Review of

Typography Basics
P 2011 Carlo Mostacci

Typeface Categories

There are many categories of typefaces, but for all practical purposes these five are the most important.

Ascenders & Descenders

Lower Shoulder

Upper Shoulder

Descender Line

Ascender: extension of a lowercase letter above the x-height. Descender: extension of a lowercase letter below the x-height.

Points, Picas & Inches






One Inch = 6 Picas 1 Pica = 12 Points One Inch = 72 Points Remember: 11/2 Picas = 1p6 = 1.5p


Type Size
Cap Line
0 12 24 36 48 60 72 84

Type Body

Ehxg Ehxg



0 12 24 36 48 84 60 72 84


Descender Line


The Type Size of any font is the distance of the type body; this encompasses the Shoulders, Cap Line, X-height and Descender Line.

Leading & Tracking
Tracking & Leading Examples Tracking & Leading Examples
0 tracking 18 pt. leading 28 pt. leading

Tracking & Leading Examples
-5/1000 em tracking

38 pt. leading

Tracking & Leading Examples
-15/1000 em tracking

Tracking is the technical term for space adjustment between more than two letters. Leading is the distance of type from baseline to baseline.


No Kerning

Kerning Applied

Technically speaking, the term kerning describes the removal of space between two letters to give them visual harmony.

Kerning Units—Em Quad

0 250 500 SEGMENTS 750 1000

Kerning & Tracking is measured in specified increments of an Em Quad. An Em Quad is a square measure of the point size in use.

Uppercase & Lowercase


How Do We Read?

Rscheearch dnoe at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy has sowhn taht the oredr of ltteers in a wrod deson’t mttaer – the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer in the wrod be in the rghit pclae. The rset of the wrod can be a taotl mses, but you can sitll raed it wtih ltilte ditficfuly. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter in a wrod by istlef, but rtaher itnrerepts the wrod as a wlohe igmae.

Typography & Impact

A Knowledge of typography will afford us many ways of communicating a thought—each giving its own unique expression!

Good Typography is Vital!
Part One: Develop Concepts
Graphic design presents you with tremendous challenges and opportunities. This is partly because there are no universal rules for graphic design. But there are guidelines that can be adapted to most situations. Together, these guidelines provide a framework for our design approach, ensuring that your publication receives the kind of attention it needs to transmit your message effectively.

Part Two: Establish a Format
Design for readability and uniqueness. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for readers to understand the points you’re trying to make. Format you publications for easy transitions from section to section. Never allow your reader to lose their way in the publication. Anything that interrupts smooth eye travel discourages readers from continuing. The format you establish will help you organize your material and add emphasis to important elements. Emphasis can only occur when words and ideas are contrasted against a continuing structure.

Part Three: Add Emphasis Where Needed
Use the tools of graphic emphasis to strengthen the communicating power of your publication. Design emphasis ensures that important ideas attract more attention than supporting arguments, examples and facts.

Type Size
Use large type to emphasize important ideas.

Part Four: Add the Finishing Touches


Be willing to experiment.
Although many feel graphic design is based on intuitive result of many alternate attempts at achieving a desired result. Professional graphic designers rarely solve design hours sketching out solutions that might work. Each sketch builds on the strengths of the previous sketch; eliminating the weak elements. Page layout programs permit you to follow this same procedure. On your computer screen, you can experiment with various arrangements of type and artwork and arrive at a visual solution that works. Without investing great amounts of money or time, you can easily try out various design solutions until you come up with the best one possible.

Start by creating a layout grid.

Type Style

Attention to detail is the hallmark of professional graphic design—it may mean the difference between a parts of your publication. Headlines should be larger high-quality publication and a mediocre one. than subheads. Subheads should be larger than body A little extra effort can help you avoid embarrassing copy. Body copy should be larger than captions and and expensive mistakes. Last-minute revisions can footnotes. reward you with a publication that is a pleasure to read instead of a struggle. Here are twelve ways to make sure you communicate as effectively as possible.

The layout grid is one of the most important formatting tools at your disposal. A grid consists of a series of non-

Vary type styles to emphasize important ideas.


Add emphasis to important ideas by setting headlines, placement of text and graphic elements that make up a subheads and body copy in variations Check for text and layout mistakes. of the typefaces printed page. Although these lines do not appear inn the you normally use. Always check your work—make certain that nothing printed version,, their impact can be felt in a publicaimportant has been omitted. Ensure that names, dates tion’s overall organization and consistency. and addresses are correct. 40 Grids provide a consistent way of handling diver- THE ALDUS GUIDE TO BASIC DESIGN It is very easy to overlook your own mistakes. It is a sity. Grids make it possible to maintain page-to-page known fact that the mind unconsciously supplies missconsistency, even though the content of each page is ing words and corrects misspelled words that would be different. immediately obvious to others. It should also be noted that standard spell checking utilities do not correct grammatical errors. ESTABLISH A FORMAT 11 Check for graphic consistency as well as accuracy. Make sure that column rules are drawn in, that the bottoms of columns are parallel, and (in the case of

tinue on to.



In this course we will learn the four steps to good typographic design and investigate efficient formatting techniques along the way!


Font Technologies
There are currently three “basic” font technologies that we need to consider when working with page layout programs:

Type 1 (Postscript) TrueType OpenType
The next three pages will give a brief chronological overview of each of these three font technologies.

Type 1 Font Technology
Type 1 font technology was created by Adobe Systems circa 1986 and licensed by Apple Computers—it was included with the original Macintosh computers.

Each Type 1 font requires two parts:

• Printer (postscript / vector) component. • Screen (raster / bitmap) component known (font suitcase).
Type 1 fonts are “platform dependent”—there is a version for MS Windows® and another version for Mac. Type 1 algorithms are based on cubic curves which result in high quality typefaces.

TrueType Font Technology
Due to licensing issues, TrueType font technology was developed by Apple Computers in 1991 and licensed to Microsoft to compete with Adobe’s Type 1 technology. Each TrueType font has only one part; both the screen and printer information are included in one font file. TrueType font files are “platform independent”– they can be used within either the Mac or the Windows OS. TrueType algorithms are based on quadratic curves and typeface quality is considered not as good as Type 1.


OpenType Font Technology
OpenType font technology was introduced by Microsoft and Adobe in 1994 as TrueType Open—the successor of both Type 1 and TrueType font technology. Each OpenType font has only one part; both the screen and printer information is included in one font file. These fonts are “platform independent”—the same font file can be used within either the Mac or the Windows OS. OpenType is essentially a combination of Type 1 and TrueType font technologies—the quality is equal to Type 1 and it has greater language support (Unicode).

What can be expected?
As you can well imagine, the overlapping developments of font technologies have left quite a bit of “litter” in their wake. As graphic designers, we must understand these font technologies for all three are currently in use! Here’s two simple caveats: Always stay away from TrueType fonts when designing for print production (this does not apply to TrueType decorative fonts which will be converted to outline, or to fonts used for web design). Changing Type 1 or TrueType to OpenType or vice-versa will likely lead to text reflow and pagination problems—unless you have good reason to do otherwise, don’t alter the font technology of existing publications.