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TABLE Of contents History of Typography


Anatomy of type


Text Alignment


Widows & Orphans


font formats


Classification of typography


Hyphens & Dashes

12 13

Legibility & Readability


Kerning, Tracking & Leading Do’s & Don’t’s


Emphasis Techniques



History of typography 25, 000 BC - The earliest found cave drawings. 13,000 BC - rock paintings were found as the first way of communication. 3,000 BC - The Sumerians developed cuneiforms, a writing system that consisted of wedge-shaped forms carved into clay tablets and other hard surfaces. 1,000 BC - The Phoenicians developed twenty-two key sounds of their language. 800 BC - The Greeks embraced the Phoenician invention and took it one step further by adding vowels and naming the symbols. 114 AD - Roman letterform was created, and was very balanced. 1400's - Johannes Gutenberg invented a system of moveable type that revolutionized the world and allowed for dramatic mass printing of materials – individual metal letters letterpress. 1500 - A printer by the name of Aldus Manutius for the first time invented the concept of pocket or portable books. He also developed the first italic typeface, one of the first typeface variations. The typefaces Garamond produced between 1530 and 1545 are considered the typographical highlight of the 16th century. His fonts have been widely copied and are still produced and in use today. In 1557, Robert Granjon invented the first cursive typeface, which was built to simulate handwriting. 2

In 1734, William Caslon issued the typeface bearing his name which included straighter serifs and greater contrasts between major and minor strokes. In 1757, John Baskerville introduced the first Transitional Roman which increased contrast between thick and thin strokes, had a nearly vertical stress in the counters and very sharp serifs. In 1780 Firmin Didot and Giambattista Bodoni of Italy developed the first Modern Romans. The moderns carry the transitionals to the extreme. Thin strokes are hairlines, plus a full vertical stress. In 1815 Vincent Figgins designed a face with square serifs for the first time and this became known as the Egyptians or more recently as the Slab Serifs. In 1816 William Caslon IV produced the first typeface without serifs (sans serifs) of any kind, but it was ridiculed at the time. Linotype (1880’s) Invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler Lines of type, no more single letters Newspapers could extend deadlines In the 1920s, Frederic Goudy developed several innovative designs and became the world's first full time type designer. We owe the Broadway typeface to him. Phototype (1950’s) Negatives/films meant no more metal letters, smaller equipment and better flexibility in typesetting In 1957, Max Miedinger, a Swiss artist created the most popular typeface of our time...Helvetica. The Swiss also championed the use of white space as a design element. 1980 to Present – Digital Age

Cap Height Apex

Ascender Line Ascender


Mean Line



Stem Counter

Body Height


Base Line Descender

Ark of Stem Descender Line


Apex - The point at the top of a character where the left and right strokes. Arc of Stem - A curved stroke that is continuous with a straight stem. Ascender - In typography, the upward vertical stem on some lowercase letters that extends above the x-height.

Descender Line - The invisible line marking the lowest point of the descenders within a font.

Ascender Line - The invisible line marking the height of ascenders in a font.

Dot - A small distinguishing mark, such as an diacritic on a lowercase i or j. Also known as a Tittle.

Bar - A horizontal stroke across the middle of uppercase A and H. Base Line - The baseline is the imaginary line upon which a line of text rests. Body Height - The body height refers to the distance between the top of the tallest letterform to the bottom of the lowest one.

Mean Line - Imaginary line running along the top of non-ascending, lowercase letters.

Bowl - The curved part of the character that encloses the circular or curved parts.

Stem - he stem is the main, usually vertical stroke of a letterform.

Cap Height - The height of a capital letter above the baseline for a particular typeface. Counter - The enclosed or partially enclosed circular or curved negative space . Descender - The part of the letters that extends below the baseline.


Tail - A descending stroke, often decorative.


