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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

What's Covered

Type is a design element used in design topography and publications, and also used by artists and designers in a variety of ways and layouts.  This tutorial will focus specifically on:

  1. Character
  2. Upper & Lower Case
  3. Type Family
  4. Sans Serif & Serif

1. Character

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

Terms to Know

    • Character
    • A member of the complete set of letters, numerals, punctuation and symbols belonging to a typeface.
    • Typeface
    • The complete name of a type family member, typically containing the name of the publisher, family, weight, posture and width.

You can see in the image above that you have your set of letters, numbers, punctuation, and other symbols.


3. Upper & 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.

Terms to Know

    • Upper Case
    • A capital letterform, originally referring to the location of the wooden "case" which held metal characters in a print shop.
    • Lower Case
    • An uncapitalized letterform, originally referring to the location of the wooden "case" which held metal characters in a print shop.

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.

Below are a few examples of lower and upper case in use. The foursquare logo is all lower case and then, of course, the well known Star Wars logo has all upper case.




4. Type Family

Type family is a complete group of typefaces available which share a common family name, all weights, postures and widths.

Term to Know

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

So below is an example of a type family, which is the Arial type family.

You can see the various typefaces that all fall under the base Arial typeface. Now typeface is the complete name of a type family member, typically containing the name of the publisher, family, weight, posture, and width.

Below you can see an example of the Arial typeface name classification, category, designers, and so on and you would have this for various typefaces.


5. Sans Serif & Serif

The majority of type families can be classified into serif and sans serif.

Terms to Know

    • 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".
    • Sans Serif
    • A category of typefaces which has no serifs; from the French meaning without 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."

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 you look at the example below, on top you have serif and below you have sans serif.

Hint

Try to remember the serifs as feet or shoes so sans serif don't have shoes or feet.

Below are a few examples of serifs.


You have bracketed, hairline, and slab serif. 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. Then, of course, the slab serif is this kind of well slab, brick slab up top there.

Summary

Well, that concludes today's lesson on describing type. This lesson focused on what type is and different ways to define it. Specficially, you learned about character, the difference between upper & lower case. You also learned what constitutes a type family and the major difference between serif and sans serif.


Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: SOURCE: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR MARIO E. HERNANDEZ

Terms to Know
  • 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.

  • 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".

  • 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.

  • Upper Case

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