Typography And Font Deconstruction

Typography is associated with great design for web and print. However, it was not so long ago that typesetting for printing presses was the norm. During this era of typesetting, many technical terms evolved for the construction and makeup of fonts and layout. It was like a secret code for typesetters, where few outside of the industry had any knowledge of the terms being used. The Logo Company has put together this clever graphic that decodes these technical terms associated with type and explains the meaning of each term in simple, plain English, that anyone can understand.

 

 

Listed here are the technical terms used with fonts and type and their associated meanings:

 

Aperture

An area entirely or partially enclosed by a letter form or a symbol.

 

Arm

The arm of a letter is the horizontal stroke on some characters that does not connect to a stroke or stem at one or both ends.

 

 

Ascender

An upward vertical stroke found on the part of lowercase letters that extend upward.

 

Ball Terminal

A type of curve at the end of any stroke that does not include a serif.

 

Bowl

 

The curved part of the character that encloses the circular or curved parts of a letter.

 

 

Counter

 

The open space in a fully or partly closed area within a letter.

 

 

Crossbar

 

The horizontal stroke across the middle of uppercase A and H.

 

 

Descender

 

The part of a letter that extends below the baseline.

 

 

Ear

 

A small stroke extending from the upper-right side of the bowl of a lowercase g.

 

 

Eye

 

The eye refers specifically to the enclosed space in a lowercase e.

 

 

Kerning

 

The process of adjusting spacing between characters in a word.

 

 

Leading

 

The amount of space between lines of words.

 

 

Leg

 

A stroke that extends downward at less than 90 degrees is a leg, as seen on the letters k, K and R.

 

 

Loop

 

The lower portion of the lowercase g.

 

 

Ligature

 

A combo of two or more characters that are joined into one form which are not commonly combined.

 

 

Serif And Sans Serif

 

Serif is the small, finishing strokes on the arms, stems, and tails of characters. When a character does not have the finishing strokes, it is called sans-serif.

 

 

Shoulder

 

The curved stroke aiming downward from a stem.

 

 

Spur

 

A small projection off a main stem.

 

 

Stem

 

The stem is the main , usually vertical stroke of a letter.

 

 

Tail

 

A characters downward projection such as on the letter Q.

 

 

Terminal

 

The end of a stroke not terminated with a serif.

 

 

Tittle

 

A small distinguishing mark, such as a diacritic on a lowercase i or j.

 

 

X-Height

 

The height that lowercase letters reach based on a height of lowercase x. Does not include ascenders and descenders.

 

 

X-Line

 

A line marking the top of those lowercase letters, such as o, having no ascenders.

 

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