True Type Open Type

o Postscript file, Reliable

o Windows Standard

o Used by Graphic Designers

o System fonts (arial, verdana, tahoma)

o Former industry standards

o Used by web designers

o 256 available characters and fonts

o 256 available

o One File contains both screen and printer fonts

o One file contains both screen and printer

o Includes more than 65,000 characters

o Hinting technology

o Foundries are recreating fonts in Open Type Format

o Two components

o Not as reliable as Type 1

o New Industry Standard o Enhanced mix of Type 1 and True Type

o Multi-platform support o Expanded character sets o Glyph substitutions 5

Classification of Typography Calligraphic Letters associated with the art of calligraphy and the fonts developed from their production can be classified as calligraphic. Calligraphic letters can be, although do not have to be, classified as Chancery, Etruscan or Uncial. Chancery letters have slightly sloping narrow letters and were influential in the development of serif italics. Etruscan faces do not have lowercase letters and are based on an early form of Roman calligraphy in which the brush was held at a steep angle. The Celtic style, Uncial letters are created from holding the brush at an almost horizontal angle. There is only one case in Uncial designs, although they did become the basis for the development of the roman lower case.

Blackletter Blackletter typefaces are a script style of calligraphy that were popularized in Germany, although they were used all over Europe from the middle ages through the Renaissance. A highly ornamental style of typgraphy, different styles are often associated with the different regions in which they were developed and used. The main classifications include Textura, Schwabacher, Cursiva and Fraktur. Textura is the most closely related to the calligraphic style and often includes a large number of ligatures. Schwabacher typefaces have a simplified, rounded stroke and several of their lowercase letters, including 'o', are often analogous forms. Cursiva, as the name suggests, is closely related to cursive letters and can be recognized by the more frequent presence of descenders and looped ascenders. Fraktur is the most common form of Blackletter and is characterized by broken strokes.

SERif Serifed typefaces were popular much earlier than sans-serif typefaces and include semi-structural details on many of the letters. People often refer to them as feet, although that is in no way a proper anatomical term when referring to typography. Their are many different classifications for serifed typefaces, often named for their origins, including Grecian, Latin, Scotch, Scotch Modern, French Old Style, Spanish Old Style, Clarendon and Tuscan. Some of these classifications can also be placed into broader classifications of typography including the styles below.


Old Style The Old Style or Humanist serif typefaces developed in the 15th and 16th centuries and are characterized by a low contrast in stroke weight and angled serifs. Example: Garamond.


The bridge for the gap between Old Style and Modern serifed typefaces, Transitional type has a more vertical axis and sharper serifs than humanist forms. Example: Baskerville.

Modern Modern serifed typefaces developed in the late 18th and early 19th century and were a radical break from the traditional typography of the time with high contrast of strokes, straight serifs and a totally vertical axis. Example: Bodoni.


Egyptian, or slab-serifed, typefaces have heavy serifs and were used for decorative purposes and headlines because the heavy serifs impeded legibility at small point sizes. Example: Rockwell.


Just exactly like what is sounds, a sans-serif typeface is a typeface without serifs. They can be found in history as early as the 5th century, although the classical revival of the Italian Renaissance return to old style serifed typefaces made them virtually obsolete until the 20th century. Their was much development of sans-serif typefaces in Germany as a revolt against the ornate lettering of the popular Blackletter styles which led to sans-serif typefaces based on the purity of geometric forms. Much like serifed typefaces, there are many different classifications for sans-serif typefaces, including Gothic, Grotesque, Doric, Linear, Swiss and Geometric. Some of the broader classifications are listed below.


Humanist characteristics include proportions that were modeled on old style typefaces, open strokes and a slightly higher contrast in strokes in comparison to other sans-serif typefaces. Example: Gill Sans.


Classification transitional Closely related to the characteristics of transitional serifed typefaces, these typefaces include a more upright axis and a uniform stroke. Example: Helvetica.


Geometric sans-serif typefaces, as their name implies, are based on geometric forms. In some cases letters, such as the lower case 'o', are perfect geometric forms. Example: Futura.

Script Script typefaces are based on the forms made with a flexible brush or pen and often have varied strokes reminiscent of handwriting. There are many different classifications including Brush Script, English Roundhand and Rationalized Script. However, the broadest forms of classification are Formal Script and Casual Script. Formal Scripts are based on the developments and writings of 17th and 18th century handwriting masters such as George Bickham, George Shelley and George Snell. Casual scripts developed in the 20th century as a result of photo-typesetting and are more varied and the inconsistencies appear to have been a result of using a wet pen rather than a pen nib.


