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Learn About Fonts & Typography

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Browse the most recent contributions to Fontology, the Blog and fy(t)i.

Raised and Dropped Initials

Even before Gutenberg invented the craft of typography, fancy initials were used to begin chapters and decorate pages in medieval manuscripts.


The letters of the Latin alphabet haven’t changed in eons, and there is limited latitude in how much a designer can modify or embellish the basic shapes. The ampersand, however, is a shinning example of an exception to the rule.

Breaking for Sense

Setting type has changed drastically from the days of metal and phototypesetting. The responsibility for composing type no longer lies with a highly skilled, dedicated typographer, but more often with a designer or production artist, who may not be trained in this skill.

Customizing Type Software Settings

There are many seemingly small, yet highly significant details that contribute to creating professional-looking typography, and in turn, good design. A number of these can be controlled with the settings of your software.

End Marks

An end mark is a small graphic element placed at the end of a chapter, article or story. It provides a visual cue to the reader, signifying the end of a topic, section or piece. End marks are commonly used in magazines, newsletters, journals, and other publications containing multiple articles whose end point is not necessarily apparent to the reader.

Parentheses, Braces and Brackets

The character set of a typeface includes a broad range of punctuation marks. Among them are parentheses, braces and brackets. These three pairs of symbols all serve to enclose additional information – words, numbers or symbols – generally not essential to the meaning of the sentence or paragraph. Although all three marks share this function, they have specialized usages as well.

Important Symbols

A typeface consists of a great deal more than letters, numbers and basic punctuation. Assorted symbols are also part of the character set. Some of them are essential for branding and identity projects; others are optional for certain functional or decorative purposes.

Locating Alternate Glyphs

Given the expanded capacity of OpenType® fonts to accommodate thousands of characters, finding the ones you want can be challenging. But finding the ones you want is only an issue if you know they are there in the first place.

Using the Correct Mark

Several typographic signs and symbols are frequently confused, and therefore misused, when setting type. Some of them are found in just about every typeface, while a few are less common.

Hyphens and Dashes

Hyphens, en and em dashes are among the most misunderstood, and misused, punctuation marks in typography. While their appearance is generally similar, they have distinct designs and serve specific functions.

If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape. The spoon and the letter are tools; one to take food from the bowl, the other to take information off the page...

Adrian Frutiger