Anatomy of Letters...
Follow this link and read the article called "Anatomy of Letters" by Adobe type designer Thomas Phinney: http://blog.webink.com/anatomy-of-letters/
For the purposes of this unit, you do not need to know all the different and unique parts of letters - I just wanted you to see how many different things are often considered in type design.
What you will be expected to know, however, are the following...
ANATOMY OF A LETTER:
• x-height – the size of the main body of a letter
• baseline – the line on which the letters of a word sits
• ascender – part of the letter that goes dramatically above the x-height
• descender – part of the letter that goes dramatically below the baseline.
• serif – the decorative element on the top / bottom of a letter. Seen in more traditional, Roman style fonts.
• sans-serif – letters that do not have decorative elements. More modern, simplified fonts are usually sans-serif.
• points – standard measurement for fonts. 1 point = 1/72 inch.
• picas - a measurement for use with larger lettering. 1 pica = 12 points.
Typography is an extremely important aspect of graphic design with a long history. Starting with handwritten forms, typography has always been used for legibility as well as aesthetic purposes. The variety of fonts available for everyday use by the consumer has increased with higher resolution computers and printers in the last 20 years.
SPACING OUT YOUR TEXT…
• leading – the space between lines of text
• kerning – individual spacing between two letters
• tracking – spacing of all letters / words in a line.
USING TYPOGRAPHY IN YOUR DESIGN…
Using CONCORDANT typefaces – When creating a design in which you want a feeling of unity, use the same typeface throughout (or font family). For variety, you can alter the size, width, colour, and orientation of the lettering within the design without losing unity.
Using CONTRASTING typefaces – When creating a design in which you want a feeling contrast or greater visual interest, use very different typefaces together. Think about opposites: wide vs. thin, large vs. small, decorative vs. plain, traditional vs. modern, or handwritten / script vs. precise font styles. The more contrast, the more dramatic.
DO NOT use similar fonts together – this common mistake looks wrong or, at best, unprofessional. The result is neither unified nor visually interesting.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF ALIGNMENT AND TEXT…
CENTRED - Lines of uneven length on a central axis. Centred text is formal and classical. At best, can look organic and elegant. At worst, can look depressing like a tombstone. Most of the time, centred text should be broken into phrases with a variety of long and short lines.
JUSTIFIED - Left and right edges are both even. Justified text makes a clean square shape on the page. At best, it makes efficient use of space – a standard for newspapers and books. At worst, can cause large gaps which can be avoided by using the appropriate text size for the line length.
FLUSH LEFT - Left edge is hard; right edge is soft. Flush left follows the organic flow of language. At best, avoids uneven spacing seen in justified text. At worst, can create an ugly wedge shape on the right side if not random enough.
FLUSH RIGHT - Right edge is hard; left edge is soft. Flush right can look fresh. At best, used for captions, side bards and margins – can show similarities between text. At worst, can also create a wedge on left and can look weaker with excessive punctuation.
ENLARGED CAPITALS – enlarged capitals, also known as versals, show the entrance to a chapter in a book or an article in a magazine. It is an invitation into a body of text. Based on manuscripts. This can sit on a baseline or cut into the text block by using a dropped cap.
TYPOGRAPHIC HIERARCHY – There are a variety of ways to emphasize and organize content such as spatial differences (indent, line spacing, placement) or graphic (size, style, colour).
Source: Lupton, Ellen. Thinking with Type: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. 2nd Edition. Princeton Architectural Press. New York. 2010.