Old style, proportional and tabular numbers will be demonstrated and explained. Fractions and superior and inferior figures will be examined. If it has to do with the typographic handling of numbers, it will be in this module.
Oldstyle figures are a style of numeral which approximate lowercase letterforms by having an x-height and varying ascenders and descenders. They are considerably different from the more common “lining” (or “aligning”) figures which are all-cap height and typically monospaced in text faces so that they line up vertically on charts.
Proportional vs. Tabular Figures
Figures, be they lining or oldstyle, can have two different spacing formats: proportional and tabular. Generally speaking, proportional figures are appropriate when numerals are going to be read in text, and tabular figures are preferable when numerals will be read in columns.
Numbers are a frequently occurring element in text and design, from invitations to financial reports. They are used to specify quantities, dates, prices, measurements, phone numbers, and a myriad of statistics and other data. In typography, the symbols used to represent numbers are commonly referred to as figures or numerals.