Erica Roberts Human Resources
News & Work,

Meet: Erica Roberts

To get to know the people behind Look Listen, we’re breaking down our name to see what inspires and captivates our staff members in their free time.

Name: Erica Roberts

Title: Human Resources Director

Time with LL: 2 1/2 months

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

What are you looking at?

Tree-filled skies and beautiful, fluffy clouds

What are you listening to?

My “Jazz for Focusing” playlist, although that can quickly shift to anything, including Tobe Nwigwe radio, my mood mix (which has everything from old school hip-hop, to ’90s R&B, to reggae to Broadway musicals), or a Versuz playlist. It’s very mood-dependent!

Meet Kristi Rathbun Proofreader
News & Work,

Meet: Kristi Rathbun

To get to know the people behind Look Listen, we’re breaking down our name to see what inspires and captivates our staff members in their free time.

Name: Kristi Rathbun

Title: Proofreader

Time with LL: Coming up on 6 months!

Pronouns: She/her

What are you looking at?

I’m loving this YouTube channel called “Cinema Therapy.” It’s a channel where a family therapist and filmmaker break down iconic films while doling out great insights into the human psyche. I’m obsessed. I’m also reading. A lot. Several books, at the moment, but Jade City by Fonda Lee is the one keeping me reading at night when I should be sleeping…

What are you listening to?

It varies! Right now I’m in a real lo-fi kick, enjoying Theo Aabel, Casiio, and Kupla. Also loving the Arcane soundtrack!

Image of Ben Dunn taken with Zoom camera in his home office
News & Work,

Meet: Ben Dunn

To get to know the people behind Look Listen, we’re breaking down our name to see what inspires and captivates our staff members in their free time.

Name: Ben Dunn

Title: Web Developer

Time with LL: ~50 days

Pronouns: He/Him

What are you looking at?

Always something! I love to be looking at screens. Lately, on TV I’ve been watching Severance and the new season of Atlanta! On computer, I’m looking at either VSCode, Dead by Daylight or some extremely stupid Twitch streams. When I’m not looking at my beloved screens I like to look at alt-comics and zines! I’ve really been enjoying Nate Garcia’s work on his Alanzo Sneak comics, I just ordered some new issues of Ohio is for Sale from Jon Allen, and just finished Alex Graham’s Dog Biscuits, which was an ongoing story he updated daily with full page entries from the start of the pandemic in 2020 until early 2021! It’s a pretty amazing artistic feat, not to mention an interesting time capsule of a very crappy time in all of our lives! Fun!

What are you listening to?

When I’m working, I like to keep it simple and I tend to gravitate toward synthesizer music for coding. I like (for example) Mort Garson, Tedd Terje and CASIOPEA for that sort of thing. Off hours I listen to so many things. I’ll just name some random artists to illustrate that: Antonio Carlos Jobim, Steely Dan, Remi Wolf, Beach Bunny, Poppy, Polo & Pan, St. Vincent, Tchaikovsky, Yaeji… I’m all over the place. Oh and I like stupid podcasts with no educational value whatsoever like Your Kickstarter Sucks or Doughboys.

essentials of typography
Marketing 501,

The Essentials of Typography in Marketing

It’s no secret that we experience the world around us through letters and words. I mean, you’re reading and experiencing this blog post right now… through letters and words! Here at Look Listen, we like to think typography is just as important. What’s McDonald’s without its signature logo? So, let’s talk about the essentials of typography. We’ll cover a little history (talking to you, Gutenberg), along with the anatomy, personality, and future of typography as we know it.

A Brief History: Introduction to Typography

In the beginning (a.k.a in 1450), Johannes Gutenberg created the first movable type out of lead alloy that proved to be so effective, it’s still used to this day. For the first time in history, mass production of texts was possible thanks to the Gutenberg Press. This revolutionary invention launched the Printing Evolution.

Fun fact: the first book printed was the Bible. There are only 49 copies still in circulation, and they are subsequently known as the “Gutenberg Bibles.” 

Gutenberg bible stamp

Legibility Reigns 

If you’ve ever seen calligraphy from way back when, you’ll likely agree it’s unarguably beautiful. But, can you read any of it? If you’re like us, the answer is: not well. The first typefaces in Europe were modeled after the ornate style of writing used by scribes. At the time, most people (who could read) were used to reading this beautiful, complicated type. 

