82 top-quality typography tutorials
Whether you’re a creative director, illustrator or web developer – whatever your discipline, typography is an essential part of design. There are hundreds of paid-for and free fonts available these days, but when it comes to the art of type, you can never stop learning about it or improving your typography skills.
To help you out, we’ve gathered together the most amazing typography tutorials from around the web, which are bound to help you raise your type skills to the next level.
In this post, you’ll find typography tutorials in the following areas:
- The basics and advanced typography skills (1-11)
- Web typography skills (12-16)
- Typography in Illustrator (17-23)
- Adding colour to your type (24-28)
- Learn type through games (29-31)
- 3D text effects (32-38)
- Fire up your type (39-41)
- Snow and ice effects (42-44)
- Make your type metallic (45-49)
- Eye-catching type effects (50-58)
- Design your own type (59-65)
- Make a typography poster (66-68)
- Illustrative typography (69-82)
Let’s get started!
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.
In this typography tutorial, Cameron Chapman tells 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.
Combining typefaces can be dangerous business, especially if you mix two thatcertainly don’t belong together. Avoid any upset with this typography tutorial that shows you the importance of contrast and mood.
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.
This article introduces the fundamental concepts of typography, followed by a detailed glossary of its main terms.
Advanced typography skills
Find out why a well-planned grid is key to creating a good typographical layout that is clean, consistent and easy to navigate.
Type classification, while helpful, is often convoluted, confusing and even controversial. Joseph Alessio gets to the bottom of what commonly used type terminology actually means.
In this typography tutorial, C Knight and J Glaser look at how frequently type needs to be broken down into different levels, such as topic, importance and tone of voice, and explore how this can be achieved visually.
Focusing mainly on the Character Formatting control panel, Jo Gulliver shows you how these options can be used on a day-to-day basis to help speed up your workflow in InDesign.
Usually present in wood engraving and sing lettering, line gradients are often shunned when it comes to a more basic design. Throw caution to the wind with this typography tutorial, showcasing how you can get that vintage feel with line gradients.
Jon Black offers an insight into the murky world of OpenType. In this typography tutorial, he’ll de-code all you’ve ever needed to know about this cross-platform type format. Don’t worry, you’ll be an expert by the end of it.
Web typography skills
Generative typography has become a popular field for graphic experiments. Here Andreas Koller explains how to use algorithms to manipulate glyph shapes for text visualisation and abstract font faces.
Web typography has come a long way in the past couple of years and you may be feeling a little lost. Graphic designer, writer and publisher John Boardley sets the record straight with this easy to follow guide.
After you’ve taken a look at John Boardley’s guide to web typography, this tutorial from Robert Bowen will show you how to take that new-found knowledge and use it effectively. You’ve no excuses now!
If you’re using Google Web Fonts on your websites, then there’s a very good chance that 1 in 5 visitors are seeing faux bold and italic versions of your fonts – even if you correctly selected and used all of the weights and styles. Laura Franz explains how to solve this issue.
Nathan Ford focuses mostly on a few simple macrotypographic techniques, with a dash of micro, and explains how to combine them all to build a more harmonious, adaptable and, most importantly, readable web page.
Typography in Illustrator
This tutorial demonstrates how to use simple Illustrator tools to create a trendy logo. The process is quite simple and can be applied to all sorts of logos and illustrations for your future projects.
This tutorial shows you how to create a text effect using the Blend Tool in Illustrator and then se Photoshop for some final retouches to make the effect more subtle. The technique is very simple and it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to achieve the same effect.
Typographic elements are ideal to create in vector form as you can scale and copy them as you like and change the colors to suit your designs. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use various shapes and gradient effects to create an airport timetable text effect that’s perfect for websites, poster designs or even logos.
This tutorial demonstrates how to create a stitched label, as well as editing the text and apply the treatment to other fonts and vector elements.
You’ll start in Illustrator in this tutorial to modifying the original font, then switch to Photoshop in order to play with textures and layer styles. You’ll also deal with selection tools and simple methods to create 3D illusions in Photoshop.
In this Illustrator tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a bending 3D text effect that will make any design stand out. In addition to using the 3D tools, you’ll layer letter shapes to create color shifts with gradients and highlights. You’ll also work in subtle patterns controlled with Opacity Masks.
Alex Gill shows you how to combine Illustrator’s 3D capabilities with Photoshop work. This tutorial also covers the best way to manage your layers and how to add subtle lighting techniques to your type.
Add some colour to your typography
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to mix vector elements and watercolour effects with text to create a stunning design. It’s a quick process that depends heavily on good choices of images and colours.
