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Understanding type anatomy

From: InDesign Typography

Video: Understanding type anatomy

For this chapter, I'd like to take a step back and talk about some of the conventions and terminology involved with working with type. Typography, and graphic design in general, necessarily comes with a lot of jargon, and I am going to try and simplify things as much as possible, but it is, to some extent, unavoidable. So let's take a look at this very familiar looking diagram of the principal parts of letters. I'm sure you've seen things like this before. You may have even seen this particular one before.

Understanding type anatomy

For this chapter, I'd like to take a step back and talk about some of the conventions and terminology involved with working with type. Typography, and graphic design in general, necessarily comes with a lot of jargon, and I am going to try and simplify things as much as possible, but it is, to some extent, unavoidable. So let's take a look at this very familiar looking diagram of the principal parts of letters. I'm sure you've seen things like this before. You may have even seen this particular one before.

These are the main parts of the letters, and I will be referring to most of these as we go throughout this course, so it's important that you know what it is I'm referring to. It's all fairly self-explanatory; pretty common sensical. We have these implied lines on our type. So beginning with the baseline; the baseline is the implied line upon which the type sits, and when we're working with bodies of text, we have an option to align our baselines across columns using this thing called a baseline grid, where we have a grid at a specified increment, and we make our baselines align to that grid.

Next up, the X-height. The X-Height is synonymous with the height of the lowercase letters, and an important concept is that not all typefaces have the same X-height. The relative height of the X-height, relative to the caps, can vary from one typeface to another. As a general rule, those typefaces that have higher X-heights are considered to be more readable. Next up we have the cap height, which as its name implies, marks the flat tops of the capital letters.

Interestingly, you'll notice that the ascender height for most typefaces is actually higher than the cap height, the ascenders being those portions of the lowercase letters that go above the X-height, and conversely, the descenders being those parts of the lowercase letters that go beneath the baseline. This particular typeface that we are looking at is a serif typeface, and it exhibits the following characteristics: it has bracketed serifs, and it shows a transition between the thin parts and the thick parts of the stroke.

That is one of the characteristics of this particular typeface, and those characteristics will vary from typeface to typeface. Now, just in terms of terminology, if we want to be entirely accurate, some might say pedantic, when we use the word typeface, we are talking about a typeface family. So if I talk about Helvetica, that's a typeface. If I talk about Helvetica 7 point, that is a font.

That said, myself, and just about everybody else, mixes up these two terms, and I am sure if I haven't already, I am going to mix up those two terms. Feel free to correct me, but if we want to be pedantic about it, that is the distinction between the terminology typeface, and font. I've mentioned this is a serif typeface. In the next movie, we are going to look at examples of serif typefaces, and how they differ from sans serif typefaces.