Example of ornate, European calligraphy typeface
Credit: Andrei Ermakov via Getty Images

This style of difficult-to-read-but-lovely-to-look-at-writing is now referred to as “Gothic.” A reaction to the Gothic typeface was the Garamond typeface, which was developed in the Renaissance period along with other Roman styles. These styles have thinner curves and serifs, resulting in a cleaner, more legible page. Eventually, these evolved into the serif typesets popular today in Western printings.

Examples of Garamond typeface

We have just one question: Are you a serif person or a sans-serif person?  

The Anatomy of Type: Terms, Classifications, and Properties

The only time you’ll hear us talking anatomy is when it comes to breaking down the body parts of letters. Believe it or not, all letterforms have specific terms used to describe their individual pieces that make up the whole.

From sans-serifs to serifs, they all have legs, arms, ears, shoulders, tails, spines, you name it!

Let’s break down the main pieces of typography you’ll most often hear referenced: 

A table containing examples of letter "body parts" including arm, bowl, ascender, stem, bar, shoulder, descender, and spine

While we’re at it, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of some of the most commonly used terms surrounding the anatomy of type. Check it out: 

X-Height: The x-height isn’t exactly a part, but rather a measurement. It measures the height of all lowercase letters that are part of the same typeface. It’s called x-height because the letter x of each typeface is what determines the measurement.

Cap Height: The cap height is a measurement of all capital letters in the same typeface. The most accurate measurement is found in flat-bottomed characters like the letter E.

Kerning: The space between individual letters. It’s used when you need to move only one letter because it is too far or too close to its companions.

Tracking: The proportional space between all the letters in a body of text. When you change the tracking, it helps fit more letters in a small space or spread out letters if they are too tight.

Example of tracking

Leading: The space between baselines. This means that when we manipulate the leading, we are changing the way a paragraph looks.

Example of leading

We Are Letters and Words: Type as Personality 

Words and letters are in practically everything around us. In our modern culture, people identify brands and products based on their carefully chosen typography. How typography is used and designed can evoke a mixed bag of feelings. It can be sleek and modern, dark and grungy, fun and playful, or old and classic! While a brand logo may not have any typography at all (think the unforgettable Nike swoosh), a wordmark is a text-based logo (think the stunning Coca-Cola red cursive letters).

What are some of your favorite brand wordmarks (other than the Look Listen wordmark, of course)?

Pretty much anyone in the world can recognize these iconic golden arches immediately!

The Future Of Type: Considering New Standards

As a marketing agency, Look Listen is no stranger to the ever-evolving, ever-changing landscape of our industry. We never want to stop learning, and we know standards and practices change in an instant. So, what are some current best practices for typography in relation to digital marketing? 

Best practices around web text often differ from printed text, and there’s a lot more to account for when it comes to rules around the web. Digital typography needs to…

  • Capture shorter attention spans
  • Remain readable
  • Adhere to accessibility standards
  • Stay compatible across multiple digital devices (from your big ole computer monitor to your small phone) 

Let’s talk typography hierarchy (say that five times fast) for web pages. Most web pages, especially text-heavy ones, break content into sections by topic. These sections are signified and labeled by headings. The order of text, from most prominent to least prominent, comprises the hierarchy of the page. Hierarchy is crucial for making pages easily navigable and digestible. Readers should be able to jump to whichever section is relevant to them by looking at headings alone. You can see this example that we broke down on the New York Times home page. 

How do you standardize text fonts? With so much information out there, is there a way to know? A common practice is to set all website text to a minimum and maximum size. You can (and should) increase and vary the size of your text to further assist readers and establish hierarchy, but don’t go overboard with massive fonts either!

Want to know our recommended font sizes for body copy? We’ve got you: 

Mobile font size: 12-16
Tablet font size: 15-19
Desktop font size: 16-20

Final Tip: If you are a brand or a company, find a font you will use across all integrated marketing. Along with your company font, design a logo that will resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impact. Typography is powerful!

We’re Here to Help

To ensure you’re using typography efficiently to propel your brand, contact us to get the conversation started.

Resources & Further Reading:

Thinking with Type – Ellen Lupton 

The Visual History of Type – Paul McNeil

The Anatomy of Type – Stephen Coles

On Web Typography – Jason Santa Maria

The Responsive Website Font Size Guidelines

Designing for Readability – A Guide to Web Typography

The Beginner’s Guide to Typography in Web Design

The Ultimate List of Web-Safe HTML and CSS Fonts