NOTES ON TYPE:

COOL DEFINITIONS FOR FUNKY WORDS USED IN THE BOOK

A

 

alphabet: a system of visual symbols representing the essential sound of language
 

aperture: a partially-enclosed space in that exists in some letterforms, such as lowercase n, e, or double-storey a, a capital C or S; a type of counter

 

apex: the point where two strokes meet at the top of a letterform, such as on a capital A

 

arc of stem: a rounded or curved stroke flowing from a straight stem of a letterform; also Joan of Arc’s favorite part of a letterform

 

arm: a horizontal, vertical, or angled stroke that does not connect to another stroke on one or both ends

 

ascender: a part of a lowercase (small) letterform that extends upward past the x-height

 

Aviator, the: see John Weigele

 

axis (also stress): the alignment of the thin stroke of a letterform

 

 

 

 

B

 

barb: a half-serif extending from a curved stroke

 

baseline: the implied line on which letterforms sit in a line of type

 

beak: a half-serif extending from a straight stroke

 

black: typestyle featuring thicker strokes than bold

 

Blackletter:  an elegantly vertical, calligraphic style of letter written with a flat-edged pen

 

bold: typestyle featuring thicker strokes than a regular or roman

 

bowl: the completely enclosed space (counter) of some letterforms, including lowercase o and b or capital B and D

 

bracket: the angled or cupped extensions that connect a serif to a stroke

 

butt: ha, ha… we made you say “butt”

 

 

 

 

C

 

calligrapher: maker of beautiful handwriting

 

calligraphy: literally translated, “beautiful handwriting”; the practice writing letterforms with a pen or brush in a continuous movement, often associated with official documents and formal celebrations

 

caption: a small body of text that identifies or explains an image, such as a photo or graphic

 

cap height: the vertical measure (height) of a capital (uppercase) letter

 

capital (also large or uppercase): majuscule letterform

 

capline: a line denoting the height of a capital (uppercase) letter

 

Carolingian minuscule: uniform style of writing, decreed by Charlemagne

 

character: letterform, punctuation, number, and any other typographic symbol

 

Christopher: see awesome

 

Clarendon (also grotesque slab): variation of slab serif type classification, with some thick-thin stroke contrast, bracketed serifs, and often ball terminals

 

condensed: typestyle of narrower-proportioned letterforms than a regular or roman

 

counter (also counterform): the negative shapes formed by partially or completely enclosed letterforms, such as in O, g, B, D, etc.

 

crossbar: the horizontal stroke of a letterform

 

cross stroke: a short horizontal that intersects with the stem of a lowercase t or f

 

crotch: the inside angle were two strokes of a letterform meet

 

 

 

 

D

 

decorative: specialty type classification for letterforms whose main characteristic is decorative graphical embellishment

 

descender: a part of a letterform that extends below the baseline

 

diacritic: an additional mark or stroke, usually atop or below a letterform, such as an accent, umlaut, or tilde

 

display type: type for headlines and subheads, usually set in about 12pt to 72pt

 

donut (also doughnut): Margaret Grzymkowski’s favorite food

 

drop cap: an enlarged capital letter at the start of a paragraph that pushes into a paragraph of text

 

 

 

 

E

 

ear: a small decorative stroke, commonly found on the upper right of a lowercase g and sometimes lowercase r

 

Egyptian (also geometric slab): variation of slab serif type classification, with little or no thick-thin stroke contrast and extremely heavy serifs with little or no bracketing

 

Egyptian informal (hieratic) cursive: a writing system implemented on papyrus (a plant) and created with ink and a brush

 

extended: typestyle of wider-proportioned letterforms than a regular or roman

 

eye: the enclosed space in a lowercase e

 

 

 

 

F

 

family (also type family): all the styles designed for a single typeface

 

finial: another term for the group of terminals that includes beaks, barbs, and swashes

 

flag: the horizontal stroke atop the numeral 5

 

font (also type font): the physical or digital delivery system of a typeface, serving up a complete set of glyphs, including all the letterforms, numbers, punctuation marks, and any other signs and symbols

 

Fraktur: variation of Gothic letterforms, decorative with flourishes

 

Frankfurter (also hot dog): a tasty lunch or dinner, especially at Yankee stadium

 

Friedman: (from the Jewish [Ashkenazic]): 1. Yiddish frid, meaning peace.  2. Designer, illustrator.  3. Doodle Boy.