The best typography tutorials push the envelope and challenge the way you view design. Mateusz Sypien explains how to mix 3D and 2D for some simple, yet stunning text effects.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to bring a simple text to life and place everything in fantastic, coloured and glowing 3D space.
This is aimed at typography beginners and shows you how to create a legitimate spray paint effect that could come in handy for wallpapers. The techniques used are simple, so you’ll have no problems here!
Sometimes it’s the little touch ups that bring out the very best in your creative work. In this tutorial, you will learn to create a contrasting colour reflection which is not only elegant, but simply demanding.
Learn typography through games
29. I shot the Serif
Learn typography through gaming! The aim of this awesome game from To The Point is to shoot only the serif fonts in the available time. Complete all the stages at ‘Director Level’ to beat the game. Good luck!
This game takes you through a series of various fonts which you have to name from a choice of four. It may sound easy but it’s not!
Do you know your Arial from your Helvetica? Test your type knowledge with this challenging game sponsored by MyFonts.com, that’ll probably show you that you don’t know half as much typography as you thought you did.
3D text effects
Colorful gradients, lens flares, and textures are essential elements to any 1980′s inspired artwork. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use Photoshop’s 3D tools to create a 1980s inspired text effect.
This tutorial will explain how to use the Opacity texture map to create a ribbon-wrapped 3D text effect in Photoshop CS5 environment. Then, it will explain how to create the confetti brush and its layer styles.
Mark Mayers indulges his sweet tooth, in this cute typography tutorial. Here, he’ll show you how to use Photoshop CS6 Extended’s new 3D tools to create your desired effect. You’ll be using lots of free stock imagery and other Photoshop features.
Isometric-based letters are the perfect way to reflect structure in a display typeface, as Steven Bonner discovered with a commission for a magazine feature on contemporary architecture.
Alex Varanese builds a deconstructed urban environment composed of 3D and typography. Like many of the typography tutorials here, the results can be stunning. Armed with this knowledge, what will you be able to create?
This tutorial will show you how to create 3D type in Photoshop, using a PS action in one of the steps, just to simplify the process. Let us know if it actually does!
Great-looking 3D typography often involves the use of several applications. In this tutorial, find out how to create a vintage lightbulb sign using Adobe Illustrator to create and export the basic paths, Cinema 4D to create the 3D render, and Photoshop for post-production.
Fire up your typography
Here’s a different approach to creating a firey text effect. This is an intermediate level tutorial so some steps can be tricky!
Flames are particularly hard to render in Photoshop, but in this tutorial you’ll learn how to use a photograph of fire to set text to the match.
Want to create type in 10 minutes? Head this way! Here, you’ll learn how to create a smoke typography effect playing with some brushes and adjustment layers.
Snow and ice effects
This tutorial explains how to create a frosting-ice text effect, using a couple of Layer Styles and a simple brush. It will also show you how to modify some settings to adjust the final outcome.
43. Ice text effects
Here you’ll practise a dozen methods of how to archive a frozen look on a desired text in Photoshop. One of the most helpful icy typography tutorials we’ve come across!
Perfect for Christmas cards and winter themes, this snow globe effect will certainly make you stand out. This tutorial explains how to create it using a couple of brushes and layer styles.
Make your type metallic
3D software offers great opportunities to create some truly unique typography. In this tutorial, discover how to create a big, bold, attention-grabbing title.
Get an effect close to real thing with this eroded metal text tutorial. Throughout this tutorial you’ll make use of various drawing techniques, channels, and patterns.
If you don’t have a particular programme for 3D typography, never fear! This handy tutorial creates 3D effects using Photoshop and a splash of creativity.
In this tutorial you’ll will learn how to combine Cinema 4D and Photoshop to create metal textured 3D typography that includes ornate and decorative swirls. Nice!
Follow this step by step tutorial to create a realistic pewter style metal text effect in Photoshop. The best part is it’s really easy! Just a couple of Photoshop layer styles is all it takes.
Eye-catching type effects
This typography tutorial is brought to you by design blog Abduzeedo. Here, they’ll show you how to use Photoshop and Illustrator to create a milky splash effect.
In this tutorial, you’ll discover how to give your typography a suspended effect, with a few simple steps. A quirky way to improve your text creativity!
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to scan a text graphic and use its shape to create unique effects with ActionScript.
Text carving on wood is a brilliant typography technique that is perfect for projects such as invitations and brochures. There’s a few tricks to learn along the way so pay attention!
Here Steven Bonner show you how to take a solid object and melt it into liquid using Illustrator, Photoshop and a combination of filters and hand painting.
