THE LANGUAGE OF TYPOGRAPHY
THE LANGUAGE OF TYPOGRAPHY
ANATOMY OF TYPE
Serif: the little tick at the end of strokes on a serif letter.
Sans Serif: This style of letter has no serifs.
X-Height: the distance between the baseline and the top of a lower case x.
Baseline: The line on which the letters sit
Ascended: the parts of the strokes of the lowercase letters that project above the x-height.
Cap height: the height of a capital letter.
Descender: the parts of the strokes of the lower case letters that hang below the x-height.
Counter: the hole in a letter.
Bowl: the curves stroke that forms the counter.
Apex: a point at the top of a letter where two strokes meet.
Arm: A horizontal or upward, sloping stroke that does not connect to a stroke or stem on one or both ends.
Bracket: A curved or wedge-like connection between the stem and serif of some fonts. Not all serifs are bracketed serifs.
Crossbar: The horizontal stroke in letters.
Dot: A small distinguishing mark, such as an diacritic on a lowercase i or j.
Leg: Short, descending portion of a letter.
Ear: A small stroke extending from the upper-right side of the bowl of lowercase g; also appears in the angled or curved lowercase r.
Ligature: Two or more letters are joined together to form one glyph or character.
Finial: A tapered or curved end.
Link: A stroke that connects the top and bottom bowls of lowercase double-story g’s.
Loop: The enclosed or partially enclosed counter below the baseline of a double-story g.
Stem: Vertical, full-length stroke in upright characters.
Stroke: A straight or curved diagonal line.
Terminal: The end of a stroke that does not include a serif.
Black letter: a heavy style, calligraphic style prevalent in the middle ages. Known as old English, brokenletter and gothic.
Humanist or Old style: Created in the 15th and 16th centuries, the classical calligraphy of ancient romans was inspired for this typography style. Known as Trajan, Garamond and Caslon.
Transitional: typefaces have sharper serifs and a pronounced vertical axis on the curves. Example include Baskerville.
Modern: designed in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were controversial for their time: examples include bondoni and didot.
Slab serif (also known as Egyptian): introduced in the 19th century and was used extensively in poster advertising. Examples include Rockwell
Humanist sans serif: sans serif typeface became common in the 20th century. Examples include gill sans and optima.
Geometric sans serif: Based on the modernist principles of the Bauhaus, geometric sans serif type used geometric shapes, the use of circles and squares was common. Examples include future and Johnson
Transitional sans serif: the most famous of all the transitional sans serif typefaces in Helvetica. The consistently upright nature if its characters reflects earlier transitional serif typefaces. Similar fonts are arial and universe.
Script: bases on the calligraphic handwritten type, script faces are also known as copperplate. Commonly used in titles in invitations or menus. Examples include Edwardian script.
Decorative/graphic: decorative type is used for the novelty and may appear in the signage, invitations or advertising materials in small areas. Examples include comic sans and curlz mt.
Digital type: designed specifically for online legibility, digital fonts including verdana and Georgia have simple curves, increased x-height.
Kerning: Is the deliberate and selective spacing of letters.
Tracking: It is the adjustment of space between groups of letters and entire blocks of text.
Leading: Is the distance between two lines of type.
Point size: Measured of type size, distance from the highest ascender to the bottom of the descender.
Is the overall design of the type characters.
Baseline: the baseline is the imaginary line that a typeface sits upon.
Fonts: a font is the one size, weight and width of a type face.
Serif: serifs are the small ‘tick-like’ lines at the end of character strokes. Every letter in serif font includes serifs. Serif fonts are easier to read off-screen and are therefore used commonly in print books (books, magazines and newspapers).
Script typeface: are designed to look like handwriting, they are useful for displaying texts but can be difficult to read in large amounts. Script fonts can be used to suggest something personal, artistic and old fashioned.
Sans serif: a sans serif font doesn’t have serifs and is typically used in headings and titles. Sans serif typeface can be useful for conveying something technical, cool, clean, youthful and modern.
Display typefaces: they are commonly used for logo’s headings and posters.
Legibility: the purpose of typography is to communicate language. Eg using a ‘formal script’ for a ‘children’s playground centre’ would not suit the style or context of the event.