Typography Hierarchy

Typography Hierarchy: Why and How

Last Updated May 13, 2023

Typography plays a vital role in conveying information via your posters, flyers, infographics and other documents. While the plain old text is quite enough to convey information, if you are looking at making your information visually appealing and more importantly super easy to understand it is not enough. Welcome to the world of typography hierarchy! While the word ‘Hierarchy’ may have a little formal connotation attached to it, it simply means (in the graphic design world) attaching different levels of importance to your information to make it easy to understand.

How? Look at the following graphic. The headline offers the most important piece of information; the one you want your audience to notice at a glance. The subhead then offers a tiny bit more details and the text offer the supporting information.

Typography Hierarchy

Why is typography hierarchy important? Well, the human brain is hardwired to recognize structure, patterns and logic. In the 1920s a group of German phycologist studied this and came up with the Gestalt’s principle of perception. According to this study, human beings perceive information better or connect with any message better when it is visually structured. 

The hierarchical division of text can help achieve exactly this. Typography hierarchy helps you in achieving three important things:

  1. guiding the users to look for a particular piece of information
  2. establishing order
  3. the systematic layout of typography, size and font

Displaying typography hierarchy helps prioritize the information and serves as a reading or scanning guide for the readers.

Purpose of Font Hierarchy

1. Engage Audience and Grab Attention

Today, we are living in a world of information overload. Most people do not have the time or inclination to go through every single word of any document. In fact, a study conducted in 2017 shows that the attention span of an average adult is 8 seconds only. As a result, most of us skim through any document looking for the most important piece of information. If that is something that we are interested in, we read further.

Typography hierarchy helps you communicate what’s most important. This is crucial for engaging your audience and grabbing their attention. It is vital for documents like posters, social graphics or flyers where you need to communicate ideas or information to an audience who are probably just browsing through. 

Using a clear hierarchy of information will help you engage with the audience here. Look at this DocHipo Template below:

Fun DocHipo Posters

Bigger and bolder fonts are used here to convey the primary idea (i.e. Christmas Fair) and then smaller fonts are used to share the finer details. The typographic chemistry is created to intrigue the audience by shouting out the primary message and then give more details on the same.

Set a Tonality for Your Document

A study conducted by Kevin Larson and Rosalind Picard shows that typography can certainly affect the mood of your audience. Therefore, you can very easily set the tonality of your message via typography hierarchy. Look at these DocHipo templates below:

DocHipo graphics with typography hierarchy

The above two templates show us how fonts set the mood of the content and help you connect with your audience. The template on the left is a new year’s greeting and thus uses a playful font style. The one on the right hand is a blog graphic related to finance. The style of typography on it matches the corporate look and feel.

Provides Context

Typography hierarchy not only makes your text more readable, but it also gives context to your content.

In the text below – the readers cannot determine which particular text to focus on. Either the reader will take the pain to go through the whole content without knowing what is it exactly about or the reader will not go through it at all.


Now, let’s create some hierarchy with typography here.


The same content, but much better context!

The title, subhead, and the body of the text are separated from each other with the use of different fonts and it keeps the readers interested. The bold heading will itself give the readers an idea about the nature of information of the content.

So, How to Create Typography Hierarchy in Your Documents

Well, it’s definitely not rocket science; and with some tips and a little bit of practice, you can be a pro too! Here are some simple yet effective ways to create hierarchy in your documents!

Font Size

This is a no-brainer really. Bigger bolder fonts have always been used to highlight the most important information. While you can use distinguishable fonts for headings and sub-headings, you can also use them to assign importance within a single line of text.

Social post with Typography Hierarchy

See how the word ‘Venice’ is in a bigger font to attract attention and intrigue the audience here.

Font type

Often designers mix and match font types to create awesome visual chemistry. You can do that in order to create information hierarchy and add more context to your documents.

Typography Hierarchy graphics

See how the designer mixes sans serif and cursive fonts together to create not just a great design, but also to create context and assign importance.

Font Colors

When it comes to assigning context or importance to your content, colours too can play a vital role. However, a little bit of caution… Using too many colours can make the design look chaotic. The best choice is to create a colour scheme and stick to it.

See how these DocHipo templates below use colours in typography to highlight particular words.

DocHipo graphics with Typography Hierarchy

No matter what kind of a document you are designing; the goal is to always make it more readable and easy to digest for your audience. And typography hierarchy plays a vital role in it. Whether you are using a template from DocHipo or creating a design on your own, using different font sizes, styles and colours can give the much-needed context to your message. Sign-up to DocHipo today and explore tons of stunning templates that you can use. DocHipo is absolutely free to get started. Sign-up now to transform your documents!