 

 

 

 

G

 

Garalde: variation of roman (Old Style) type classification, with an axis that inclines to the left, a contrast in thin and thick strokes, and bracketed serifs

 

geometric:  variation of sans serif type classification that represents the break from shapes derived from handwriting (with thick-thin strokes) in favor of pure geometry. Vertical axes, little or no thick-thin stroke contrast, single-storey lowercase a

 

glyph: any iteration of a character

 

glyph shape: the character and the space around the character

 

glyph space: the space surrounding a single letterform

 

Gonnella: (from the Italian) 1. Tunic, cloak, mantle, later skirt. also taken with the given name Rose, little pink skirt.  2. Author, designer.  3. The Queen.

 

Gothic: type classification for letterforms based on medieval manuscript Blackletter, featuring a vertical orientation, heavy stroke weight, and condensed form

 

grid: a visual system or template on which to organize text into an easily recognized, cohesive structure

 

grotesque: variation of sans serif type classification, with sleeker style and machine-like, industrial qualities. Vertical axes, absence of thick-thin stroke contrast, horizontal terminals, closed apertures, and curved legs

 

 

 

 

H

 

half–uncials: letterforms including pronounced ascenders and descenders, first in use by the Roman Catholic Church

 

handmade: specialty type classification for letterforms meant to emulate handwriting or hand script

 

handwriting: the practice of writing letterforms by hand, often with a pen or pencil

 

hatch marks: straight “quotes” used for designating measurement in inches and feet height: the vertical measurement from the top of a capital letter to slightly past the lowest descender

 

hieroglyphs: the formal written language of the Ancient Egyptians, consisting of several kinds of glyphs that are phonetic (representing speech sounds) and ideographic (things or ideas).  also An ancient comic strip about a character named "Sphynxie" (Thank you, Nora Ephron)

 

Humanist: variation of sans serif type classification, inspired by Old Style forms. Angled axies, thick-thin stroke contrast, sometimes featuring flared terminals

 

 

 

 

I

 

indent: method of designating a new paragraph of text by creating a small blank space at the start of a paragraph

 

initial cap: an enlarged capital letter at the start of a paragraph that extends outside of a paragraph of text

 

italic: type style derived from handwriting; usually slanted counterparts to romans, but often featuring different styles of serifs and terminals

 

 

 

 

J

 

j (also J): a very lonely letter, as we have no vocab words that start with this letter; also Christopher’s middle initial— so that’s something

 

 

 

 

K

 

kerning: the precise adjustment of space between two letterforms. Kerning is generally determined by the typeface designer (kerning table or metric kerning), or by the layout software (optical kerning), or done manually by a typographer

 

keming: the result of improper kerning

 

 

 

 

L

 

leading (also line spacing): the measure of vertical space from the baseline of one line of text to the next line

 

leg: the lower angled stroke on a lowercase or capital K and capital R

 

legibility: the relative quality of a typeface’s or letterform’s design that determines if it is identifiable or recognizable

 

letter: represents a spoken sound

 

letterer: designer of custom-made letterforms

 

letterform: the visual shape of a spoken sound

 

lettering: carefully-designed and drawn letterforms, created for one-of-a-kind use (even though they may be disseminated through mass reproduction)

 

ligature: two or more characters joined together, forming one glyph

lining numerals: numbers uniform in height and are the same size of capital letters

 

link: the stroke connecting the bowl and loop of a double-storey lowercase g; also Link: the hero of Hyrule and friend of Princess Zelda

