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Basic Typographic Terminology

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Ayşegül Yazıcı

on 12 January 2012

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Transcript of Basic Typographic Terminology

The aperture is the partially enclosed, somewhat rounded negative space in some characters such as ‘n’, ‘C’, ‘S’, the lower part of ‘e’, or the upper part of a double-storey ‘a’.

Any part in a lowercase letter that extends above the x-height, found for example in b, d, f, h, k, etc. Some types of ascenders have specific names.

An imaginary line drawn from top to bottom of a glyph bisecting the upper and lower strokes is the axis.

Alignment refers to the position of type within a text block, in both the vertical and horizontal planes. Horizontal alignment in a text field can be range left, range right, centred or justified. In vertical alignment text can align vertically to the centre, top or bottom.

The imaginary line upon which the letters in a font appear to rest. The baseline of a piece of type can be forced to snap to this grid to maintain continuity across the pages of a design.

Any letter, numeral, punctuation mark, and other sign included in a font. Some characters can be represented by more than one glyph.

a column is one or more vertical blocks of content positioned on a page, separated by gutters and/or rules. Columns are most commonly used to break up large bodies of text that cannot fit in a single block of text on a page. Additionally, columns are used to improve page composition and readability. Newspapers very frequently use complex multi-column layouts to break up different stories and longer bodies of texts within a story. Column can also more generally refer to the vertical delineations created by a typographic grid system which type and image may be positioned.

Any part in a lowercase letter that extends below the baseline, found for example in g, j, p, q, y, etc. Some types of descenders have specific names.

A category of typefaces designed for decorative or headline use. As opposed to text typefaces, display typefaces are usually meant for larger settings.

A collection of related typefaces which share common design traits and a common name. A type style means any given variant of this coordinated design and is the equivalent of a font or typeface.Super families are very extensive with a very large number of weights and widths. Type systems are collections of related type families that cross type classifications.
Text blocks can be indented so that some or all of the text lines are moved in from the margin by a specified amount. Traditionally the first paragraph is not indented, usually commencing with the second paragraph. Indentation provides the reader with an easily accessible enty point to a paragraph.Four basic indent types exist; firstline indent, running indent, hanging indent, on a point indent.

A (mostly) slanted type style which takes its basic shapes from a stylised form of handwriting, and is usually narrower than its roman counterpart. Italics are commonly used for emphasis in text. They are primarily found in serif designs, while obliques originally were associated with sans serifs.

Kerning refers to the horizontal space between individual pairs of letters (a kerning pair), and is used to correct spacing problems in specific letter combinations. Well-spaced fonts need comparatively less kerning pairs. Fonts that are properly kerned appear evenly spaced without large open gaps of white space between any two characters.

In typography, a margin is the space that surrounds the content of a page The margin helps to define where a line of text begins and ends. When a page is justified the text is spread out to be flush with the left and right margins.

A font that is slanted. Oblique fonts are different from italic fonts, in that they are mechanically sheared, then slightly adjusted. Italic fonts, on the other hand, are designed differently from upright or roman versions. They are usually narrower than their roman counterparts, and reflect more of a calligraphic sensibility than lowercase oblique fonts.

The most recent font format emerged at the beginning of the new millennium. OpenType was initially developed by Microsoft, which were later joined by Adobe. In a few years time it has become the new standard format for digital fonts. The biggest advantages shared by all OpenType fonts are their single file structure, cross-platform compatibility, and advanced typographic functionality.

A typographic unit of measure corresponding to 1/72nd of its respective foot, and therefore to 1/6th of an inch. The pica contains 12 points. The standard in contemporary printing (home computers and printers) is the computer pica (1/72nd of the Anglo-Saxon compromise foot of 1959, i.e. 4.233mm or 0.166in). At 100% zoom one computer pica corresponds to 12 image pixels on a computer monitor display, thus one computer point corresponds with one image pixel.
The point size of a typeface refers to the size of the body, the imaginary area that encompasses each character in a font. This is why a typeface with a
large x-height appears bigger than typeface with a small x-height at the same point size.

The (standard) upright type style. The term Roman is also sometimes used to denote the Regular weight.

Small caps are capital letters that are approximatively as high as the x-height of the lowercase letters. When properly designed small caps are absent in the selected font, many applications can create small caps by scaling down the capitals. However this makes these fake small caps too light and narrow, and they don't harmonise properly with the lowercase.

Spacing refers to the distribution of horizontal space on both sides of each character in a font to achieve a balanced and even texture. Spacing problems in difficult letter combinations (exceptions) are solved with kerning. Well-spaced fonts need comparatively less kerning pairs.

A font format developed by Apple Systems, Inc. and licensed to Microsoft Corp. TrueType fonts are natively supported by the Windows and Mac operating Systems. On the Mac, both the printer and screen fonts are combined in a single TrueType font suitcase file.
An artistic interpretation, or design, of a collection of alphanumeric symbols. A typeface may include letters, numerals, punctuation, various symbols, and more — often for multiple languages. A typeface is usually grouped together in a family containing individual fonts for italic, bold, and other variations of the primary design.

A single style or iteration of a typeface. Sometimes, the term "weight" is refers specifically to the heaviness of a typeface. However, it is often used as a general term for any style: Italic, Small Caps, Bold, Light Expert, etc.

A widow is a lone word at the end of a paragraph. An orphan is the final one or two lines of a paragraph separated
from the main paragraph to form a
new coloumn, and shold be avoided
at all costs.

The height of the lowercase letters, disregarding ascenders or descenders, typically exemplified by the letter x. The relationship of the x-height to the body defines the perceived type size. A typeface with a large x-height looks much bigger than a typeface with a small x-height at the same size.

A collection of letters, numbers, punctuation, and other symbols used to set text (or related) matter. Although font and typeface are often used interchangeably, font refers to the physical embodiment (whether it's a case of metal pieces or a computer file) while typeface refers to the design (the way it looks). A font is what you use, and a typeface is what you see.

The common German name for sans serif faces, as opposed to "Antiqua" which means serif.

is the blank space between a column or row.

Hierarchy is a logical and visual way to express the relative Importance of different text elements by providing a visualguide to their organization. A text hierarchy helps make a layout clear, unambiguous and easier to digest.

Hyphenation controls the number of hyphens that can appear in a text block. Hyphens in justified text allow spacing issues to be resolved, but can result in many broken words

Ledaing refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the formes to increase the vertical distance between lines of type. Laeding introduces space into a text block and allows the characters to breathe so that the information is easy to read.

Special characters that are actually
two letters combined into one. In cases where two adjacent characters would normally bump into each other, a ligature allows the letters to flow together more gracefully. This usually makes word shapes more aesthetically pleasing. Some common ligatures are "fi", "fl", "ff", "ffl", etc.When ligatures
are built-in as OpenType features, certain (older) operating systems and applications will not be able to
access them.

Majuscules are uppercase and miniscules are lowercase letters. Both of these character sets have distinct applications and it is important to note that not all fonts are available in both forms.
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