Pixel fonts developed from the invention of the computer and were based on the on-screen display format of pixels. They are based on an array of pixels, are often called Bitmap fonts and are often designed only for a specific point size. Many type foundries offer a selection of bitmap fonts and some, like Fonts For Flash create only bitmap fonts.


While serifed and sans-serif typefaces can often be used for text typesetting, there are a vast majority of fonts and typefaces whose legibility wanes when used in smaller point sizes. These typefaces are often developed with a specific use in mind and are designed for larger point size use in headlines, posters and billboards. Decorative is less of a classification and can include a wide variety of typefaces underneath the umbrella of the term.


Legibility & Readability Legibility-

Legibility - referring to the design of a typeface, and its inherited traits, as of weight, x-height, size, shape, etc. Display types are more than likely not legible because the display type will not be used for smaller print.


Readability - referring to the arrangement, size, line length and other factors that might affect someone who is trying to read your add or other product.

Emphasis techniques Bold-

Weight contrast is a good efficient contrast, changing the line weight can enhance type a way can get the point across. Example: Bold


The most common use of emphasis, it is used as text and also display fonts. Used mainly for soft emphasis. Example: Italic


Though week, they are a form of emphasis usually associated with text books, and other book products. Example: Underscore

Point Size-

Varying the point size should also be used sparingly. It is best used for subheads, and other stand-alone phrases. Examples: 10 points, 12 points, 14 points.


Hints for Small Caps: Use true-drawn when available Use in headlines, subheads, and text Small Caps are letters at the beginning of the paragraph that are lead-ins smaller than the cap height. Example: small caps Use for abbreviations Initial Cap: is a capital letter or word at the beginning of a sentence and paragraph. Example: INITIAL CAP


Text Alignment Flush Left

Flush Right

The most common setting for Latin Alphabets such as ours, this is the style that is most readable because our eyes are the most used to it.


Centered Type

Used to create a block of text so that both margins align. When lines of type are stretched this way, the color, texture, and readability of the type can be degraded tremendously by the white space that is inserted to align both e d g e s .

Wrap around type nd the contour rou

hic element. grap

This style can be very effective for short blocks of copy, such as headlines, subheads, titles, invitations, announcements, and poetry.

Contoured Type

This is type that aligns a

of an illustration, photo or


A more difficult text to read since our eyes want to read from left to right, this should only be used when a specific design objective is desired.

Align to a particular shape for aesthetic purpose

Widows & Orphans Widow-

Short line at the end of a paragraph (one to two words) Example: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ex tortor, pellentesque at luctus sit amet, finibus in eros. Nullam commodo porttitor erat ac venenatis. Nullam sit amet pharetra sem.


A single word or sentence appearing at the beginning or end of a column or page. Example: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed ex tortor, pellentesque at luctus sit amet, finibus in eros. Nullam commodo porttitor erat ac venenatis. Nullam sit amet pharetra sem. Ut pretium ex at gravida tristique. Proin iaculis semper orci, nec elementum diam ultricies eget. 11

Hyphens & Dashes Hyphens (-)

Used to hyphenate words that break at the end of a line/sentence or to connect different sections of a compound word.

When using a hyphen consider the following... One-Three per paragraphs No more than two in a row Use manual adjustments as necessary

En Dash (–)

Medium in length Least commonly used Indicates ranges: time, years, dates, numbers etc.

Em Dash (—)

Longest in length Indicates a new thought in a sentence Do not create it by using two hyphens


Kerning, Tracking & Leading Kerning

Kerning is the adjustment of space between two characters. Kerning pairs built into fonts Elements that need kerning: Display, Punctuation, and Numbers Example:

K Erning


Tracking is adjusting the overall space between two letters in a block of text. Smaller text needs positive tracking Larger text needs negative tracking Example:



Leading is the vertical space between lines of type from baseline to baseline. Too much leading can make text hard to read Leading depends on your amount of copy and your layout Example:

Leading leading leading


Do’s & Don’t’s Do’s Leave white (negative) space Consider how design will be seen or used Get familiar with a few typefaces or type families Consider production issues Consider the size of your type Consider hierarchy of type Consider legibility


DON’T set copy to fit…unless it has meaning DON’T tint type with thin strokes DON’T distort type DON’T skip proofing DON’T use low opacities DON’T use too many typefaces


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