I Love Typography

The Typographic Desk Reference

A Brief review One can never have too many books about type and typography. One of the most recent additions to my own library is Theodore Rosendorf’s The Typographic Desk Reference or, if you’re in a hurry, simply TDR. From the outset it’s worth stressing that this is not a how-to book. It does not […]

Inconspicuous vertical metrics

by Alec Julien Five? There are generally taken to be five vertical measures of note in type design (from bottom to top): descender, baseline, midline*, caps-height, and ascender. But if you delve into the minutiae of font design, you soon discover that there are a slew of important vertical metrics that aren’t much talked about. […]

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 5:  Diminuendo, and the Future—by Paul Dean A TYPOGRAPHIC TRADITION since Roman times, diminuendo is a type arrangement in which a large letter or word leads the eye, gradually, to smaller and smaller words until a standard text size is established. An abbreviated diminuendo is still seen today in the initial cap or large […]

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 4:  Numerals and Punctuation—by Paul Dean “The very air of the room seemed charmingly alive with little floating dollar signs and fat little ciphers, commas, more ciphers, all winging around happily, waiting for a mere scratch of the pen to call them into action.” —Dawn Powell, Angels on Toast, 1938. The Roman alphabet came […]

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part Three: The ‘Black Art’—by Paul Dean An invisible grid of parallel horizontal lines is used as a constant reference in the creation of a font. It resembles a musical score and its four (or five) horizontal lines represent, from top to bottom, the ascender line (the height of the highest ascender), which is sometimes […]

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 2: Anatomy of a Letterform—by Paul Dean “I was killing time and pain at a nearby bar called The Ear, so named because the two ribs of the ‘B’ in the neon sign that read ‘Bar’ had burned out years ago. So had most of the patrons.”—Kinky Friedman, Blast From the Past, 1998. Just […]

eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 1: The Detection of Types—by Paul Dean The detection of types is one of the most elementary branches of knowledge to the special expert in crime.—The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1902. Our modern English alphabet is a child of the Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet, which evolved from a western version of the Greek […]

History of typography: Humanist

Incunabula Every subject, from dentistry to dog handling has its own vocabulary — terms that are peculiar (unique) to it. Typography is no exception. Learning the lingua franca (lingo) of type will make typography that much more accessible; and that will, in turn, lead to greater understanding, and hopefully a greater appreciation for all things […]

Apostrophes don’t swing both ways

By Julie Elman I admit it. I have a serious apostrophe pet peeve. I hate to see backwards apostrophes used in place of omitted letters. Example: I’m really into rock ‘n’ roll, especially from the ‘60s. Those reversed marks get me every time. Might as well just stick the sharp end of an apostrophe in […]

The Return of the Serif

Part Two In part one, Who Shot the Serif?, we learned among other things that serifs — like milkshakes — come in many flavours: The main two flavours are Adnate and Abrupt; with Adnate serifs generally being more organic; Abrupt Serifs on the other hand are usually squarer, bigger, chunkier (the Arnold Schwarzeneggers of the […]

Who shot the serif?

Typography Terms One of the reasons for starting this site was that I felt there just wasn’t enough being said about the topic. Secondly, and more significantly, I always found it difficult to quickly locate typographic resources. The long-term aim of this blog is to be such a resource, a one-stop-shop for everything about typography, […]

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