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8 playing with type
(Text)
type primer
Before you start, it is important to be versed in the basics of
typography. This section will give you the chops to fuel your
knowledge of the subject before playtime begins.
Typographic characters have basic component parts. The easiest
way to differentiate characteristics of type designs is to compare
the structure of these components. The following terms identify
some of the components of letters.
major
typeface
classifications
type anatomy
R R
R
R
Sans Serif
(Helvetica)
Serif
(Caslon)
Slab Serif
(Rockwell)
Script
(Snell Roundhand)
descender line
baseline
x-height
cap height
ascender line
cap line
mean line
crossbardouble-story a
single-story a
bowl ligature spur
ascender
tittle
stress or axisdescendercountertail
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9
Font
A font is the digital format that enables the
printing of typefaces.
Glyph
The specific shape, design, or representation
of a character.
Kerning
The adjustment of horizontal space between
individual characters in a line of text.
Leading
The amount of space added between lines
of text to make the document legible.
Letterspacing
Adjusting the average distance between
letters in a block of text. Also referred to as
tracking.
Ligature
Two or more letters tied together into a
single letter.
Tracking
The average space between characters in
a block of text. Also referred to as
letterspacing.
Typeface
A set of characters that contain common
design features.
Typographic color
The apparent blackness of a block of text.
Color is a function of the relative thickness
of the strokes that make up the characters
in a font, as well as the width, point size,
and leading used for setting the text block.
Weight
The relative darkness of the characters in
the various typefaces within a type family.
Weight is indicated by relative terms such
as thin, light, bold, extra bold, and black.
Word spacing
Adjusting the average distance between
words to improve legibility or to fit a block
of text into a given amount of space.
X-height
The height of the body of lowercase letters
in a font, excluding the ascenders and
descenders.
glossary of type terms
Ascender
The part of lowercase letters (such as k, b,
and d) that ascends above the x-height of
the other lowercase letters in a face.
Baseline
The imaginary line on which the majority
of the characters in a typeface rest.
Decorative
Type that is designed and used exclusively
for ornamental purposes and shouldn’t be
used for body text.
Display
Type that has been designed to look good at
large point sizes, often for use in headlines.
Face
One of the styles of a family of faces. For
example, the italic style of the Caslon family
is a face.
Family
A collection of faces that was designed and
intended to be used together. For example,
the Caslon family consists of Roman and
italic styles, as well as regular, semibold,
and bold weights.
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A s the saying goes,
type is a beautiful
group of letters,
not a group of
beautiful letters.”
Matthew Carter
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letter and wordplay
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