A sloped typeface (or describing a sloped typeface) with a design that usually retains the basic roman letterforms, often serving as a companion version of a roman typeface. Often used with sans serif designs and usually not sloped as much as a true italic. Usually slopes to the right. Some type designers create oblique designs containing features of both roman letterforms and true italics. An oblique typeface is sometimes thought to harmonize better with a roman typeface than a true italic design; however, a disadvantage is that it may lack sufficient contrast from its companion roman.
In typesetting, it is often possible to slope a roman typeface to make an oblique-like companion typeface through mechanical, optical, or electronic means. Because of character distortions, however, the results are almost always inferior in aesthetic appearance to an oblique design that is individually edited and/or created by a highly sophisticated computer-aided design program. Also known as a sloped roman; often loosely referred to as an italic. See also italic.
See italic offset.
A classification of type signifying design features first used from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries. It includes a variety of typefaces divided into subcategories according to specific design features, as well as according to place and date of origin. Characteristics of old-style typeface designs include only slight contrast between main strokes and thin strokes, diagonal curve stress, bracketed serifs, and capital letters that are often shorter than lowercase ascenders. In the U.K., the closest term is oldface; the term old style is used more specifically in the U.K. to refer to nineteenth-century adaptations of typefaces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries.
Subcategories of old-style designs include Venetian Old Style, characterized by uneven or slightly concave serifs, an angled crossbar on the lowercase roman e, and slab serifs at the top of certain capitals, such as N, M, and sometimes A (examples: Jenson, Golden Type, Cloister Oldstyle, and Centaur); Aldine-French designs which have more pronounced contrast between stroke weights than Venetian designs, a horizontal crossbar on the lowercase roman e, and no slab serifs (examples: Garamond, Sabon, Goudy Oldstyle, Palatino); and Dutch-English Old Style, in which designs have even greater contrast between thick and thin strokes, and the serifs are straightened and somewhat wedge-shaped (examples: Janson, Caslon). Related subcategories of old-style typefaces from other typeface classification systems include Garalde and Humanist. See Garalde and Humanist.
old-style numerals, old-style figures
The set of arabic numerals that do not align with one another as the lining numerals do (1234567890) but instead mainly occupy the x-height, with some numerals extending above the top of the x-height (mean line) and some below the baseline. These numerals are often used in text because they blend well with lowercase letters, although some graphic designers also like to use them in tables, especially in nontechnical works. For optically even spacing, they may be designed to occupy different spaces (character widths), in which case their spacing is called fitted or proportional. To aid in tabular setting, they may occupy identical spaces, in which case their spacing is called tabular. Also known as hanging numerals or figures, nonlining numerals or figures, or (increasingly), as lowercase or text numerals or figures. (In German, these numerals are known as minuskelziffern). See also lining numerals.
Any adjustment made to the design of a letterform, its placement, or the space that surrounds it that is based upon aesthetics or visual criteria as opposed to measurement or mathematical formulas.
The horizontal placement of a character by visually, not mathematically, equalizing the space on either side of it. Type designers often center characters optically within their design spaces by looking at them between pairs of other characters called standards. For example, the letter A can be optically centered within the space assigned to it by looking at it between double or single Hs and Os, as in HHAHH, OOAOO or HAH, OAO. (Doubled characters have an advantage, because they allow the type designer to compare the size of side spaces with those between other combinations of characters). Also known as visually centered. See also fitted, spacing, standard.
optical scale, optical scaling
In type design, adjustments to the shapes and proportions of characters that will be typeset at different sizes. Such adjustments are intended to improve legibility and the aesthetic appearance of a typeface over the range of sizes at which it will be used. By preventing visual distortions that often occur with linear size changes, they also ensure that a typeface has a consistent appearance at various sizes. In general, optically scaled letters designed for use at text sizes have larger x-heights, more open counters, less contrast between thick and thin strokes, and enlarged details in comparison to letters designed for display sizes.
Use of optical scale was common in the design of metal type. In digital and phototypesetting, it applies to the design of text faces as opposed to display faces and to the design of small versions of characters, such as small capitals or superior letters or numerals. Recent digital technologies such as Multiple Master and True Type GX allow optical scaling of typefaces. Also referred to as optical compensation, nonlinear scale, visual reproportioning. See also master size, type size.
A character used with a numeral to designate an ordinal number. Shows a specific position or order in a sequence, such as first, second, third. Letters that indicate ordinals are occasionally smaller versions of the full-size letters and are usually raised above or lowered below the baseline.
A typographic character or element intended to be used for decoration or emphasis. Includes dingbats, flowers, rules, characters used in creating borders, and many other characters. May be included in a generic or pi font and/or is sometimes designed to blend with a specific typeface family. See also dingbats, flower.
A set of symbols in a particular typeface for which shapes are stored in a computer or printer as geometrically defined outlines. These shapes are then used in creating bit maps as needed for many different sizes of the typeface; hence the typeface data take up less space than a collection of bit-mapped fonts. Typically used for representing type with medium- and high-resolution printers. An outline font is a kind of scalable font. See also bit-mapped font, scalable font.
Outline is also sometimes used to describe versions of typefaces drawn to resemble an outline drawing or contour (the central portion of the letters has been removed). These faces are differentiated from typefaces with non-printing lines inside their forms, known as inline. See also inline.
In computer-aided type design, the distance that round or curved characters must extend above and below related characters that have horizontal strokes or stroke endings at top or bottom so that all characters appear to be the same size. Also called round overlap, overhang, overshoot.