Typeface basics
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Typeface Basics. Glossary 1. Ascenders: Strokes of letters that rise above the mean line of type (b, d, f, h, k, l, t). Descenders: Strokes of letters that fall below the baseline (g, j, p, q, y)

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Glossary 1
Glossary 1

Ascenders:Strokes of letters that rise above the mean line of type (b, d, f, h, k, l, t).

Descenders: Strokes of letters that fall below the baseline (g, j, p, q, y)

x-height:The height of the main body of the lowercase letters. Most sans serifs have large x-heights.

Glossary 2
Glossary 2

Type families (sometimes referred to as font):Versatile faces such as Garamond, Franklin Gothic, Futura, etc. offer several variations of weight and posture in the same typeface.

Display type:Point sizes 14 point and above.

Width rule:When copy gets too wide, readability drops off. The rule is that copy should be no wider than an alphabet and a half or 39 characters.

Measuring type
Measuring Type

  • Type is measured in points.

  • 72 points = 1 inch,

  • 72-pt. type is 1 inch tall, measured from the top of the ascender to the bottom of the descender.

  • ½-inch = 36-pt.

  • ¼-inch = 18-pt.

  • No letter has both an ascender and a descender; however in any given typeface and size, the length of the ascender and descender are the same.

Type anatomy
Type Anatomy

  • Ascender

  • Baseline

  • Cap Line

  • Counter

  • Descender

  • Mean Line

  • Serif

  • x-height

Tip 1 pair personality to purpose
Tip #1. Pair personality to purpose.

  • Keep in mind the message you are trying to communicate with your type.

  • Sports, even women's sports, do not lend themselves to feminine script, for example.

Getting down, dirty girls rugby gaining popularity


Getting down, dirty girls rugby gaining popularity

Tip 2 when working with type more type families are not better
Tip #2. When working with type, more type families are not better.

  • Limiting type to no more than three font family for the entire book is a growing trend. 

  • When combining type for headlines, remember two’s company, three’s a crowd. 

  • Limit spread designs to one distinct type supported by something simple.

A family of fonts is composed of different styles.

Font 1 reading pull down information
Font #1: Reading pull-down information

Font Family

Myriad Pro

  • Styles of font in family

    • Light

    • Condensed 

    • Bold

  • Format of font

    • TrueType

    • Postscript

    • Open Type (best)

Font 2 classifications of font families
Font #2:Classifications of font families

6 basic font classes

  • Serif

    • Old Style

    • Transitional

    • Modern

    • Slab Serif

  • Sans Serif

    (sans = without)

  • Script

    • Blackletter

  • Display / Decorative

  • Monospaced

  • Dingbat

Font 3 serifs
Font #3:Serifs

Serifsare in red

  • Serifsare easier to read than sans serifs.

  • Use a serif font forbody copy (text), as a general rule. 

  • Baskerville

  • Bernhard Modern

  • Courier Standard

  • Garamond

  • Georgia

  • Minion Pro

  • Palatino

  • Times New Roman

Examples Of Serif Fonts:

Font 4 sans serifs
Font #4:Sans serifs


Arial Rounded MT

Comic Sans MS



Letter Gothic Std

Lucia San

Myriad Pro

News Gothic MT

Stone Sans ITC TT


  • These are less legible than serifs.

  • Use sans serif fonts for primary headlines or captions as a general rule.

Examples of

Sans Serif Font Families

Font 5 script

Examples Of Script Font Families:

Font #5: Script


  • harder to read.

  • used aslarge text only.

  • forspecial cases only.

  • Bickham Script Pro

  • Brush Script Std.

  • Caflisch Script Pro

  • Dickens Script SSK

  • Edwardian Script ITC

  • Handwriting — Dakota

  • Lucida Blackletter

  • Lucida Handwriting

  • Medici Script

  • Old English Text

  • Learning Curve

  • Snell Roundhand

Font 6 display decorative fonts
Font #6: Display / Decorative Fonts

  • Displayfontsare:

  • harder to read

  • used aslarge text only

  • forspecial cases only

  • 1942 Report

  • AbecedarianZo

  • Attic

  • Bauhaus 93

  • Big Apple

  • BonezDisplayCap

  • Copacabana

  • Cracked

  • Deco Card

  • EcentricStdG

  • Fashion Victim

  • Flower Child Caps

  • Flower Child SSK

  • Giddyup Std

  • Hobo Std

Examples Of Display Families:

