A type classification for a diverse collection of ornamental typefaces having especially individual, decorative forms. Typefaces that fall into this category are often unrelated in design and may combine style characteristics from different typeface classifications; many all-capital typefaces are also included. Often typefaces that are difficult to classify are simply classified as decorative/display.
Part of a capital or lowercase letter that extends below the baseline. In roman typefaces, letters that typically have descenders are g, j, p, q, y, Q, and sometimes J. In italics, f often has a descender. The old-style numerals 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9 also have descenders.
See p height.
A horizontal guideline indicating where the lowest parts of lowercase descenders appear to align. Often referred to in an imaginary sense.
See master size.
The broad term used by linguists for marks appearing above, below, adjacent to, connected to, or through a character that distinguish it from an unmarked character or indicate a specific sound value or various special meanings. Also known as diacritical mark; graphic arts professionals often call diacritics accents. See also accent.
A fraction comprising a numerator, denominator, and a diagonal fraction bar. May be supplied by the type designer or manufacturer as a single unit or built up by the compositor or software from separate characters. Ready-made diagonal fractions usually exist in the form of commonly used fractions, such as ½, ¼, ¾. Also called diagonal bar fraction. In composition with metal type, diagonal fractions were often assigned the same width as the em space and called em fractions or em set fractions; some sources still use these terms, although type manufacturers now often space the diagonal fractions on a width other than the em. See also built-up fraction, case fraction, composite character, piece fraction.
A unit used to measure type equal to .01483 inch (.376065 millimeter). The Didot point, which originated in France, is widely used in continental Europe and is also known as corps. 12 Didot points equals a unit called a cicero. See also point, cicero.
Typefaces that are created and reproduced with the aid of digital computers, in which letters, numbers, symbols, images, and instructions are stored as and reproduced using discrete numeric data. In such computers, information is represented at its most basic level through the on-off pulse of electrical voltage. See also analog type, metal type, phototype.
Decorative symbols and characters that are generally not included in a typeface font or character set, including boxes, bullets, arrows, pointers, and other characters. Often made up into their own font, such as the ITC Zapf Dingbats. See also ornament
A complex speech sound that starts at one vowel and moves toward another, as in the sound at the end of joy. Graphic arts professionals commonly refer to the vowel ligatures Æ and æ as diphthongs, although linguistically these characters do not represent diphthongs in modern use.
A typeface intended for typesetting at larger sizes, usually 14 points and above, or sometimes above 14 points, depending on the type designer or manufacturer. In comparison with a text version of the same typeface, a display version generally has a slightly smaller x-height, narrower proportions, more contrast between the thicknesses of main strokes and thin strokes, and finer details. See also text typeface.
Most commonly, copy composed at larger sizes. Used for various purposes, such as to catch the attention of readers and encourage them to read an accompanying text, to communicate a message quickly, or to organize a typeset piece in some way. Includes headings, headlines, signage, and much of the copy used in advertising. Small amounts of text typeset in large sizes are also sometimes considered display typography. In book design, sometimes refers to copy set in smaller sizes than the text. See also display typeface.
dots per inch, dpi
The size of a type designer's (usually hand-drawn) rendition of a typeface.
duplexing, cross-rail duplexing
A metal-type term referring to linecasting characters created to share matrices (the pieces of metal in which characters were cast) that consequently were designed to have exactly the same character widths (set widths). Typically, a roman typeface and its corresponding italic or a roman and a bold from the same typeface family might be designed to cross-rail duplex. When emulating typeface designs created for linecasting equipment, type designers need to be aware that the duplexing in these faces sometimes resulted in less than ideal spacing and/or character proportions in one or more of the typefaces that were duplexed. See also metal type.