Anatomy of a typeface 2

Lately I’ve catch myself writing more and more about Typography, and the great thing is that readers are getting engaged in this subject, everybody is posting comments, ideas and suggestions. Thanks for doing it and feel free to keep on writing.

In my last post; More typography, anatomy of a typeface we learn some of the parts and proper terms of the basic typefaces. Today we will see more of the “complex” anatomy of typefaces.

Ear

Ear – A small stroke projecting from the upper right bowl of some lowercase g’s.

 

Finial

 

Finial – A tapered or curved end.

 

Hairline

 

Hairline – The thin strokes of a serif typeface.

 

Ligature

 

Ligature – Two or more letters are joined together to form one glyph.

 

Link

 

Link – A stroke that connects the top and bottom bowls of lowercase double-story g’s.

 

Understanding the anatomy of a font can be useful, particularly when a designer is trying to put a name to an unidentified typeface or manage many different fonts.

Loop

Loop – The enclosed or partially enclosed counter below the baseline of a double-story g.

 

Lowercase

 

Lowercase – The smaller form of letters in a typeface.

 

Serif

 

Serif – “Feet” or non-structural details at the ends of some strokes.

 

Shoulder

 

Shoulder – A curved stroke originating from a stem.

 

Small Caps

 

Small caps – Uppercase characters that appear as a smaller size than the capital height of a typeface. Short for “small capitals”.

Many graphic designers will use a wide range of fonts without fully appreciating the different aspects that make them up. Understanding the anatomy of a font can make it easier to distinguish between different, but similar looking fonts. You may also find yourself making more discerning font choices.

Spine

 

Spine – The main curved stroke for a capital and lowercase s.

 

Spur

 

Spur – A small projection from a curved stroke.

 

Stem

 

Stem – Primary vertical stroke.

 

Tail

 

Tail – A descending stroke, often decorative.

 

Terminal

 

Terminal – The end of a stroke that lacks a serif.

 

It isn’t necessary to commit the entire list to memory, but familiarizing yourself with this terminology will make it easier to communicate about typefaces and their characteristics. It will also help educate your eye to recognize the underlying structure of various designs and the differences among them.

Uppercase

 

Uppercase – A letter or group of letters of the size and form generally used to begin sentences and proper nouns. Also known as “capital letters”.

x-height

x-height – The height of the main body of a lowercase letter.

 

What other parts of a typeface do you know? How knowing the parts of a typeface helped you in your designs?