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By Autumn Doney






Ascender line An ascender is the portion of a minuscule letter that extends above the mean line of a font. That is, the part of a lower-case letter that is taller than the font's x-height.

Cap height The line above the median line that uppercase letters go to.

Median line The mean line, also called the midline, is half the distance from the baseline to the cap height.

Base line The baseline is the imaginary line upon which a line of text rests. In most typefaces, the descenders on characters such as g or p extend down below the baseline

Decent line The descender is the portion of a letter that extends below the baseline of a font. The line that descenders reach down to is known as the beard line. For example, in the letter y, the descender is the "tail", or that portion of the diagonal line which lies below the v created by the two lines converging.

Learning the Anatomy of



Apex: the point at the top of a letter where the strokes meet, such as A and W



Arm: is the vertical stroke found in letters such as, T, L,E Aperature : the opening or gap inside letters that are not enclosed, ex. n Ascender : the part of a lowercase letter that goes above the x-height


Beak Bowl

Beak : a type of decorative stroke at the end of the arm of a letter, Similar to a spur or serif, ex. E Bowl: the curved part of a letter that encoses the counter




Bracket : the wedge like cinnection between the stem and serif, only found in some fonts Crossbar

Counter : the enclosed whitespace in a letter, commonly found in b,o and d Crossbar : the horizontal bar that connects two strokes, A, H Cross stroke : the horizontal bar that crosses though a stroke, t, f Decender : the part of a lowercase letter that goes below the x-height


Cross stroke Decender

Ear : the small stroke that extends from the bowl of the lower case g

Eye : the enclosed counter that is specific to the lower case e Eye

Final : the curved finishing stroke at the end of some lowercase letters such as a, f, e,

Hair line


Hairline : the thinnest stroke found in a specific typeface that consists of strokes of varying widths Leg: the short diagonal stroke that sweeps downwards in letters such as K and R Leg



Link : the curved stroke that connects the bowl and loop of a letter Loop : the enclosed counter of a lowercase double story g that falls below the baseline Serif : the small finishing detail at the begining and end of a stroke




Shoulder : the curved stroke that extends off the stem of a letter usually in lowercase letters such as, m, n Spine : the curve found primarially in aS Spurs: the small finishing detail at the begining and end of a stroke



Stem :the primary vertical stroke in letterforms


Stroke: the diagonal line that connects the arms, legs and stems Tail: a downward finishing stroke, usually found in the uppercase Q Terminal Tail


Termianl : the finishing stroke, styles of terminals also include the beak and ball Vertex: the outside point at the bottom or top of a character where two strokes meet

Identifying a stress axis

When identifyig a type face it is helpful to look at the stress of the axis of the ‘O’.For typefaces that exhibit changes in the thickness of

Vertical stress

Horizontal stress



Diagonal stress


curved strokes, the inclination of the axis of the lowercase ‘o’ is used to measure the angle of stress. A completely vertical axis indicates a design with an angle of 0 or vertical stress.

Ligatures Ligature is two or more let ters combined into one char acter make a ligature. In ty pography some ligatures rep resent specific sounds or words such as the AE or æ.



Font versions Every font has a Font Family, A font family is a grouping of fonts defined by commonly shared design styles. For example Times New Roman can come in the following

Italic Bold Italic Regular Bold 



A serif is a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter in certain typefaces.

1234567890 Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

Serifs have several consructionsal; Arbupt, Adnate, slab, hairline, cupped and rounded. A san serif is a type with out serifs



abc 1234567890 Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz


Abrupt Bilateral Reflexive

Adnate Bilateral Reflexive


Abrupt Unilateral Reflexive

Adnate Unilateral Reflexive

Difference between Monocular and Binocular


g Only has a single storey

Single-storey Monocular ‘gĘź

Has 2 storeys

Double-storey Binocular ‘gĘź

Identifying typeface by the letter ‘R’                   Â?Â? 

   Â?     Â?Â?   Â?

Curved Outwards


 R R R R 



Anatomy of Typography  
Anatomy of Typography