The overriding theme of the typography tutorials here is one of experimentation. Who says type has to be plain to be bold? Tom Lane demonstrates how to draw on pattern work to add intricate detail to your type designs.
In this tutorial, Jessica Walsh explains how she created her ‘Prosperity’ typography out of geometric shapes, gradients, lines and a few useful Adobe Illustrator effects.
Embrace the frilly side of life with this tutorial from Abduzeedo. Gaining inspiration from a design by Ginger Monkey Design, they’ll show you how to achieve a similar style, by mixing various vectors.
Another easy yet effective way to create realist text effects; this tutorial deals with the idea of fashioning plain text into something more.
Design your own type
Jamie Clarke shares his process behind diving in and and make your own font.
This excellent example of our best typography tutorials guides you through the process of creating a detailed and eye-catching font from your vector creations. And without sacrificing quality.
Starting from the all-important concept sketches, Computer Arts guides you through the process of fine-tuning ideas into fully defined letterforms. Then, use Illustrator to transform your glyphs from geometric shapes into a final headline type.
Sorin Bechira shows you how to create an illustration from type. See how he uses the Liquify tool to do this and how you can combine stock imagery with custom marks for some eye-catching results.
You may think that the blend tool is only reserved for very special occasions. The reality is, is that it can be used on a regular basis to create striking typography. Find out how with this typography tutorial.
If, like us, you love a good script typeface then head this way. Jesse Hora uses Adobe Illustrator to showcase three different approaches to creating three different script fonts.
Typographers and fans of creative fonts will be familiar with the work of self-taught, master pinstriper Glen Weisgerber. Painting letters for race cars, logos, guitars, trucks and motorbikes, Weisgerber has been at the top of his game since the 1970s and in this video tutorial he showcases his talents in a brilliant demonstration of roundhand lettering.
Make a typography poster
From choosing the perfect font to bespoke glyphs and ligatures, Emiliano Surez reveals how to manipulate serif type in your design work.
In this typography poster tutorial, Vilaz’s Pedro Vilas-Boas and Ctia Oliveira reveal some cool techniques for blending type and illustration in Adobe InDesign.
Our pals over at Computer Arts are nothing short of brilliant. Here, they give us another fantastic tutorial focusing on glyphs in typography, brought to you by art editor Jo Gulliver.
Want 3D effects but can’t afford the software? Radim Malinic shares a shortcut for creating eye-popping headline typography without the need for plugins or 3D software.
This tutorial will explain three different ways to create very simple yet elegant header-style text effects, using only two Layer Styles.
See how well Illustrator and Photoshop work together with this nature-tastic tutorial. You’ll produce elegant leafy lettering that can be used for a variety of projects.
Ryan Putman is a professional vector illustrator and all-round know-how of Adobe Illustrator. In this typography tutorial, he shows you how to get that Cowboy feelin’ with this rough and ready Western type treatment.
After trawling the larger tutorial sites, independent Romanian graphic artist Alex Roman noticed a gap when it came to an effect such as this. He took it upon himself to create this awesome equalizer effect using Photoshop.
This tutorial will take you less than an hour to complete in Adobe Photoshop CS5. The teacher claims the tutorial is pretty simple, so this is definitely one to try out.
This is a very simple way to create glossy particles within a textured text effect, using two Layer styles, and two Filters.
Sharon Milne has previously created the Meow Calligram and now she’s back – instead, channeling her creative energy from her dog Poppy. In this typography tutorial, she’ll show you how to manipulate a typeface through to rendering fur and adding those essential doggy features.
Create a buzz with this typography tutorial. Using Photoshop, you’ll have your typeface dripping with style following this simple step-by-step guide to creating a honey-kissed typeface.
If you love to indulge in 3D, take a look at this typography tutorial from Tranfuchsian – a blog for designers, offering plenty of free vector resources and articles. Here, they’ll show you how to light up your 3D typeface.
This sweet typography tutorial shows you how to create a candy-caned typeface that’ll make any design platform the cutest it can be. Along the way, you’ll learn how to create advanced vector pattern brushes and use adjustment layers.
Here, you’ll create a 3D Typography based design. All the elements will revolve around the centerpiece and theme: dreaming. The word will dictate the entire layout, with trees growing out of the letters, mountains and a glowing moon.
In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create some ‘cool’ custom typography, using the Path option in Photoshop.
Using Photoshop, you’re going to create retro-looking text that seems like it’s constructed using folded strips of paper. Prepare yourself to heavily rely on Photoshop’s Lasso Tool, as well as some other basic tools and simple techniques.