50 top typography tutorials: Master the basics, improve your skills and more with these high-class typography tutorials.
The web is brimming with typography tutorials, but many are low quality and others are very out of date. So we’ve trawled the internet to uncover the diamonds in the rough, in the form of 50 top-quality typography tutorials, to bring your knowledge and skills up to speed.
Perhaps you’re looking for a good introduction to the fundamentals of typography? Or perhaps you want to develop and push your type abilities further? Either way, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for on this list, which includes typography lessons in the form of traditional text-and-image tutorials, animations and video, and even games.
We’ll be adding to this list as time moves on, so make sure you bookmark this page, and come back from time to time to see what’s new in the world of typography tutorials.
We’ll start by looking at tutorials to help you with mastering the fundamentals of typography – skip through to another page if you’re after something more advanced.
01. The ultimate guide to basic typography
If you’re just getting started with type then this guide to basic typography will set you on the right course by teaching you the essential terms, clarifying a few terms that tend to get misused, explaining different types of font files, figures and symbols, and even going through some useful typesetting terminology.
02. Typography basics explained
Not sure exactly what typography terms mean? This video gives you a short and snappy overview of the six most important terms, namely typography, body copy, display type, hierarchy, kerning and leading.
Six further terms (tracking, widows and orphans, serif fonts, sans-serif fonts and script & cursive fonts) are explained in part two, which you can watch here.
03. Beginning graphic design: typography
This quick cartoon video from Learn.org, complete with a jaunty elevator-music soundtrack, runs through the basics of typography including the different types of fonts and common typography terms. You’ll find the text version of the tutorial here.
04. Everything you need to learn typography basics
This introduction to typography starts from the point of view of a marketing professional, who recognises its importance in strengthening a brand and highlighting the central message of a campaign.
Author Brittany Leaning went on a typography course at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and here she explains the fundamentals of what she learned, including a detailed look at the anatomy of type.
05. Lecture 110: Introduction to typography
This video provides an academically rigorous overview of typography, including both a definition of terms and a practical guide to how to place text and create character and paragraph styles within Adobe InDesign CC.
It’s actually a straight recording of a university lecture (by Grant Adams at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California). So you’re best off skipping the first three minutes, where the remarks are purely focused on the students about to take the course.
06. A crash course in typography: The basics of type
It’s probably wise to get back to basics before you go running off into the typography sunset. Here, Cameron Chapman gives you the lowdown on everything from fonts to displays.
07. Paragraphs and special characters
In this typography tutorial, Cameron Chapman is back to tell you that yes, designing headers and titles may be more artistic, but the set body text is just as important. Discover why with this step-by-step guide.
08. Principles for combining typefaces
Combining typefaces can be dangerous business, especially if you mix two that certainly don’t belong together. Avoid any upset with this typography tutorial that shows you the importance of contrast and mood.
09. Pulling it together
Now you’ve got the basics down and you’ve dabbled in paragraphs and combining typefaces, take a look at how to pull it all together. In this typography tutorial, Cameron Chapman rounds it all up and shows you how to finish in style.
10. Typography terms every designer must know
Our article introduces the fundamental concepts and rules of typography, followed by a detailed illustrated glossary of its main terms. Learn about choosing a font, sizing, leading, tracking and kerning, measure, hierarchy and scale, and more.
11. How to work with type in InDesign
Art editor Jo Gulliver shows you some of her most valuable typographic tools in Adobe’s publishing software. Focusing mainly on the Character Formatting control panel, she explains how these options can be used on a day-to-day basis to help speed up your workflow in InDesign.
12. 10 rules to help you rule type
This three-and-a-half minute typography tutorial video introduces 10 golden rules to help you improve your type skills and improve your graphic design layouts. Yes, the same text could have just been written as a standard tutorial, but hey, this is just a little more fun.
13. How to format text in InDesign
Part one of this crash course looks at what typography is and how you can format your type using the Controls panel in InDesign. In part two, you can delve further into the world of typography with a look at four special typographic effects that can help your InDesign layouts stand out.
14. Match fonts from an image in Photoshop CC
One of the standout features of Photoshop CC is that it can automatically analyse, identify and match fonts pictured within a photo. It then gives you a list of similar fonts installed on your machine, as well as others to download on Typekit. This quick video shows you how it all works.
