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the art, technique, or process of setting and arranging type
letters alphabets characters
numerals typefaces punctuation fonts glyphs
the graphic form of a letter of the alphabet a letter’s shape
a complete set of characters in one design, size, and style
shapes that go together
a set of fonts with a stylistic unity
Changing the font or typeface changes the meaning.
Typography requires sensitivity.
the baseline is the imaginary line defining the visual base of letterforms
the median is the imaginary line defining the x-height of letterforms
the x-height is the height in any typeface of the lowercase x
the ascender height is the imaginary line defining the top of the ascenders.
the cap height is the imaginary line defining the top of capital letterforms
the descender height is the imaginary line defining the bottom of descenders
serifs are the right angled or oblique foot at the end of the letter’s stroke think of serifs as little feet “sans” means without in french, so sans serif letters do not have little feet
a stroke is any line that defines the basic letterform
the stem is the significant vertical or oblique stroke
round strokes are just called strokes. stems are specifically vertical or oblique.
the bracket is the transition between the serif and the stem
the apex and vertex is the point created by joining two diagonal stems apex is above vertex is below
the crotch is the interior space where two strokes meet
the leg is the short stoke off the stem of the letterform, either inclined downward like in the K or at the bottom of the stroke like in the L
the arm is also a short stoke off the stem of the letterform, but unlike legs that incline down or are at the bottom, arms are either horizontal like in the F, at the top like in the T, or inclined upward like in the Y
this is easy to remember. arms go up and are at the top of the body, legs go down and are at the bottom of the body.
the ascender is the portions of the stem of a lowercase letterform that projects above the median remember the median is the imaginary line at the top of the lowercase x - also called the x-height median is marked in blue
the descender is the portion of the stem of a lowercase letterform that projects below the baseline baseline is marked in blue
the bowl is the rounded form that describes a counter counter is the negative space inside the letterform the bowl may be either open or closed a capital C has an open bowl, for example
the cross bar is the horizontal stroke in a letterform that joins two stems together
the cross stroke is the horizontal stroke in a letterform that intersects the stem
the finial is the rounded non-serif terminal to a stroke sometimes finials will look like balls or teardrops
the ear is the stroke extending out from the main stem or body of the letterform
the link is the stroke that connects the bowl and the loop of a lowercase g the loop is the bowl created b the descender of the lowercase g
the spine is the curved stem of the S
the shoulder is the curved stroke that is not part of a bowl
the stress is the orientation of the letterform indicated by the thin stroke in round forms
the tail is the curved or diagonal stroke at the finish of certain letterforms like Q and j
the swash is the flourish that extends the stroke of the letterform
the spur is the extension that articulates the junction of a curved and rectilinear stroke
the beak is the half serif finish on some horizontal arms, like the capital E the barb is the half serif finish on some curved strokes, like the capital G
the terminal is a catch-all term for the self-contained finish of a stroke without a serif terminals can be all different shapes
a finial is a type of terminal
a ligature is the character formed by the combination of two or more letterforms
-the italic is derived from 15th century italian handwriting.
-the italic a is a different shape than the roman a.
-unfortunately many contemporary faces will use the two terms interchangeably and not differentiate so even though something is called italic, for example in avenir for example, which i showed before technically it should be called oblique
sometimes you will see fonts in a typeface named by numbers instead of words
this is thanks to adrian frutiger who in 1957 released his typeface called ooniver
in any two digit descriptor, the first number designates the weight 3 = thin 8 = heaviest
and the second number designates the character width 3 = most extended 9 = the most condensed
even numbers indicate oblique odd numbers indicate roman
originally point size was determined by the height of the actual pieces of lead type so that is why we measure point size from the top of the ascender to the bottom of the descender
-in printing, in order to add space between lines of type, a strip of lead was placed in between the blocks of metal type
-that is why we call the space in between lines leading
we measure point size and leading with units called points and picas
1 inch is equal to 6 picas
1 pica is equal to 12 points
so there are 72 points in an inch
memorize these conversions
-when writing out a dimension in picas and points, the standard abbreviation is p
-so for example 3p6 indicates 3 picas and 6 points
- 1p0 indicates 1 pica
-0p7 indicates 7 points
The abbreviation pt can also be used to indicate points so 0p7 is equal to 7pt both mean 7 points
point size / leading
when specifying type size and leading, we use a slash between the two numbers
the adjustment of space between two letters
Tricks to kerning:
there are a few tricks to kerning that I like to use look at words in sets of three letters imagine a glass of water between the letters and squint my eyes
I’ll explain with an example
Kern individual pairs of letters:
large point sizes
the adjustment of space between many letters
and when should you adjust overall tracking?
