February 2014

Like most designers, I love type.  And with such wide access to fonts, I think it is important for every professional to have at least a basic understanding of type, fonts and styles.

First off, we need to talk about the difference between a font and a typeface.  The FontFeed does a good job of differentiating by saying that a font is the collection of letters, numbers and symbols, while a typeface is the design or the way it looks.

There are many typefaces to choose from, and every typeface will give your project a different look.  The most common terms you will encounter when choosing a typeface is serif versus sans serif.

A serif typeface is a typeface that has a line at the ends of the character.  Two common categories of serif are bracketed serif (typefaces with curved brackets as lines) and slab serifs (serifs with block lines as lines). A serif typeface would be a typeface like Times New Roman or Rockwell.  Serif fonts are easiest to read in print.

A sans serif typeface is a typeface without serifs, or without lines at the end.  Sans serif typefaces are often considered very modern looking, and are the easiest to read on screen.  Some common sans serif typefaces are Helvetica and Arial.

In addition to serif and sans serif, typefaces can also be categorized as display.  A display typeface is a typeface that is meant to be used scarcely, as a headline or call-out.  Often display typefaces are intricate and decorative.  An example of this would be Bauhaus or Broadway.  These typefaces would be difficult to read if set as an entire paragraph.

You will often hear designers referencing kerning.  Kerning is the space between letters.  If poorly kerned, letters can either blend together or cause awkward links between parts of the word.  To test your kerning skills, try the Kerning game.  Bad kerning is often most easily spotted in all-caps or in large headlines.

When mixing typefaces, it is often recommended to choose a serif and sans serif pair – one as a heading font, and one as a body copy font. When choosing, you should keep in mind the proportions, weight and feel of the typefaces.  H&FJ has some nice examples of this on their site.  You will see they often choose a serif, sans serif and a display typeface.

I hope this short introduction will help you when speaking with designers at your office.

Pinterest is one of the newer social media platforms, which took the world by force.  On Pinterest, you upload or “pin” products from a website to a board that belongs to your profile.  Pinterest is especially popular with weddings and foodies, but has become successful in promotion for a range of businesses.

Getting Started

To get started, you need to set up a profile with a picture.  The image is 165px by 165px, but any square image larger will work and resize to fit the box.

Boards

After you have a profile, you can set up names of boards.  You  may have one for your products – for example as a designer, I might have one for my design work – but don’t stop there.  One of the keys to Pinterest is that you can have related boards.  Maybe my design profile would have a “typography” board or a “book cover” board with inspirational pins.  By pinning related topics, you will attract others who have similar interests, and can position yourself as an expert.  Ideally, you want to have a mix of original content, as well as content shared by others.

Content

When posting original content, you should make sure that it links back to your business site, or to the product page.  This is a good way to increase traffic, as every image increases click through traffic.

When pinning content from others, be aware of the site that it came from.  Some pins click through to a dead end.  This can be frustrating to the user.  It is said up to 80% of pins are repins, so take advantage of the already related content to increase your followers.

Pinterest has recently started sending emails to users when prices drop on products they have pinned.  If you have a web shop, posting products can be a great promotional tool, as in times of sale, users will get a reminder.

Using Pinterest on your Website

In addition to pinning yourself, you can add a “Pin It!” button on your site so people can easily pin your content.  This means they will be pinning to their own boards, not to yours.  It is a good way to get exposure.  You can keep track of who is pinning by using Pinterest Analytics for Business.

I hope that this will help you get started with the basics of Pinterest for your business.  Have any other tips?  Comment below!