When dealing with fonts, there are a ton of different terms used. And unless you’re a designer, it’s unlikely that you’ll come across type terminology in your day to day life. However, if you’re interested in learning more about design, hoping to work with a designer, or want to become fluent in Photoshop, some of these terms might come up. Below I’ve rounded up some of the more common terms associated with typography in one easy to bookmark type glossary for bloggers.
Ascender – the part of a character that extends above the x height. Lowercase h’s, b’s, and d’s all have ascenders.
Baseline – the imaginary line in which letters “sit” on.
Character – a letter, punctuation mark, number, or symbol.
Descender – the part of a character that extends below the baseline. Lowercase q’s, p’s, and y’s all have descenders.
Display – a font style that is best suited for headlines or other large text.
Font Family – see Typeface.
Glyph – a symbol given to a character or ligature.
Kerning – the adjusting of the space between two characters.
Leading – the spacing between the baseline of one line of text and the top of the characters in the line below it.
Ligature – two or more characters that are joined together.
Monospace – a font in which each character takes of the same amount of horizontal space.
Sans-Serif – a font that does not have decorative lines at the ends of each stroke. Popular sans-serif fonts include Arial, Helvetica, and Calibri.
Serif – a font that has decorative lines at the ends of each stroke. Popular serif fonts include Times New Roman, Georgia, and Garamond.
Tracking – the spacing between characters in a line or block of text. Also known as letter spacing.
Typeface – a collection of fonts that are similar in design, but vary in weight, slant, or ornamentation. Also known as a font family.
Weight – the thickness of a character.
X-height – the distance between the baseline and the top of the lowercase X.
Any terms you’d like to see added? Let me know!