Terminology

  • typeface - a design for a set of characters
  • style - normal, bold, italic
  • font - a typeface of a particular style and size
  • serif - a small cross-stroke that adorns the line ends of a letter within a serif typeface
  • sans-serif - typefaces that do not have these strokes
  • leading - the measurement of space between lines
  • kerning - the measurement of space between two adjacent letters
  • em dash - a dash used to show and interruption in thought
  • en dash - a dash wider than a hyphen, used generally to indicate ranges of numerical values
  • point - the unit of measure for the height of type, defined as 1/72 of an inch* or 0.3527777778 mm (*small differences occur in this unit between countries, the variables lying between 0.188 and 0.4mm)
  • monospace - a font in which all characters are the same width
  • proportional-font - a font in which characters such as the lowercase letter 'i' is far narrower than others of its colleagues
  • x-height - in a given font, the height of the lowercase 'x' denoting the height of all letters within that font that do not have an 'ascender' or 'descender'
  • ascender - the part of a letter that reaches above the x-height line
  • descender - the part of a letter that reaches below the baseline
  • baseline - an imaginary line that most characters in a typeface rest upon
  • condensed - a narrow version of a font
  • ellipsis - the series of three dots (periods) in a row that indicates a word or phrase has been omitted
  • ligature - two or more letters that are grouped or 'tied' together, for example in some typefaces the 'fi' and 'oe' sequences overlapped which looked terrible, this is rectified by ligature.
  • rule - a line used to separate elements on a page
  • weight - indicated by terms such light, bold, strong and others, the weight of a font is simply its depth or darkness
  • WYSIWIG - an acronym for 'what you see is what you get' WYSIWIG displays are associated with editing software
  • italic - a version of a typeface that is slanted and script-like
  • oblique - similar to 'italic' in that the face is slanted, but not a true 'italic' as it lacks script
  • gothic - typefaces with a broad even stroke and no serif
  • typo - abbrev, typographical error, typically an error in typeset, but now commonly used to denote observation of a spelling error