It is unlikely that a graphic designer would be fired from a reputable job for referring to the ear of the lowercase letter g as “that cute thing that sticks out on top” or for not knowing the difference between a terminal and a finial, but it certainly does no harm to learn the proper terms for the elements from which the characters of the alphabet are constructed.

The abundance of type families can sometimes be daunting—a feeling magnified by their myriad weights, styles, and variants, with a semantically confusing collection of terms that are easily misunderstood and repeatedly miscommunicated. Is it typeface or font? Italic or oblique? Is this condensed or compressed? Just ...

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