15. Best practices of combining typefaces
Combining different typefaces within your design is part art, part science. This Smashing Magazine tutorial by Douglas Bonneville explains some of the most important best practices to follow when mixing two or more fonts, as well as some common mistakes.
16. Typography manual critique
One of the best ways to improve your typography is to follow an in-depth critique of what other designers have done when it comes to their use of type. This analysis of the Futur Typography Manual with Molly Drill is full of amazing insights about what to do (and not to do) when it comes to print typography.
17. How to kern type
Kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between letters to achieve a visually pleasing result. One of the most important typography skills you need to learn, here Meryem Meg and Brian Hoff offer some pro advice about how to get it right.
18. Typography design & art direction
This video tutorial investigates a little-discussed but very important topic: how to approach art directing another designer when it comes to typography. The critique focuses around the launch of a new newspaper magazine focused on the business of design, and includes some fascinating insights into its layouts.
19. Art direction & typography part 2
The above video continues the lesson in typography and art direction begun previously, in discussion with graphic designer Minhye Cho. 50 top typography tutorials
20. Design a typographical poster in InDesign
This tutorial from Future Publishing art editor Jo Gulliver walks you through the process of creating a typographical poster using InDesign. She demonstrates how to apply a document grid, and how to create and edit the typography within it.
21. Photoshop tutorial: Create a text portrait poster
This Photoshop CC tutorial from Blue Lightning TV shows how to design and create a powerful text portrait poster. This 11-minute typography tutorial takes you through each operation simply and clearly.
22. 4 steps to using variable fonts
Variable fonts are the latest and greatest thing in web typography, enabling you to define all manner of type variations within a single font and saving you the performance hit of having to load multiple fonts. This tutorial takes you through the four steps to using variable fonts online.
23. Make interactive 3D typography effects
Here we’ll create a type effect that uses the shapes of letters as a mask to some fast, free-flowing particles trails that will dynamically swirl and move through the letters. Not only will there be this beautiful animation, but as this will be rendered onto the HTML5 canvas element, this will be transformed in 3D to rotate towards the mouse as it moves around the screen. This is perfect for site headers or just when you need to grab the user’s attention for a call to action.
24. Better web typography in 13 simple steps
Web typography means getting acquainted (or re-cquainted) with the rules of classic typesetting, but there’s more. With the web being a fluid and malleable medium, designers have to be able to predict the end result across different browsers and end users. This tutorial examines the basic dos and don’ts of typography, specifically applied to the web.
25. How web typography is just typography, sort of
Typography is often taught as a completely separate discipline from web design, but Amy Papaelias feels that’s a mistake. In this talk, part of TypeCooper West’s Letterform Lecture Series, she demystifies web typography and argues it should be seen as an integral to learning web design.
26. Improve web and mobile app typography
The short video lists five essential principles to improve the typographic quality of your web and mobile app. Paulo Stanley offers this practical guide to start you on the road to creating typography for screen design.
27. Improve web type with CSS font-size-adjust
Font-size-adjust in CSS lets you specify your font size based on the height of lowercase letters, and its use can make a big different to the legibility of your web text. This tutorial explains the thinking behind this property and how to use it in your projects.
50 top typography tutorials
28. The rules of responsive web typography
Responsive web typography is tricky, but it’s become the cornerstone of good web design, so you need to get it right. This tutorial provides the foundation from which to begin, and covers both the design principles behind responsive typography and practical solutions for it.
29. Master accessible web typography
The rise of responsive web design has made accessible type selection more important than ever if your web content is to be readability by the maximum number of people. Here, Fontsmith presents the results of its work with Mencap on accessible typefaces, and the new best practices that have emerged from it.
30. Fluid responsive typography with CSS poly fluid sizing
Fluid layouts are now an established part of web design practice, but fluid typography is still relatively new. This tutorial examines how to use established browser features, Sass and some simple algebra to create scalable, fluid type that works across multiple breakpoints and predefined font sizes.
50 top typography tutorials
31. Responsive font size and fluid typography with vh and vw units
Another tutorial on how to create fluid typography, this one is almost exactly one year older than the one above, but it’s still worth a read to help you get your head around this discipline within web typography.
32. Performance and web typography
One of the many things you have to consider when selecting and implementing your web fonts is the effect your choice will have on the performance of your site. This conference talk by Helen Holmes explains the best ways to can optimise your font files for the web.
33. How to create your own font
In this tutorial, Yulia Sokolova explains how she created her first font, from drawing the initial design to digitising it and then turning it into a useable font.
