The first statement is certainly an area which deserves the attention of any author or designer of a document prepared for publishing, regardless of the medium. The second statement serves to simplify the structure or format design of any document.

Kind Type-Kinds

Actually, the two thoughts about two kinds of type above are not exclusive of each other but actually synthesize as one underlying rule.

If you know which type should be quiet and modest (kinder and gentler to the eye) and which should be loud and conceited (deliberately showing off), then in effect you are beginning to know how to use type right.

Text or Body Type . . . This is the quiet face which "turns its cheek," so to speak to silently carry the informational burden without drawing undo attention to itself. Body text is meant to be "silent" and "invisible", so that the reader ignores its style and character and concentrates only on the written message.

Display Type . . . This is the loud "in-your-face" face whose entire purpose is to call attention to itself (in an appropriate manner). This is the type that defines the personality of the page, the characters that give it character. A typeface is the costume the words dress up in to convey a tone or mood behind or beyond the message.

What is Typography

Any letter or group of letters designed with common repeating elements; a general look and feel that tie all characters together

Type Classifications

There are thousands of typefaces on the market today, some based on the classics of the past such as Caslon, Goudy, Bodoni, Garamond, etc., hundreds from reputable type "foundries" and others created by desktop publishers. The quality of the typography available runs from excellent to horrible and care should be taken by the designer to chose a type face that has acceptable kerning and proportions.

How does one begin to distinguish all the different type faces and be able to put them into styles or groups. Basically, type faces can be put loosely into
eight different categories.

Type Letter Terms

Type, like anything with physical form, has a particular anatomy, each letter having similar and different parts and strokes. Type size is measured in points, a system standardized by Pierre Fournier in the 1700s. The pica-point system as compared to the inch allows 6 points to an inch, 12 points to a pica, and 72 points to an inch. Type is measured from the top of the ascender to the bottom of the descender. A line of type with both Capitals, ascenders and descenders of 72 point would measure close to an inch high. A capital letter, however, is about 2/3rds as high as the total point size. Therefore, a 72 point size capital 'A' would measure about 48 points in height.

The term TYPE FACE, which comes from lead type terminology where the "face" of the type received the ink and made the impression, means the specific design of a set of letters, numbers and symbols. A typeface family is comprised of various weights and styles of a similar typeface.

The complete set of characters of a single typestyle, including upper and lowercase characters, numerals, punctuation, pi characters, etc.
The implied line that letters align themselves on horizontally.


The uppercase of the letters of the alphabet which sit on the baseline and extend to the height of the ascenders.


The body height of letters from the baseline without the ascender.


The part of a letter which extends above the x-height or x-line.


The part of the letter that extends below the baseline.


The space within convex


The points on some letters where strokes angle together.


Horizontal or
on some


A horizontal line which crosses some letters at the midline.

Type Word Terms


The manner in which lines of type align to left or right margins.


Selectively adding or subtracting spaces between all the letters on a line to lessen the impact of spaces between words (rivers
of white.)


Deleting space between certain letter pairs with parallel diagonal strokes, such as As, Vs and Ws, or between characters such as T and o; to create a more even letter spacing.

Type Size

Type is measured in point size. Line length is measured in picas. There are 6 picas per inch, 12 points per pica, and 72 points per inch.


A term that comes from hot type where actual strips of lead were put between the lines of cast type to increase the space between them; usually one or two extra points plus the actual point size of the type used.