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Describing Type

Describing Type

Description:

In this lesson you will learn about the basic characteristics and terminology associated with type.

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Tutorial

Source: Image of Upper and Lower Case, Public Domain Image of Foursquare Logo, Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/philwolff/4695325584/ Image of Microsoft Logo, Public Domain Image of Star Wars Logo, Public Domain http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Star_Wars_L...

Video Transcription

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Hi everyone. My name is Mario and I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on Describing Type. So for today's lesson, we're going to learn about the basic characteristics and terminology associated with type. As always, throughout the lesson feel free to pause, fast forward, and rewind as you see fit and when you're ready to go let's get started.

Type is another design element and we're going to be learning a bit more about its uses in design topography and publications. And text is pretty easy to dismiss something used for books or newspaper but artists and designers use type in a variety of ways and layouts. Let's start off by talking a bit about character, which is a member of the complete set of letters, numerals, punctuation, and symbols belonging to a typeface. You can see here you have your set of letters, numbers, punctuation, and other symbols. It's pretty basic stuff here.

And easier still we have upper case and lower case. Upper case is a capital letterform originally referring to the location of the wooden case which held the metal characters in a print shop. So on the opposite end you have lower case which is an uncapitalized letter form referring to the location of the wooden case which held metal characters in a print shop, again.

Here's an example of a type case. And basically back in the olden days when they used to use movable type for things like printing, letterpress printing. As the name implies, letterpress, they used reusable letters that were arranged and then pressed onto a paper to print. So capital letters were stashed in the upper case and lower case letters in the lower case so that's where that came about. And here are a few examples of lower and upper case in use. The foursquare logo is all lower case. Microsoft logo has that upper case M there. And then, of course, the well known Star Wars logo has all upper case.

Then jumping towards type family. Type family is a complete group of typefaces available which share a common family name, all weights, postures and widths. So we have here an example of a type family, which is the Arial type family. And you can see the various typefaces that all fall under the base Arial typeface. So they're all different but all part of that same Arial type family. And here's one more example of a type family-- Helvetica. Again, some minor differences but all part of that same Helvetica type family.

Now typeface is the complete name of a type family member, typically containing the name of the publisher, family, weight, posture, and width. So if we took a look at Arial again, here's an example of the typeface name classification, category, designers, and so on and you would have this for various typefaces. Now the majority of type families can be classified into serif and sans serif.

Serif is an ending cross stroke added to the stem of a letter or the category of typefaces containing only those with serifs, from the French word meaning "feet." And sans serif is a category of typefaces which has no serifs from the French word meaning "without." So with feet, without feet is an easy way to think about it there. So if we look at this example up top, we have serif and below, we have sans serif. And if we highlight the serifs, it's a bit easier for us to distinguish between the serif and sans serif.

But try to remember the serifs as feet or shoes so sans serif don't have shoes or feet. I used to have a hard time remembering myself. I always got them confused. I would tell myself serif and sad serif and the sad serif is sad because he has no feet. So he can't run anywhere.

And here a few examples of serifs. We have bracketed, hairline, and slab serif. And you can see the bracketed has a nice smooth transition into the stem. So it's nice and curvy. The hairline serif is really thin, hairline thin. And then, of course, the slab serif is this kind of well slab, brick slab up top there.

Well everyone, that concludes today's lesson. We'll end with our key terms-- typeface, type family, upper case, lower case, character, serif, and sans serif. So hope you've enjoyed our lesson for today. My name is Mario and I will see you next lesson.

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Sans Serif

    A category of typefaces which has no serifs; from the French meaning without serif.

  • Serif

    An ending cross stroke added to the stem of a letter or the category of typefaces containing only those with serifs; from the French meaning "feet".

  • Character

    A member of the complete set of letters, numerals, punctuation and symbols belonging to a typeface.

  • Lower Case

    An uncapitalized letterform, originally referring to the location of the wooden "case" which held metal characters in a print shop.

  • Upper Case

    A capital letterform, originally referring to the location of the wooden "case" which held metal characters in a print shop.

  • Type Family

    The complete group of typefaces available which share a common or "family" name: all weights, postures and widths.

  • Typeface

    The complete name of a type family member, typically containing the name of the publisher, family, weight, posture and width.