34. How to create your own font: 18 top tips
After many years as a graphic designer and type enthusiast, Jamie Clarke decided to try his hand at designing a typeface. In our tutorial he shares some of the insights and practical methods he learned to help you to make your own font.
35. Create your own 3D typeface
In another of our tutorials, Jamie Clarke talks through how he created 3D type family Rig Shaded; a layered or ‘chromatic’ typeface that allows you to choose your own style and colour combinations. He explains how he went about it, and shares a number of insights to help get you started making your own 3D type.
36. The rather difficult font game
This game takes you through a series of various fonts that you have to name from a choice of four. It may sound easy but it’s not. Play it on the desktop or on your iPhone.
37. How to design isometric typography
Isometric art has a very strict set of rules when it comes to what goes where. It’s pretty difficult to sit down and draw yourself, but when it comes to Photoshop, you can create a guide for anything. In this London-inspired image, we’re going to set out a perfect isometric grid before we build a city of letters, using the Pen tool, selections and layers in Photoshop.
38. How to create reflective typography in InDesign
Making typography appear as though it’s reflected in the surface it’s sitting on isn’t complicated. It is, however, a little more complex to make it look convincing within the environment that it’s placed in. In this tutorial we’ll run through how to use Adobe InDesign to quickly create an environment for your type to sit in that follows the basic rules of directional light.
39. Create a long shadow text effect in Photoshop
Photoshop CC includes the ability to add multiple instances of the same layer style to a single layer. This is especially helpful when it comes to create text effects. This tutorial shows you a quick way to add long shadows to your text while still retaining the ability to edit it quickly.
40. Create an editable retro text style in Illustrator
In this tutorial, Chris Spooner shows you how to create retro typography using the fills and strokes within Illustrator’s Appearance panel. These trendy letters have a faux 3D appearance and are fully editable.
50 top typography tutorials
41. Create a quick duotone text effect in Photoshop
This short, step-based Photoshop tutorial will teach you how to generate duotone text. Using a texture image, a gradient map, some adjustment layers and filters, you’ll learn how to create this trendy effect in five short steps.
42. Create a vintage film title text effect in Photoshop
This tutorial by Chris Spooner explains how to create typography inspired by the film title styles of old black-and-white movies. Using the 3D capabilities of Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC, he adds sophisticated lighting and shading to these retro letterforms.
43. Create gold 3D type in Illustrator
If you want to bling up your typography, follow this Adobe Illustrator tutorial by illustrator Karol Gadzala. Step by step, she explains how to extrude type in 3D, apply metallic materials to give it a golden sheen, and add gems, sparkles and gleams.
44. Create a Chrome text effect in Illustrator
Chrome text effects are the ’80s and ’90s style that time forgot. But these retro looks are now making a comeback. Follow this tutorial to learn how to produce a similar retro style metallic text effect in Adobe Illustrator.
45. Create custom type designs in Illustrator
This Adobe Illustrator tutorial demonstrates how to create a custom typography design. It looks like it’s been lettered by hand, but it’s actually created by customising ready-made fonts with clever OpenType features.
46. Three ways to add textures to type designs
Photoshop textures are a great way to mimic the aesthetics of old prints and handmade art and give your digital designs more of a tactile appearance. In this tutorial, Chris Spooner explains three ways you can distress your logos and text, each resulting in a slightly different appearance. 50 top typography tutorials
47. Create a blueprint text effect in Illustrator
Learn how to create a blueprint text effect in Adobe Illustrator. This tutorial shows you how to combine simple strokes, basic blending mode techniques and a variety of Transform effects to create this impressive look to your lettering. 50 top typography tutorials
48. Create a decorative drop cap in Illustrator
This tutorial walks you through the process of creating a decorative letter in Adobe Illustrator with a range of vector embellishments. The techniques you learn here can then be applied to all sorts of illustration projects in the future. 50 top typography tutorials
49. Create vector floral typography in Illustrator
Here Yulia Sokolova explains to create a floral typography composition in Adobe Illustrator. You’ll discover how to create your own custom vectors brushes and use various drawing tools of Adobe Illustrator to create flowers, leaves, and floral elements.
50. Create a text portrait effect in Photoshop
This tutorial demonstrates how to create cool portrait effect using a long passage of text that bends and deforms around the contours of the face. Known as a Calligram, this supercool effect is created using Photoshop’s Displace filter.