a glossary of typographic terms
This glossary is a work in progress, so please excuse any omissions. If you’d like to help edit this glossary, then send me a message. To date, I have pretty much completed the As. Just B to Z to complete.
the shape given in a particular typeface to a specific grapheme or symbol. Most commonly glyphs are letters and numerals, but punctuation marks and symbols and shapes (e.g. ITC Zapf Dingbats) are also glyphs.
So, for example “fi” comprises two glyphs, namely “f” and “i”; however, they can be combined into a single “fi” glyph (in this instance the combination of “f” + “i” to form a single glyph, is know as a ligature).
Roughly speaking, one glyph usually corresponds to one character in a typeface; however, there are numerous instances when this is not strictly true. For example, the glyph “ö” is sometimes represented by two characters, one representing the “o”, the other representing the diacritical mark “¨”.