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Common Terms Found in Typography
October 6th, 2022
Typography has been used as a way of communication for a very very long time. It was invented during the eleventh century in China (990-1051BC) and has been used in some form or another ever since. This has made it an essential part of our lives and the most efficient tool we have to deliver a message to an audience.
Even though the use of typography is so universal in our world we can still sometimes struggle to understand exactly what typography is and also what the words associated with typography mean.
So we thought it would be a good idea to make a list of common terms that typographers and designers use to hopefully go some way in demystifying typography.
The negative space that is partially enclosed in some characters such as the lower part of a lowercase e or a c.
The top point of a character where two strokes meet as seen on an uppercase A.
The curved part of a letter as seen on the lowercase r and c.
The part of a lowercase letter that rises above the x-height of the other letters.
05. Ball Terminal
The round ball form found at the end of a letter arm.
The invisible line what characters sit on.
The block area that a character lives in. Originally this would have been the physical block that the metal letters sat on. The height of the body equals the point size.
The enclosed curved part of a character as seen here on an uppercase B.
09. Cap Height
The height of an uppercase letter from the baseline to the cap line.
10. Cap Line
The invisible line that marks the top of an uppercase letter.
The space found inside a fully closed area of a character. Shown here in the o and e.
12. Cross Stroke
Horizontal stroke found in characters as seen here on the t.
The space found inside the fully closed area of the lowercase e.
In a serif typeface its the part of the stroke that rests on the baseline
The German name for Sans Serif.
The thinnest stroke found in a typeface.
Slanted version of the typeface. Slants from left to right.
Kerning is the horizontal space between two letters.
The German name for Kerning.
Leading refers to the lead strips that were used to add vertical space between lines metal type.
The vertical space between lines of text from baseline to baseline.
The small letters in the typeface.
A typeface that has letters of a fixed width.
24. Point Size
The unit used to measure the size of a typeface.
25. Sans Serif
A term that refers to typefaces without the lines or feet at the ends of the letterforms.
A term that refers to typefaces that have a line or stroke at the ends of the letterforms.
The curved part of a letter found on some lowercase letters.
The curved stroke found in the letter S.
The vertical stroke found in a letter.
30. Teardrop Terminal
A teardrop shape found at the end of a letterform.
Tracking refers to the uniform amount of space between characters in a word or section of text.
The capital letters of a typeface.
The point at the top or bottom of a letter where two points meet.
A term to measure the height of a lowercase letter without the ascenders or descenders.