Traditionally, the size of a typeface from which other sizes are generated. With most digital type, one master is used by the composing system and software to generate all type sizes. For improved legibility and aesthetics, however, a few manufacturers of digital and phototype create a number of different masters, each recommended for the generation of a different range of sizes. In metal type for hand setting (foundry type), where each character design was first cut on a metal punch, each size had a separate master; with machine-cut punches, several point sizes often shared one master. Alternatively, the principal size for which some digital or phototypefaces are drawn or designed is known as design size. See also optical scale.
A symbol that represents a mathematical operation.
In the founding and composition of metal type, a piece of metal (usually brass or copper) used to cast type. A character was either stamped or engraved onto this metal. See also metal type.
A horizontal guideline indicating where the tops of lowercase letters without ascenders appear to align. Often referred to in an imaginary sense. Sometimes referred to as x-line or x-height line. See also x-height.
See typeface family.
Small rectangular blocks of metal that have raised characters on one surface, used for printing. Also, the technology of movable type, introduced to Europe in the fifteenth century by Johannes Gutenberg, which remained in widespread use for over 450 years. Each individual character was engraved on the end of a bar of steel called a punch. A matrix was then created by driving the punch into a softer metal such as brass or copper. Type was cast by pouring molten metal, usually a lead alloy, into the matrix held in the bottom of an adjustable mold, the latter forming the body of the piece of type. Typecasting was first done by hand; in the nineteenth century, it was mechanized.
Also, refers to the technology of type cast and set by machine. Several technologies of machine-cast type were prevalent from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. In the linecasting method, a compositor either sits at a mechanical device and presses keys that activate the assembly of the matrices needed for a whole line of type; melted lead is then poured into the matrix assembly to cast that line of type, called a slug. Alternately, the matrices are assembled by hand and then cast into a slug. With the Monotype machine, individual pieces of type were cast from individual matrices and assembled mechanically. Various technologies of metal type are still in use around the world today.
See font metrics.
A fixed space equal to one-fourth the width of the em space. Also known as the 4-to-em (4-em) space, or mid space.
In computer-aided type design, to make a change to a character that results in a reflected or mirrored image. Depending on the software, different mirroring functions can be performed. Also known as flip.
A type style that evolved during the eighteenth century and was influenced by copperplate engraving. The characteristics of a modern typeface include a marked contrast between thick and thin strokes, vertical curve stress, narrow and sometimes straight-sided counters, and frequently, unbracketed serifs (examples: Bodoni, Walbaum). Two of the best-known designers of modern typefaces were Giambattista Bodoni and Firmin Didot. In some type classification systems, known as Didone.
See lining numerals.
A typeface design in which all characters occupy a design space (width or set width) of exactly the same width. Typewriter faces such as Courier and Prestige Elite are monospaced; Chinese and Japanese characters are generally also monospaced. Also known as a fixed-pitch typeface.