 

line break: method of designating a new paragraph of text by creating a blank line between one paragraph and the next

 

Linotype: a method of printing type, in common use for newspapers, magazines, and posters, etc. from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries. The name Linotype was derived from that fact that the machine used to produce the type created an entire line of type at once (a line o' type), as opposed to one character at a time

 

loop: the enclosed or partially enclosed rounded descender of a lowercase g

 

lowercase (also small): minuscule letterform

 

 

 

 

M

 

majuscule:  formal inscribed Roman capital letterforms

 

margin: the frame or border that defines and contains the body text and other visual elements in a typographic composition

 

Max: ginger doodler

 

megafamily (also superfamily): an extended type family featuring more complex features than a standard family; can include both serif and sans serif versions of the typeface

 

minuscule: rounded, cursive letterforms derived from Roman handwriting

 

Modern (also Modern roman): type classification for letterforms originating in the neoclassical and industrial era. Vertical axes, highly contrasting thick and thin strokes, serifs often without brackets

 

 

 

 

N

 

Navetta: (from the Italian) 1. shuttle, a device that holds the horizontal thread and passes it through the vertical threads in weaving.  2. vehicle, such as a ship, that transports people over a short route.  3. Author, designer, sabersmith.  4. Scanman.

 

Non-lining (also Old Style) numerals: numbers with ascenders and descenders

 

 

 

 

O

 

oblique: type style that slants the basic roman form

 

Old Style (also Old Style roman): type classification of letterforms based on ancient Roman (roman) shapes, derived from 15th century minuscule forms, written with varying stroke thickness made by an obliquely-held flat pen

 

outdent (also hanging indent): method of designating a new paragraph of text by starting the first line pushed out from the rest of the body of text

 

 

 

 

P

 

parchment: a writing surface made from animal skins; allows for smooth writing with a brush or a flat, reed pen

 

penmanship: skill in the practice of handwriting

 

Perfecta (or Princess Perfecta): see Margaret Grzymkowski

 

pica: a unit of measurement in typography, commonly used for line length or column width

 

point (also pt): a unit of measurement for type size, originally based on the height of a metal type slug

 

proportion: the height-to-width relationship within a letterfrom. Two general proportions are component, in which widths vary noticeably; and even-width, in which letterform width varies as little as possible

 

punchcutting: hand-cutting letterforms into blocks of metal

 

 

 

 

Q

 

Q: lead designer, inventor, and armorer of Q Branch; ally to James Bond

 

 

 

 

R

 

Rational: letterform with a vertical axis or stress

 

readability: the relative visual quality of a type layout, determining if the text is easy to follow and understand

 

rivers: awkward negative spaces running through a body of text, created as a result of poor tracking

 

Roman: originating from, related to, or derived from the city of Rome.  also Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Hispano-Roman legatus and general of the Felix Legions, forced into becoming a slave by the Emperor Commodus, and who subsequently sought revenge against said emperor.

 

roman (also regular): the basic, upright, medium-weight, medium-width style of a typeface

 

Rose: by any other name would smell as sweet

 

Rotunda: rounded variation of Gothic minuscule letterforms

 

Roy (also Roy G. Biv): design enthusiast and Design Fundamentals mascot

 

 

 

 

S

 

sans serif: type classification for letterforms without serifs

 

Schwabacher: rounded, cursive variation of Gothic letterforms

 

script: type classification for letterforms that imitate handwriting. Letterforms are often joined. Scripts are subcategorized based on the writing tool they emulate, such as flat-edged pen, flexible pointed pen, and brush

 

semi-bold: typestyle featuring thicker strokes than a regular or roman yet thinner than bold

 

serif [letterform anatomy]: an extension projecting from the end of the main stroke of a letterform

 

serif [type classification]: type classification for letterforms that feature prominent, decorative serifs. Variations include Latin, slab, bifurcated, and Tuscan, among others

