DESIGN DEPARTMENT
The Basic Type Glossary

November 2005
by Pete Masterson

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To talk about type, you have
to understand the basic language of type. The figure identifies the elements
used to describe type and distinguish particular typefaces from one another.
The definitions below explain each element.

Arm. A horizontal stroke that is free on one end. The
upper-case E
has three arms.

Ascender. The part of the lowercase letters b, d, f, h, k, l,
and t
that extends above the height of the lowercase x.

Bar. The horizontal stroke in the A, H, e, t,
and similar letters.

Baseline. An imaginary line on which the letters rest. Note
that some curved letters (such as a capital O) extend slightly below the baseline.

Blackletter. Type designs based on medieval type forms; in England
sometimes called gothic.

Bowl. A curved stroke that makes an enclosed space within a
character. The bump on the letter P is a bowl. (The enclosed area is the counter; see
below.)

Bracket. A curved fill in the angle created by the
intersection of the serif and main stroke of a letter.

Cap
height.
The height of the capital
letters above the baseline.

Counter. The full or partially enclosed space within a
character such as e.

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