Cover by Ben Henick

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A Visual Glossary of Typography

Figure 12-1 shows a heap of terms that describe the parts and varieties of type, exploring the physiognomy of individual letters.

Typography jargon for letterforms

Figure 12-1. Typography jargon for letterforms

There are many more terms site stylists should be aware of:

Blackletter

A style of type inspired by German calligraphy of the late Middle Ages, and strongly identified with Germany to the present day. Sometimes called “Gothic,” but this is an anachronism (see the entry for Gothic).

Condensed

A style of sans-serif font distinguished from others in its typeface by its narrow and tightly spaced nature. Opposite of extended.

Copy

The generic term for a writer’s work product. Different from “text” since the latter refers only to nonnumeric data in the most general sense; all copy is text, but not all text is copy.

Diacritic

A glyph added to a letter to indicate altered inflection or pronunciation. Commonly encountered examples include the acute accent (´), umlaut (¨), and cedilla (¸).

Dingbats

A collection (usually comprising a well-populated font) of characters that are simple drawings (e.g., musical notes, circuitry symbols) rather than members of a standardized orthography.

Extended

The complement to condensed fonts. Letters are wider than in the normal fonts, and letterspacing is usually more generous. Also referred to as “wide” and/or “extra wide.”

Glyph

The atomic unit of a font, a single mark ...

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