10 Primary Parts of a Typeface


What is Your Typeface?

This article aims to be a guide to typefaces.

Maybe you have been wondering how typefaces like Arial and Times New Romans became so popular, the invention of typefaces dates back to 1450 when fonts were cast into alloys. Here are some amazing facts about fonts.

Typeface vs. Fonts

Typeface and font may mean the same thing to some persons, but there a significant difference. A typeface refers to the unique design of an alphabet. It refers to the typeface family. Examples are Arial or Garamond while font are the files that allow the Typeface to be set to a defined style with respect to height and width.

The development has come a long way as different word processors have different typefaces that meets our varying needs. Here is a rundown.

1450: By this time, fonts were cast in lead alloys in the foundries by companies’ involved in the design and distribution of typefaces.
1827: Special drills were used to cut wood into required typefaces.
1884: This year witnessed the development of Linotype typesetting which allowed fonts to be cast by an automatic process. It was also referred to as line casting.
1950: Phototypesetting is invented which allows light to be projected through the negative film of a character. It could adjust the size of the character which is then collected in a light tight canister.
1970: Different techniques were developed for the use of printing. This included streamline printing, Letter press, photo type setting, and the use of computer a midst others.
1985: By this time, the latest technological advancement in typeface was the American spelling font. It was a computer that contains letters that were in digital scalable forms. It was also referred to as digital font.

The Anatomy of A Typeface

The anatomy of a typeface is what differentiates one typeface from the other. It has 26 different parts, almost as many parts of the English Alphabet. Some are;

Arm: This is a horizontal or upward stroke that is disconnected on both ends.
Bowl: The inner curved part of a character which encloses the counter.
Terminal: The end of a stroke in which a serif is absent.
Ascender: This is a stroke pointing upward, found on the lower case letters, extending above the typeface’s x-height.
Diagonal Stroke: This is an angled stroke
Serif: This is a horizontal or diagonal stroke at the end of some strokes.
Stem: This is the main vertical stroke
Shoulder: This refers to a curved stroke at the beginning of a stem.
Descender: This is a downward vertical stem located at the base which extends below the baseline of the lower case letters.
X-Height: This is the height of the lower case letters less the height of ascenders and descenders.

Top Five Overused and Abused Typefaces

There are over 50,000 typefaces in used today. The use of these typefaces depends on the industry in question. Here are some of them and the area of usage.

For Graphics Design

Franklin Gothic

Times New Roman

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