A-Z Typography Vocabulary

Neeraj Charaya | 7th August 2016

Typography is an art of arranging design types to make written language legible, enjoyable and attractive when displayed. The arrangement generally incorporates modification of type-faces, line length, fonts, weight, kerning, etc. This blog will help you to increase your vocabulary regarding typography terms. So here are the terms listed.

Typography Terms

Anti-Aliasing  I typography, they are semi-transparent pixels along the edges of the letterform outlines to smoothen jagged lines.

Apex – When the two strokes meet then the upper joining part of a letterform is called Apex.

Arm A stroke that doesn’t connect to another stroke at one end or both ends.

Ascender In lower case letters, the vertical stroke which extends vertically to x-height refers to this term.

Ascender Line An invisible line which marks the height of all ascenders in a font.

Beak A decorative stroke which is put at the end of the arm of letter somewhat similar with serif but not pronounced.

Bilateral Serif Serif which extends from the main stroke.

Bracket – Curved or wedge-like connection between the serif and the stem of some fonts.

Cap Height It is a measurement of a capital letters from its baseline.

Counter An area which is partially or fully enclosed with the letter form like “a”, “o”, “c” etc.

Cross Stroke The horizontal stroke across the lowercase of a letter form like “t” or “f”.

Crotch It is the inside angle where the two strokes meet.

Cursive – Handwriting with joined up letters and can be said similar to italic font.

Descender Parts of lowercase of letters which extends to its baseline.

Display Font It is used for large type like Banners or headlines then such typefaces are used.

Ear It’s a small stroke which gets extends to the bowl of lowercase of some letters like “r” or “g”.

Eye – It is an enclosed space in the lower case of the letter like “e”.

Finial It is a tapered or curved end of letters like “a” or “e” at the bottom or some letters have at the top of double storey like “a”.

Flag – The part of the stem that rests on baseline.

Glyph A single character whether it is mark, number, symbol, etc can be represented by glyph.

Grotesk It’s a german name for san serif.

Halbfett – A German name for the bold weight in type family.

Head Serif – It is a half serif from the top starting point of letterform.

Hook – Curved stroke in the lower case of “f”.

Ink Trap – Some areas are opened so that ink can spread without leaving any dark spots.

Italic – Slanted towards right unlike roman typefaces which are upright.

Joint / Juncture – It is a part where the stroke joins the stem.

Kerning – It is a space between individual letters in a font to correct spacing problems.

Leading / Line Spacing – From baseline to baseline, it is a vertical space between the lines of texts.

Link / Neck – Its a connecting link between two bowls that is top and bottom in lowercase like “g”.

Loop / Lob – A projecting stroke which is partially or fully enclosed.

Midline – It’s a invisible line which rests on the lower case of the letter.

Oblique / Slanted – Slanted typefaces unlike italic which are drawn and crafted separately.

Overshoot – A round or pointed letter which extends higher or lower from the flat letter to make it look optically containing same size.

Pica – It’s a unit of measurement corresponding to 12 points or pixel.

Point – Its a unit of measurement corresponding to 1/12 of a pica or 1 pixel.

Point Size – Its a size of body of each character in a font.

Rasterization – When an image gets converted into raster (i.e. pixels or dots) from vector form then it’s called Rasterization.

Roman – It is a standard type style or regular weight of an upright typeface.

Serif – Small stroke at the beginning and end of the main strokes of the letter.

Small Caps – Capitals having similar height to lower case are designed for abbreviation and emphasis in texts.

Spacing – Horizontal space between each side of character.

Spur –  In typography, it is a small part of protruding of a main stroke.

Spurless – Without a spur it is a transition of curves into straight stems.

Tail – The descending stroke of the letter like “Q”.

Taper – Thinner and refined end of a stroke.

Terminal – The end of a stroke that doesn’t come under serif.

Vertex – A point where two strokes meet at the bottom of the character in a font.

Weight – The heaviness of font apart from size can represents its weight or we can say through the terms thin or bold.

X-Height – The lower case height which is used as a guidance for the unextended lowercase letters.



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Neeraj Charaya

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