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Typography Handbook Lindsey Wiles

History of Typography Table of Contents History of Typography Classification of Typography

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Legibility and Readability


Widows and Orphans


Emphasis Techniques


Hyphens and Dashes


Text Alignment


Font Formats


Kerning, Tracking, and Leading


Anatomy of Type


Do’s and Don’ts


• 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 and1545 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. • 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) o Invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler o Lines of type, no more single letters o 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) o 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

Classification of Typography • Calligraphic

o 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 o 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 o 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 o 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. • Transitional o 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.

Classification of Typography • Modern o 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 o 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. • Sans-Serif o 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 o 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. • Transitional o Closely related to the characteristics of transitional serifed typefaces, these typefaces include a more upright axis and a uniform stroke. Example: Helvetica. • Geometric o 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 o 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 o 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.

Classification Continued

Emphasis Techniques

• Decorative o 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

• Bold o Weight contrast is a good efficient contrast, changing the line weight can enhance type a way can get the point across. • Italics o The most common use of emphasis, it is used as text and also display fonts. Used mainly for soft emphasis. • Underscores o Though week, they are a form of emphasis usually associated with text books, and other book products. • Point Size o Varying the point size should also be used sparingly. It is best used for subheads, and other stand-alone phrases. A • Caps o Initial Cap: is a capital letter or word at the beginning of a sentence and paragraph. o Small Caps: are letters at the beginning of the paragraph that are smaller than the cap height Hints for Small Caps: he beginning • Use true-drawn when available The beginning • Use in headlines, subheads, and text lead-ins • Use for abbreviations

BOLD Italics

Legibility and Readability


• Legibility o 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 o Referring to the arrangement, size, line length and other factors that might affect someone who is trying to read your add or other product.

Widows and Orphans



Hyphens and Dashes

• Widow o Short line at the end of a paragraph (one to two words) Example: The widow is a short line at the end of a paragraph. The widow is a short line at the end of a paragraph. The widow is a short line at the end of a paragraph. • Orphan o A single word or sentence appearing at the beginning or end of a column or page Example: An orphan is a single word or sentence appearing at the beginning or end of a column or page. An orphan is a single word or sentence appearing at the beginning or end of a column or page. An orphan is a single word or sentence appearing at the beginning or end of a column

or page.

• Hyphens (-) o are used to hyphenate words that break at the end of a line/sentence or to connect different sections of a compound word o 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 (–) o Medium in length o Least commonly used o Indicates ranges: time, years, dates, numbers etc. • Em Dash (—) o Longest in length o Indicates a new thought in a sentence o Do not create it by using two hyphens

Text Alignment

Font Formats

• Flush Left o The most common setting for latin alphabets such as ours, this is the style that is most readable flush left, flush left, because our eyes are the most used to it. flush left, flush left flush • Flush Right o A more difficult text to read since our eyes want to read from left to right, this should only be flush right, flush right, used when a specific design objective is desired. flush right, flush right • Justified, or flush left and right o 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 justified, justified, justi that is inserted to align both edges. fied, justified, justified • Centered type o This style can be very effective for short blocks of copy, such as headlines, subheads, titles, invitations, announcements, and poetry. centered text, centered text • Wrap around type o This is type that aligns around the contour of an illustration, photo or graphic element.

• Open Type

• Contoured type o Align to a particular shape for aesthetic purpose

Wrap around wrap around wrap around wrap around wrap around wrap around wrap around Contoured Contoured Contoured Contoured

Font Formats • Type 1 o Postscript file, Reliable o Used by Graphic Designers o Former industry standards o 256 available characters and fonts o Two components • Screen Font (bitemap) • Printer Font (outline) • True Type o Windows Standard o System fonts (arial, verdana, tahoma) o Used by web designers o 256 available o One file contains both screen and printer o Hinting technology o Not as reliable as Type 1

o New Industry Standard o Enhanced mix of Type 1 and True Type o One File contains both screen and printer fonts o Includes more than 65,000 characters o Foundries are recreating fonts in Open Type Format o Multi-platform support o Expanded character sets o Glyph substitutions

Kerning, Tracking, and Leading • Kerning o Is the adjustment of space between two characters o Kerning pairs built into fonts o Elements that need kerning: Display, Punctuation, and Numbers


• Tracking o Is adjusting the overall space between two letters in a block of text o Smaller text needs positive tracking o Larger text needs negative tracking


• Leading o Is the vertical space between lines of type from baseline to baseline o Too much leading can make text hard to read o Leading depends on your amount of copy and your layout

Space Between Lines

Space Between Lines

Anatomy of Type cap height crossbar


Do’s and Don’ts

counter ear terminal



Typography ascender line mean line



descender link loop serif

descender line


Cap Height: the height of a capital letter measured from the baseline to the top of the letter Crossbar: horizontal stroke in a letter Acender Line: invisible line marking the height of ascenders Mean Line: imaginary line running along the top of non-ascending, lowercase letters Counter: the open space in a partly or fully closed letter in a letter Ear: small stroke extending from the upper-right side of the bowl Terminal: end of a stroke that does not include a serif Bowl: fully closed and rounded part of a letter Shoulder: curved stroke aiming downward from a stem Tail: descending stroke, often decorative Descender: part of the letters that extends below the baseline Link: connection between loop and bowl of a double-story letter Loop: enclosed or partially enclosed counter below the baseline Lobe: rounded projecting stoke attached to the main structure of a letter Serif: stroke added as a stop to the beginning and end of the main strokes of a character Baseline: invisible line where all characters sit Descender Line: the invisible line marking the lowest point of the descenders X-Height: height measured between the mean line and baseline


• Do’s o Leave white (negative) space o Consider how design will be seen or used o Get familiar with a few typefaces or type families o Consider production issues o Consider the size of your type • Don’ts o DON’T set copy to fit…unless it has meaning o DON’T tint type with thin strokes o DON’T distort type o DON’T skip proofing Words of advice! o DO consider the readibility of your text o DO receive feedback before finalizing your work! o DON’T rush your work, it will show in your final product! o DON’T be afraid to experiment with fonts

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