04.

The Mechanics of Type

TYPE MEASUREMENT

The Point System

In 1737, Pierre Fournier le Jeune, a Parisian typefounder, proposed the first standard unit of measure known as the point. A point equals 1/72 of an inch, or .013836 inch. This measurement is used to indicate the size of type, and the space between lines of type, also known as leading. In 1785, Fermin A. Didot invented a larger point equal to 0.376 mm, which was adopted by the rest of continental Europe.

Picas

Picas are larger and are used to measure the length of a line of type and the width and depth of pages. A pica contains 12 points and is slightly less than 1/6 of an inch. There are 6 picas in 1 inch. Picas are used to indicate horizontal measurements such as column width and line ...

Get The Art of Type and Typography now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.