Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fundamentals of Typography



Imagine a TV ad, magazine print, or website without text. Sure, images can communicate a lot of details to viewers, but in order to communicate the exact information, text is necessary. It’s the primary way of passing information to readers; it can raise passion, grab attention, and intrigue readers. Therefore, it’s something that every printer or designer should know about. If you’re new in the design or printing industry, here’s a brief guide on the commonly used terms to get you started.



Typography

Wikipedia defines typography as the “art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible.” It is the design and use of typefaces and includes calligraphy, digital media, and web pages among others.    

Typeface

This refers to the characters (letters, numbers, etc.) used in design that shares a common style. Samples of typefaces are Arial, Courier, and Times New Roman.

Font

This refers to a set of type in a specific style and size. Essentially, the set of fonts refers to the typeface; the variations of the design are the typeface family; and the specific style and size is the font. For instance, Helvetica is the typeface family, Helvetica italic is the typeface, and Helvetica italic 10-point is the font.      

Baseline

This is the line where letters sit, below which descenders extend.

Leading

This refers to the space between lines of text which is measured in points. The distance is measured from one baseline to the next.
   
Point

This refers to the size of a font, so when we say 12pt, this refers to the full height of the text block.

Pica

This is basically used to measure lines of text and contains 12 point units of measure.


Tracking

This is the adjustment of space between characters to increase legibility.  

Kerning


Letterspacing

This refers to adding space between characters.   

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