10 Typography Terms That Every Designer Needs To Know

10:06:00 PM

01. Contrast
Some fonts work together better than others
This is a generally subjective feeling that certain different fonts work together well, giving an impression of variety without losing harmony in the overall piece. Within a particular font, contrast also refers to the variety of stroke thicknesses that make up the characters.

02. Serif vs sans serif
Serifs are the semi-structural details on the ends of some strokes of letters and symbols; typefaces without these projections are known as sans serif.
In print, sans serif fonts were more typically used for headlines than for body text - with serif fonts known for better 'guiding' of readers through blocks of text - though that rule has long been broken. 

03. Tracking
Tracking is the amount of space between letters in a complete word or sentence. It's more of a computer term that is traditionally known as letter-spacing. 

04. Kerning
Kerning is about controlling the spaces between letters - that includes those between words
Kerning describes the act of adjusting the space between characters (including those beween the words) to create a harmonious pairing. For example, where an uppercase 'A' meets an uppercase 'V', their diagonal strokes are usually kerned so that the top left of the 'V' sits above the bottom right of the 'A'.
Kerning and tracking (see 03.) are sometimes used interchangeably by people who don't really understand typography. Tracking is different as it relates to the spacing of ALL characters and is applied evenly.

05. Leading
Leading describes the vertical space between each line of type. The term derives from the days when strips of lead were used to separate lines of type in the days of metal typesetting.

06. White space
Graphic designer Peter Crnokak describes this as "airiness" - the portions of blank space used in page layout to enable the text and other furniture to breathe. It's a crucial tool to consider in typeface design as well as graphic and layout design.

07. Dingbat
Once known as printer's flowers, dingbats are decorative elements that can vary from simple bullets to delicate fauna and flora often formed into themed collections. Most popular is Zapf Dingbats, but there are many alternatives. Dingbats are often referred to as 'symbol fonts' - we've collected the best free ones on the web in this article.

08. Justified
In a paragraph of justified text, the contents are arranged so that there is no white space at the end of a line: each begins flush left and finishes flush right.

09. Baseline grid
The baseline is the line upon which most let­ters sit and below which des­cend­ers (such as the lower loop of a 'g') extend. The baseline grid is a tool for graphic designers and web designers that helps them align all text so that it flows smoothly. The baseline grid ensures your text has the correct lead­ing and is vital in any lay­out that uses columns.

10. @font-face
Web fonts allow greater typographic diversity on the web
@font-face is the CSS3 rule that means web designers no longer have to use one of the traditional "web-safe" fonts. 

You Might Also Like



Subscribe to the Mailing List

Like me on Facebook

Recent Tweets