An Introduction to Type
The basic typographic
element is called a character, which is any individual letter,
numeral, or punctuation mark. The capital letters are called caps,
or uppercase (u.c.) characters. Small letters are called lowercase
(l.c.) characters. Numbers are called numerals or figures.
Modern, or lining
numerals are cap height.
have ascenders and descenders.
are special characters used for:
On Macintosh computers,
special characters can be viewed for any font with the Key Caps utility
under the apple menu.
character pairs which have been re-designed as optional single characters.
characters set in Adobe Garamond.
characters set in Adobe Garamond Expert and Adobe Garamond Alternative.
have basic component parts. The easiest way to differentiate characteristics
of type designs is by comparing the structure of these components. The
following terms identify some of the components referred to in the next
The lowercase character stroke which extends above the x-height.
The horizontal stroke on the characters A, H,
T, e, f, t.
The imaginary horizontal line to which the body, or main component,
of characters are aligned.
The curved stroke which surrounds a counter.
A curved line connecting the serif to the stroke.
with cupped bases
with flat bases
of variation in between thick and thin strokes.
The empty space inside the body stroke.
The lowercase character stroke which extends below the baseline.
The bottom part of the lowercase roman g.
From the French, meaning without serif. A typeface which
has no serifs.Sans
serif typefaces are typically uniform in stroke width.
Tapered corners on the ends of the main stroke. Serifs originated
with the chiseled guides made by ancient stonecutters as they lettered
monuments. Some serif designs may also be traced back to characteristics
of hand calligraphy. Note that serif type is typically thick and thin
in stroke weight.
The part of a curved stroke coming from the stem.
A stroke which is vertical or diagonal.
The direction in which a curved stroke changes weight.
The end of a stroke which does not terminate in a serif.
The height of the body, minus ascenders and descenders, which is
equal to the height of the lowercase x.
X-heights vary among typefaces in the same point size and strongly
effect readability and gray vaule of text blocks.
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