Font 6 display decorative fonts1
Font #6: Display / Decorative Fonts

Examples Of Display Families:

  • Kidz Only Too SSK

  • Jellyka Castle’s Queen

  • My Stuff Caps

  • Toy Train

  • Quetzalcoatl

  • Racpmteir NF

  • Rain Dance SSK

  • Raindrop SSK — Bold

  • Salsa

  • Sand

  • Stencil Std


  • Vintage Typewriter SSK

  • Voco Script SSK

  • Zapato SSK

  • Zapito SSK

  • Zorba

Font 7 monospace fonts
Font #7: Monospace Fonts

Examples Of Monospace Families:


  • Are also called "fixed pitch" fonts

  • Have characters that all have the same character width

  • Originally were designed for typewriters

  • Used with computer source code

  • Andale Mono

  • Courier New

  • Letter Gothic Std

  • Lucinda Console

  • Lucinda Sans Typewriter

  • Monaco

  • ORC A

  • Prestige Elite Std

Font 8 dingbat fonts
Font #8: Dingbat Fonts

  • Also known as a "printer's ornament" or "printer's character.”

  • Describe fonts with symbols and shapes in the positions designated for alphabetical or numeric characters.

  • Dingbatfontsare:

Font 9 dingbat fonts
Font #9: Dingbat Fonts

  • Glyphsare:

An ornament, a character or spacer used in typesetting.

Font 10 dingbat fonts
Font #10: Dingbat Fonts

Typical Examples Of Display Families:

  • MT Extra abcdefg

  • MS Reference Specialty ABCDE

  • Webdingsabcdefg

  • Wingdings abcdefg

  • Wingdings3 abcdefg

  • Zapf Dingbats abcdefg

Font 11 dingbat fonts
Font #11: Dingbat Fonts

Fun Examples Of Display Families:

  • AmphibiPrint abcdefg

  • Carta abcdefg

  • Face it! Abcdefg

  • Face Off! Abcdefg

  • Mickey Mousebats ABCDEFGH

  • RoadSign abcdefg

  • RoadWarningSign abcdefg

  • WWFlakes abcdefghijklm

Font 12 remember
Font #12:Remember

  • The more unusual the type, the lower the readability.

  • Pick your fonts carefully.

Tip 3 avoid using all capitals
Tip #3. Avoid using all capitals.

  •  That doesn’t mean you can never use all caps. 

  •  Just realize all capital letters reduces readability. 

  •  Use all caps only when you have a specific design purpose in mind.

  •  Especially avoid using all capitals in a script face. 

  •  Your readability dropsto about zero.

Tip 4 pay attention to relationships when combining type
Tip #4. Pay attention to relationships when combining type.

  • If elements are not the same, they should be very different.

  • Remember, like the perfect marriage, types need to either be very similar or fairly opposite. 

  • Contrast type in size, weight, form and structure.

  • The combinations you form should communicate, not confuse the reader. 


Verdana boldfor heads

Georgia for text 

= good contrast 

Verdana bold for heads Trebuchet for text

= not enough contrast

Tip 5 some types just don t mix
Tip #5. Some types just don’t mix.

  • Don't use two scripts or a script and an italic together. 

  • They usually have the same form and so they conflict with each other rather than contrast.

  • Never use two types from the same category (for example: Script, Decorative) together.

Don't Do

Don't Do

Tip 6 don t abuse type through manipulation
Tip #6. Don’t abuse type through manipulation

  • Purpose is to communicate type helps do that. 

  • Don’t manipulate type to fit your design by adjusting leading and width.  

  • Instead, edit the copy or find a word that fits the headline space.

  • Once established within a section, type size, leading and width should remain consistent.

Tip 7 complement your knowledge of fonts with your knowledge of design
Tip #7. Complement your knowledge of fonts with your knowledge of design.

  • Use of effectively planned white space and color can enhance your use of type. 

  • Place type on the page to create entry points for your reader.

Tip 8 learn more from the experts
Tip #8. Learn more from the experts.

  • Magazines like Before & After and Dynamic Graphics have information and advice. 

  • Check out books like The Non-Designers Design Book by design experts like Robin Williams. 

  • Many of these tips come from her. 

  • For more technical information, check out her Non-Designers Type Book.

  • Browse the bookstores and stock up on magazines that use type effectively so you can build a library of ideas.