Hierarchy in Typography

Lesson Eleven

Now that you know some typography basics, it will be easier to understand how to use type in a way that compliments your yearbook design.  As we discussed in our Typography Chalk Talk, a central part of typography is the arrangement of text on a page. The key to successfully organizing type in your yearbook is to use a hierarchy. We have put together some information on hierarchies that will help your yearbook staff.


Typographic hierarchy is the variation of size, type weight, color, font choice and/or placement of type based on what you want the viewer to see first. Using hierarchy allows the viewer’s eye to easily navigate content in an organized way. In the image above, hierarchy is achieved through changing the size of text. The largest text is the first place the eye is drawn followed by the second largest text and ending with the smallest text. In hierarchy, you want to achieve a fluid movement throughout the design.


Above is an example of text that does not achieve a hierarchy. With all of the text the same size, the reader’s eye is not led to any one part more than another. While the viewer can read from top to bottom and still receive the same information, the first example image is easier to navigate.

Here are some more examples of how hierarchy can strengthen a design:

No hierarchy


Hierarchy achieved by using different weights from a font family


Hierarchy achieved through use of color


Hierarchy achieved by pairing different fonts

Type weight, color, and font can be combined to achieve hierarchy in your design. Instruct your students to find examples of hierarchy in magazines and online. Share them with the class and discuss how they can integrate these designs into their yearbook.