Some Common Typography Terms

There’s no doubt text is powerful, from anything to a calling card, a sign for a business and everything in between – it’s a way to send your message.How that message is displayed affects how the reader reacts.  A message that looks nice and friendly will normally produce a positive response.  A difficult to read message is annoying or creates a negative impression.The art of displaying these messages is called typography – the trick is to create a format that helps deliver whatever message you are trying to convey.

Introduction to Typography

One of the most important things to learn is that of the definitions and terms that are used.The Point Size refers to the physical size of the text.When you hear people refer to the X height, this is the height of main character body,  this doesn’t include the bit above and below the line – e.g y.The base line is the virtual line on which the text is aligned.



You’ll sometimes hear the expression – Font family which refers to the actual design, where as the style refers to variations within a specific style such as regular, bold, italic etc.

There are also categories within different fonts, take for example serif – this has lines whcih extend from each character – e.g Times Roman, the ones without the little lines are called Sans Serif – e.g Helvetica.To make it more confusing there are other categories like slab serif which have other variations liek a thicker line.

If you come across the term ’tracking’ it refers to the spacing between each letter. You can modify tracking to suit your needs, perhaps to fit in a word in a small area or keep words together.  Anything really to help improve your design.

It’s important that you pick the right fonts to convey your message, selling fonts and those promoting products tend to be bolder and more visual. This site is trying to sell a product in order to access TV like this, notice how the fonts are simple and bold.   The idea is to focus on the words and the message, not the overall design too much.

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