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Tag: typography terms

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.

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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. […]

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eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 5: Diminuendo, and the Future—by Paul Dean Read Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4 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 […]

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eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 4: Numerals and Punctuation—by Paul Dean Read Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 “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 […]

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eXtreme Type Terminology

Part Three: The ‘Black Art’ — Paul Dean Read Part 1; Part 2; Part 4; Part 5 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 […]

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eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 2: Anatomy of a Letterform—by Paul Dean Read Part 1; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5 “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, […]

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eXtreme Type Terminology

Part 1: The Detection of Types—by Paul Dean Read Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5 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.

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Small Caps

by Alec Julien Small caps are uppercase glyphs drawn at a lowercase scale. A common misconception—unfortunately reinforced by most word processing programs as well as by CSS on the web—is that a small cap is just a regular capital letter scaled uniformly down to a smaller size. In actuality, a proper small cap is a […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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