Chapter 7: Type

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Ch. 7 Type | White Space is Not Your Enemy

Chapter Outline

  • Font, typeface, font family, glyph
  • Font categories
  • Parts of a font
  • A field guide to font categories
  • Choosing & using fonts
  • Applying additional styling
  • Choosing fonts for the Web
  • Typesetting lengthy copy
  • Taking a page from newspaper design
  • Type: not just for reading anymore
  • Icing on the cake
  • Try this
  • What you need to know about logo design

Keywords | Vocabulary

  • Ascender
  • Baseline
  • Condensed font
  • Decorative
  • Descender
  • Dingbats
  • Display fonts
  • Dot leaders
  • Drop caps & initial caps
  • En & em dashes
  • Font
  • Font family or typeface
  • Glyph
  • Hanging indent
  • Leading
  • Ligatures
  • Kerning
  • Modern
  • Old style figures
  • OpenType®
  • Prime marks
  • Reading rhythm
  • Sans serif
  • Script
  • Serif
  • Slab serif
  • Small caps
  • Smart quotes/curly quotes
  • Swash alternates
  • Tracking
  • Transitional
  • X-height

Related Unit Assignment

Getting students to tune into the artistry and subtlety of typography can be a challenge. That is especially the case for the “writers” in the class who are more tempted to copyedit than specify type. This chapter condenses the “must know” type basics for students.

Key Student Takeaways

  1. A glyph is an individual character in a font, which is the complete set of glyphs. A typeface or font family contains a series of visually related fonts.
  2. The architecture of fonts includes ascenders, descenders, x-height, baseline and serif.
  3. Some useful font categories to know include:
  • Old styles and transitionals, which have serifs and are easy to read, thus effective for body copy.
  • Sans serifs, which lack serifs and work well onscreen.
  • Scripts, which look like handwriting and are best for very short copy situations.
  • Decorative fonts, which vary widely in styling and are best for short-copy decorative situations.
  • Modern fonts, which have extremely thin serifs and are not a good choice for large amounts of copy.
  • Slab serifs, which are heftier versions of old style and excellent for headlines.
  1. Choose a readable font for your body copy, then choose a second contrasting font for headlines.
  2. Select fonts for the Web based on readability, scalability, reading rhythm and legibility.
  3. Beyond choosing fonts, additional ways to style your type include:
  • Changing font size.
  • Using bold or italic.
  • Adjusting leading between lines.
  • Adjusting kerning between characters and tracking between words.
  1. When typesetting lengthy copy:
  • Deploy paragraph indicators correctly and appropriately.
  • Break up long blocks of type with subheads.
  • Use a display font for very large headlines.
  • Align bulleted lists and use hanging indents.
  1. Take a page from news design:
  • To create a visual hierarchy, graduate headline sizes according to their importance.
  • Set copy into columns about 2 inches in width, but don’t fully justify type.
  • Keep legs—column length—between 2 and 10–12 inches.
  1. Ways to use type decoratively include:
  • Small caps.
  • Tabs and tab/dot leaders.
  • Reversed type.
  • Initial and drop caps.
  1. Other kinds of useful glyphs include:
  • Typesetter’s punctuation, such as ellipses, smart/curly quotes, prime marks and en/em dashes.
  • OpenType® options such as ligatures, swash alternates and old-style figures.
  • Dingbats.
  1. A good logo is:
  • Wholly unique.
  • Deceptively simple.
  • Not too horizontal or too vertical in configuration.
  • Scalable.
  • Limited in its color palette and reproducible in black or one color.
  • Reversible.

Quiz Questions

The 5-minute Motivation to Read Quiz

Share three things you learned from the reading. Be specific.

Short Answer Quiz Questions

(Ask students to) Circle and identify the architecture of this word (provided by the instructor), including ascender, descender, x-height, baseline and serif. (Ask students to) Identify the font category of the word, and explain/justify the answer.

Discuss differences in choosing fonts for the Web and fonts for printed material.

Offer two tips for setting type to make extended amounts of copy more inviting to read.

Name and explain one way to style type for decorative purposes.

Multiple Choice Quiz Questions

Sans serif fonts work well for

  1. Extended amounts of printed body copy
  2. Decorative purposes only
  3. Invitations and greeting cards
  4. Headlines and onscreen body copy

Adjusting the space between lines of type is called

  1. Leading
  2. Kerning
  3. Tracking
  4. Greeking

Specially designed glyphs for ellipses, smart/curly quotes, and en/em dashes are

  1. Swash alternates
  2. Typesetter’s punctuation
  3. Dingbats
  4. Dot leaders

OpenType® fonts

  1. Have extremely thick serifs, and their stress lies on the vertical, unlike old style’s diagonal stress
  2. Are variations on all caps but have slightly larger first-letter
  3. Work on both Macs and PCs and may have as many as
    65,000 characters
  4. Must be reversible and scalable in both color and black