in body text that’s paragraphs of text usually pretty small text
Why does letterspacing matter?
legibility relies on the space between the letters being just right. we need that white space in order to make sense of the black shapes. we need counterform in order to be able to recognize form.
we letterspace to achieve optical consistency a nice even rhythm, a flow through the words
1. Track out uppercase and small caps.
2. Track out italics.
3. Don't track out lowercase.
Upper And Lowercase. All Words Are Capitalized.
Upper and lowercase. Only the first word in the sentence is capitalized.
Uppercase And Small Capitals Used Together.
The rough “ragged” edge of the text.
Also known as line length.
Ideal measure = 55 characters per line
Semantic considerations of Choosing Type
Suit the subject
Spirit and character
Practical considerations of Choosing Type
Medium type was designed for
Range of fonts and characters
Suit the task
It needs to look good
Love the type you’re working with
One or two faces, maybe three
Sans serif and serif
Contrast and harmony
— use questionable bold serif faces
— use the faces with bad reputations (comic, optima, papyrus...)
— go anywhere near free fonts
— make your typefaces compete
— use cheesy display, script, or fake handwriting fonts
— look beyond the Adobe student package
— strive for contrast and harmony
— make your typefaces sing
— listen to your instincts
— love the type you’re with!
The distance equal to the size of the typeface.
In 48 pt type, 1 em = 48 points
Half of an em. In 48 pt type, 1 en = 24 points
Only use one word space after the period.
Using two spaces upsets the relationship between word space and leading.
Don’t confuse primes or tick marks for quotation marks.
There are three kinds of dashes. They all serve different purposes.
Are used close-set to set off phrases.
Are used close-set to indicate a range (usually with numbers);
or set with a normal word space either side and used as a phrase marker (rather than a close-set em dash).
Are used for hyphenated words, and word breaks in a rag.
Do NOT use a double hyphen (--) in place of a long em or en dash.
Use a dimension sign instead of the letter x when dimensions are given.
Use the prefabricated ellipsis glyph, NOT three periods in a row.
Use upright (roman) rather than sloped parentheses, even if the context is italic
A symbol that evolved from the Latin et, meaning and.
In heads and titles, use the best available ampersand.
are used to maintain ideal rhythm in body text.
A way of typesetting bullet points and punctuation marks, most commonly quotation marks and hyphens, so that they do not disrupt the flow or alignment of text.
Hierarchy in type size
Type sizes 14 points and above, usually used for headlines and titles
Catch all term for large type Different than “display typeface” (highly decorative)
The most significant type in the visual hierarchy
Usually headline is the largest point size on the page
Sometimes called title type, head, or display type
Used to indicate subdivisions within the text.
Usually 1–3 levels of hierarchy, labeled as
Also called subtitles or secondary heads
Also called text type, body type, body copy, body text.
Text material, usually set in sizes from 6–12 points.
Text type should be large enough to be read at arm’s length, as if you were holding a book in your lap.
Headline: 14pt and larger Subhead: 6–14pt Body text: 6–12pt
A useful model of proportion to apply to type size
Each number is the sum of the two preceding.
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89.
Ideal accent color has a value of approximately 50% black
Contrast Not too dark, not too light
Consistent horizontal intervals that allow for one or more field of text per page.
The space in between columns Should be at least two ems wide
Reinforces the architectural sense of the page Creates a vertical rhythm
A pattern of horizontal and vertical lines that intersect at regular intervals.
Rows and columns.
Start with your body text for your grid
Define your body text’s typeface, point size, leading, and measure.
Your grid will be based on these decisions you have made about your body text.
It’s a pain to change it later.
Generating a grid — THE SIMPLE VERSION
When you have mostly display type (large point size) Posters, banners, etc
Gutters do not need to be specifically keyed into leading or ems, because you don’t have much (or any) body text.
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