How To Create A Hierarchy with Typography

By gobrain

Jun 11th, 2024

UI design is not about placing design elements; it's about organizing them purposefully. A key part of this organization is directing the user's attention to the most important information. This is where hierarchy becomes essential.

This guide will dive into how to create hierarchy in design with typography. Before you jump in, take a look at the images below. Notice how the text is presented differently in each one. Then, let's get started.

typography hierarchy examples

All the images contain the same text, but what they convey or fell is completely different, aren't they? Now, let's understand what typography hierarchy is.

What Is The Typography Hierarchy?

Typography hierarchy is basically a way of organizing written content to make it easier for people to read and understand. It's like using visual cues to show what information is most important and what's supplementary.

Imagine a newspaper article without any hierarchy. Everything would be the same size and font, making it tough to know where to start reading or what the key points are. Typography hierarchy helps avoid this confusion.

How To Build Hierarchy With Typography

There are several techniques that can be used to create hierarchy in typography. Here are some general guidelines for building hierarchy with typography:

Use Different Typefaces


Typefaces, also known as fonts, come in a variety of styles including serif, sans-serif, handwriting, etc. Each style has its own unique characteristics and is more suitable for different contexts. They are categorized based on factors such as readability, aesthetics and other characteristics.

Combining different types of typefaces is a common technique used to create hierarchy within text. For example, serif fonts are often preferred for headings as they can emphasize the title and make it stand out more, while sans-serif fonts are often used for body content for their legibility and readability on screens.

This is only an example of mixing the serif and sans-serif fonts, it is also common to combine different types of typefaces such as handwriting, monospace and display types to create a unique and visually appealing aesthetic in your design.

Use Different Font Weights

Another way to establish a clear hierarchy through typography is by utilizing font weight. By assigning different weights to various levels of information, a clear visual hierarchy is created, making it easy for the user to discern the importance of different elements.

Here are some tips on how to effectively use different weights:

  • Use bold or semi-bold weights for headings: Bold or semi-bold fonts can make headings stand out and grab the reader's attention. This can help to quickly communicate the most important information on a page.

  • Use regular or light weights for body text: Regular or light weights are easier to read in longer blocks of text. They also create a visual contrast with bold headings, making it easier for the reader to distinguish between different levels of information.

  • Use italic or other variations of the font for emphasis: Italics or other variations of the font can be used to draw attention to specific words or phrases within a block of text. For example, you might use italics to emphasize a quote or important point.

  • Avoid using too many different weights: While it's important to use different weights to create hierarchy, using too many different weights can create visual clutter and make the text harder to read. Stick to a few different weights to create a clear hierarchy without overwhelming the reader.

Use Spacing

Spacing is another way to create hierarchy in the design. By adding space to different parts of the content, a clean and organized structure can be presented to users, helping to convey the same level of hierarchy but different aspect of the content for body content.

Here are some tips on how to use spacing to create a clear hierarchy:

  • Use more space around headings: Adding extra space around headings can make them stand out and signal to the reader that this is an important section. You can use margin or padding to achieve this effect.

  • Use line spacing to improve readability: Line spacing, also known as leading, refers to the space between lines of text. Increasing the line spacing can improve readability and make the text more comfortable to read, especially for longer blocks of text.

  • Use paragraph spacing to separate blocks of text: Adding extra space between paragraphs can help to visually separate different blocks of text and create a clear hierarchy. This is especially useful for longer articles or documents.

  • Use kerning to adjust letter spacing: Kerning refers to the space between individual letters in a word. Adjusting the kerning can help to improve readability and create a more balanced and visually pleasing layout.

  • Use whitespace to create a sense of balance: Whitespace, or negative space, refers to the space between design elements. Using whitespace effectively can create a sense of balance and harmony in your typography, making it easier for the reader to navigate.

Use Different Colors

Another preferred method for creating hierarchy in design is using different colors. Different colors are not only to separate headings and body text, but also to emphasize important information within the body content.

Here are some tips on how to use color to create a clear hierarchy:

  • Use a bright or bold color for headings : Using a bright or bold color for headings can help them stand out and grab the reader's attention. This can be especially effective if the color is complementary or contrasting with the rest of the design.

  • Use a muted color for body text: Muted or neutral colors can help to create a calm and comfortable reading experience, especially for longer blocks of text. Choose a color that is easy on the eyes and complements the overall design.

  • Use color to highlight important information: You can use color to draw attention to specific words or phrases within a block of text, such as quotes or important points. This can help to make the text more engaging and memorable.

  • Use color to create contrast and balance: By using color effectively, you can create a sense of contrast and balance in your typography. For example, you might use a dark color for headings and a lighter color for body text to create a clear hierarchy.

  • Use color sparingly: While color can be an effective way to create hierarchy, it's important not to overdo it. Too many colors can create visual clutter and make the design less effective. Stick to a few complementary colors to create a clear and cohesive design.

Use Containers And Icons

Users will easily identify text that is accompanied by an icon or contained within a container, as this helps to draw attention. This not only applies to action text, but also to informational text to increase the level of hierarchy.

Here are some tips on how to use containers and icons to create a clear hierarchy:

  • Use containers to group related content: Using containers, such as boxes or frames, can help to visually group related content and create a clear hierarchy. For example, you might use a container to group a set of options or to highlight a specific section of text.

  • Use icons to represent concepts or ideas: Icons can be used to represent concepts or ideas, making the text more engaging and memorable. For example, you might use a light bulb icon to represent an idea or a calendar icon to represent a date.

  • Use size and placement to create emphasis: By varying the size and placement of containers and icons, you can create a sense of emphasis and hierarchy. For example, you might use a larger container to highlight an important section of text or a larger icon to draw attention to a specific idea.

  • Use a consistent style for containers and icons: To create a cohesive design, it's important to use a consistent style for your containers and icons. This might include using a specific color scheme or design style, such as flat design or skeuomorphic design.

typography hierarcy with containers and icons


It's crucial to maintain consistency in typography hierarchy throughout the design. To sum up, establishing a hierarchy through typography is a significant aspect of design. It aids in directing the user's attention and makes the content more legible and comprehensible.

By utilizing various font sizes, weights, spacing, and colors for different levels of information, designers can establish a distinct visual hierarchy and make it effortless for the user to identify the most crucial information.

Thank you for reading.