 

set width: the horizontal measure of a letterform, including a fraction of space beyond the letterform itself, creating space between two adjacent letterforms

 

slab serif: type classification for letterforms with a bold, industrial aesthetic, vertical axes, overall thick strokes and heavy (sometimes bracketed) serifs

 

small capitals: majuscule style of letterform designed to match the size of small letterforms, integrating well into a line of type

 

smart quotes (and apostrophes): curly quotation marks or apostrophes used for contractions and quotations

 

spine: the main (middle) curved stroke of a capital or lowercase S

 

spur: a small, ornamental projection from a main stroke. also spurs look cool on cowboy boots

 

stem: the main, usually vertical stroke of a letterform

 

stress (also axis): the alignment of the thin stroke of a letterform

 

stroke: any line that makes up a letterform, contributing to the letterform’s weight. Different strokes within the same letterform can vary in width. Different strokes are also for different folks.

 

stroke modulation: the variation of a letterform’s stroke from thick to thin

 

superfamily (also megafamily): an extended type family featuring more complex features than a standard family; can include both serif and sans serif versions of the typeface

 

swash: a delightfully exaggerated stroke, serif, terminal, or tail

 

 

 

 

T

 

terminal: the end of a stroke that doesn’t end with a serif

 

text type: type for bodies of reading text, body copy, and captions, usually set at about 5pt to 11pt

 

Textura: variation of European Gothic Blackletter style of letterform, used famously by Johannes Gutenberg

 

thin (also light): type style featuring strokes thinner than those of a regular or roman

 

tittle (also dot): a small diacritical mark atop a lowercase i or j

 

tracking (also letterspacing): the adjustment of space in a group of letters, such as a word, sentence, paragraph, column, etc.

 

Transitional (also Transitional roman): type classification for letterforms influenced by copperplate engraved letters and signifying a transition from Garalde to Modern, having characteristics of each. Axes incline to the left, contrast in thick and thin strokes, and bracketed serifs

 

type: a shape or design of letterforms, created for reproduction in print or on screen

 

type classification: system by which typefaces are categorized, providing a quick and (fairly) easy method of recognizing and selecting typefaces. The basis for typeface classifications is chronological order and the accompanying hallmark visual features

 

type designer: designer of letterforms and the spaces in between

 

typeface: a single, visually unified collection of characters, often named after designers, places, or in a visually-descriptive manner

 

type family (also family): all the styles designed for a single typeface

 

type foundry (also type house): studios that design and digitize type for mass distribution

 

type style: a variant of a typeface that differs in weight and/or stroke thickness, or stress, but not in its basic and characteristic design

 

typographer: a designer who composes with type

 

typographic color: the overall tone (lightness or darkness) of a body of text, created by factors such as tracking, leading, wordspacing, and weight of a typeface

 

typography: the design of words, sentences, paragraphs and columns, headlines, and captions on a screen or page

 

 

 

 

U

 

uncial: rounded letterforms that are freely-drawn majuscules

 

 

 

V

 

Venetian: variation of roman (Old Style) type classification, with an axis inclining to the left, no great contrast between thick and thin strokes, and bracketed serifs. also the type of blinds on my office windows

 

 

 

W

 

weight: the perceived visual heaviness of a letterform, usually dictated by the width of its stroke, ranging from thin or light to bold or black

 

words (also words, words, words): the matter that Hamlet reads

 

wordspace: the blank area between adjacent words in a line of text

 

 

 

X

 

x-height: the vertical measure of a typeface’s lowercase x

 

X-Wing: one-man starfighter craft, produced by the Incom Corporation; favored by the Rebel Alliance

 

 

 

Y

 

y: Because I said so. That’s why.

 

 

 

Z

 

zzzzzz (also sleep): what the authors, designers, and illustrators did not do while working on these books

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©2016 Rose Gonnella, Christopher J. Navetta, Max Friedman, Pearson Education, Peachpit. All Rights Reserved.