, while I could make Typewolf sustainable—really a win-win situation. I began the initial research in between freelance projects in 2014 and then devoted much more time to the product in 2015 and 2016. I originally told my wife I’d have this launched before our first baby was born in January 2016, but it ended up taking an entire year longer than I planned.
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 there is 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.
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 product. It includes extensive information that I have not seen written about anywhere else—tips that I’ve learned from analyzing type on Typewolf over last three years as well as lessons I’ve learned from my 15 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.
Although many of the principles are timeless and can apply to any medium, the core focus is on designing for screens.
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.
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.
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.
After my initial research, I came up with 108 different checklist items. I then combined/grouped some of the items to make it an even 100.
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.
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.
Yes. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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.
My system is only set up to handle credit cards, however, if PayPal is your only option then you can send payment to email@example.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.
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.
I offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are unhappy for any reason.