TYPEFACES & EXAMPLES
- Old Style: Typeface styles derived from fifteenth to eighteenth century designs, and characterized by moderate thick-and-thin contrasts, bracketed serifs, and a handwriting influence. Examples: Garamond, Minion, Caslon, Goudy, and Centaur
- Transitional: Classification of type styles combining aspects of both Old Style and Modern typefaces; for example, Baskerville. Examples: Baskerville, Georgia, Bookman, and Mrs Eaves.
- Modern: Term used to describe typefaces designed at the end of the eighteenth century. Characteristics include vertical stress, hairlines serfs, and pronounced contrasts between thick and thin strokes. Examples: Bodoni, Century Schoolbook, Didot, and Onyx.
- Slab Serif: square or rectangular serifs that align horizontally and vertically to the baseline and are usually the same (or heavier) weight as the main strokes of the letterform. Examples: Serifa, Archer Book, Memphis, and Clarendon.
- Sans Serif: Typefaces without serifs. They first appeared in the early nineteenth century, but their use accelerated during the 1920s. Example: Rotis, Univers, Meta, and Futura.
PROPORTION: four major variables control letter form proportion-- the ratio of letter form height to stroke widgth, the variation between the thickest and thinnest strokes of the letter form, the width of the letters, and the relationship of the x-height to the height of capitals, ascenders, and descenders.
STROKE WEIGHT: the lightness or heaviness of a typeface, which is determined by ratio of the stroke thickness to character height
AXIS/STRESS: the gradual variation in the thickness of a curved character part or stroke; often used for any variation in the thickness of a character part or stroke.
SMALL CAPS: a set of capital letters having the same height as the lowercase x-height, frequently used for cross-reference and abbreviations.
LINING FIGURES: numerals identical in size to the capitals and aligned on the baseline.
NON-ALIGNING FIGURES: numerals that jut above and below the baseline.
LIGATURES: two or more characters linked together as one unit, such as ff. The ampersand is a ligature originating as a letter combination for the French for et ("and") in medieval manuscripts.
DASHES: Em dash: a dash one em long. Also called a long dash / en dash: a dash one en long. Also called a short dash.
APOSTROPHES: a punctuation mark ( ’ ) used to indicate either possession
(smart quotes: quotation marks that, although all keyed the same, are
automatically interpreted and set as opening or closing marks rather
than vertical lines.)
OPTICAL RELATIONSHIPS: mathematics of letter form construction can result in spacial problems, because diverse forms appear optically incorrect. For example, pointed and curved letters have little weight at the top and/or bottom guidelines and the apexes of pointed letters extend beyond the baseline to make them appear the same height.
TYPE MEASUREMENT: the contemporary American measurment system has two basic units: points and picas. There are 72 points in an inch and 12 points in a pica.
-baseline: an imaginary line upon which the base of each capital rests
PARTS OF A LETTER:
x-height: the distance from the baseline to the mean line. Typically, this is the height of lowercase letters and is most easily measured on the lowercase x.
cap height- an imaginary line that runs along the tops of capital letters
ascender- a stroke on a lowercase letter that rises above the meanline
descender- a stroke on a lowercase letterform that falls below the baseline
arm- a projecting horizontal stroke that is unattached on one or both ends, as in the letters T and E.
leg- the lower diagonal stroke on the letter k.
tail- a diagonal stroke or loop at the end of a letter, as in R or j.
eye- the enclosed part of the lowercase e
apex- the peak of the triangle of an uppercase A.
crossbar- the horizontal stroke connecting two sides of the letterform (as in e, A, and H) or bisecting the main stroke (as in f and t).
counter- the negative space that is fully or partially enclosed by a letter form
bowl- a curved stroke enclosing the counter form of a letter. An exception is the bottom form of the lowercase roman g, which is called a loop
link- the stroke that connects the bowl and the loop of a lowercase roman g.
ear- a small stroke that projects from the upper right side of the bowl of the lowercase roman g.
loop- the bottom form of the lowercase roman g
TYPE HOUSE/ FONT HOUSE: businesses that design and sell fonts. Examples: House Industries, Emigre Fonts, The Font Bureau, Inc., Abode Fonts, ITC, and Type Foundry.