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The role of type in graphic design

The role of type in graphic design

According to Wikipedia, graphic design is the process of visual communication and problem-solving using one or more of typography, photography, and illustration. This broad definition reveals the general importance of type in graphic design. It’s one of its essential elements. My professional experience so far just confirms that.

Broadly speaking, I perceive graphic design as a translation of language into form, and type as such is the primary cultural mechanism to make that a reality, used both by graphic designers and population in general. In that way, I find it to be more than an equal associate of photography and illustration. It is the primary tool of graphic design.

With the magnitude of its importance, comes an equal level of responsibility. As visual communicators, we need to foster a deep understanding of the discipline, learn from its tradition, play with its rules and contribute to its development, while being aware that we are merely standing on the shoulders of giants, so humility and respect are paramount.


I wrote this short reflection on type for Typothon, a knowledge platform for type design and typography. I’m sharing it here as a simple three-part series. This is part one.

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