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This video is part of

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InDesign Typography

125 video lessons · 22817 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 4m 4s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
    3. Customizing the workspace for type
      2m 18s
  2. 9m 25s
    1. What is Typekit? (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 56s
    2. Choosing and syncing fonts (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 6s
    3. Syncing problems (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 43s
    4. Typekit resources (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 5s
    5. Using the Font menu (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 35s
  3. 55m 41s
    1. Working with text frames
      8m 26s
    2. Using a primary text frame (CS6 and later)
      3m 59s
    3. Understanding text flow methods
      6m 25s
    4. Understanding text threads
      3m 40s
    5. Understanding Smart Text Reflow
      2m 27s
    6. Mocking up pages with placeholder text
      5m 47s
    7. Placing multiple text files
      3m 50s
    8. Using Auto-Size text frames (CS6 and later)
      4m 1s
    9. Copying and pasting vs. placing
      2m 25s
    10. Cleaning up text with Find/Change
      5m 46s
    11. Using the Story Editor
      3m 41s
    12. Spanning columns
      5m 14s
  4. 48m 34s
    1. Choosing your type
      6m 46s
    2. Understanding text essentials
      6m 37s
    3. Scaling type
      2m 27s
    4. Using italic and oblique type
      4m 33s
    5. Working with condensed and extended type
      4m 26s
    6. Setting type in all caps
      3m 46s
    7. Setting type in small caps
      4m 21s
    8. Underlining type
      4m 11s
    9. Using superscript and subscript
      4m 35s
    10. Applying baseline shift
      4m 8s
    11. Combining typefaces (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 44s
  5. 16m 6s
    1. Understanding type anatomy
      3m 25s
    2. Exploring serif and sans serif
      2m 48s
    3. Comparing points, picas, and ems
      8m 34s
    4. What's in a name?
      1m 19s
  6. 16m 27s
    1. Setting leading
      4m 56s
    2. Avoiding auto-leading
      4m 12s
    3. Leading shortcuts and preferences
      4m 7s
    4. Using autoleading with inline graphics
      3m 12s
  7. 21m 25s
    1. Defining kerning and tracking
      2m 5s
    2. Understanding kerning methods
      5m 10s
    3. When and how to kern
      5m 53s
    4. When and how to track
      8m 17s
  8. 48m 42s
    1. Working with quotes, primes, and apostrophes
      8m 16s
    2. Using dashes
      5m 24s
    3. Using ellipses
      2m 56s
    4. Working with accents and special characters
      4m 1s
    5. Using space characters
      4m 15s
    6. Working with ligatures
      4m 29s
    7. Setting fractions
      3m 56s
    8. Using lining and proportional numerals
      2m 49s
    9. Using alternates, swashes, and ornaments
      5m 2s
    10. Working with optical sizes
      4m 40s
    11. Stylistic sets (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 54s
  9. 57m 20s
    1. Understanding alignment
      3m 47s
    2. Working with left-aligned type
      3m 24s
    3. Working with justified type
      7m 5s
    4. Using Optical Margin Alignment
      3m 39s
    5. Determining column width
      4m 53s
    6. Working with center alignment
      5m 36s
    7. Working with right alignment
      1m 22s
    8. Aligning to or away from the spine
      1m 50s
    9. Understanding the Paragraph Composer and Single-line Composer
      3m 44s
    10. Combining alignments
      9m 20s
    11. Using hanging punctuation
      2m 13s
    12. Working with vertical alignment
      10m 27s
  10. 14m 9s
    1. Using first-line indents
      2m 26s
    2. Using indent alternatives
      2m 3s
    3. Working with left and right indents
      4m 0s
    4. Using last-line indents and outdents
      1m 26s
    5. Using paragraph spacing
      4m 14s
  11. 23m 19s
    1. Setting hyphenation
      6m 14s
    2. Working with line breaks and discretionary hyphens
      4m 48s
    3. Balancing ragged lines
      1m 36s
    4. Using the No Break feature and non-breaking characters
      2m 52s
    5. Using frame, column, and page breaks
      3m 42s
    6. Defining Keep Options
      4m 7s
  12. 37m 53s
    1. Understanding tabs
      8m 58s
    2. Considerations for table text
      3m 55s
    3. Table tips and tricks
      11m 55s
    4. Creating a bulleted list
      6m 50s
    5. Creating a numbered list
      3m 46s
    6. Creating a multi-level numbered list
      2m 29s
  13. 23m 12s
    1. Understanding drop caps
      11m 3s
    2. Navigating tricky drop caps
      5m 14s
    3. Using a nested character style with a drop cap
      3m 59s
    4. Other uses of drop caps
      2m 56s
  14. 1h 11m
    1. Understanding paragraph and character styles
      7m 13s
    2. Creating, applying, and editing styles
      7m 3s
    3. Removing overrides
      4m 58s
    4. Creating and applying character styles
      5m 4s
    5. Creating and applying nested styles
      12m 30s
    6. Using GREP styles (regular expressions)
      4m 8s
    7. Creating and applying sequential styles
      6m 19s
    8. Using paragraph rules creatively
      11m 48s
    9. Mapping Word styles
      6m 12s
    10. Working with anchored objects and object styles
      6m 24s
  15. 25m 30s
    1. Applying a text wrap
      6m 7s
    2. Making items ignore a text wrap
      1m 46s
    3. Using text wraps for flexible layouts
      3m 2s
    4. Working with difficult text wraps
      8m 39s
    5. Inverting text wraps
      2m 7s
    6. Setting text wrap preferences
      3m 49s
  16. 29m 33s
    1. Choosing a page size and setting margins
      6m 33s
    2. Setting up columns
      2m 53s
    3. Dividing a page into rows
      3m 27s
    4. Setting up a baseline grid
      5m 40s
    5. Handling baseline grid problems
      3m 37s
    6. Baseline grid tricks
      7m 23s
  17. 44m 26s
    1. Working with type outlines (CC 2014.1) NEW
      6m 50s
    2. Creating an interlocking effect (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 31s
    3. Fusing letterforms (CC 2014.1) NEW
      7m 15s
    4. Type and gradients (CC 2014.1) NEW
      4m 57s
    5. Type and transparency (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 50s
    6. Type on a path: Circles (CC 2014.1) NEW
      4m 48s
    7. Type on a path: Calligram (CC 2014.1) NEW
      6m 16s
    8. Vertical type (CC 2014.1) NEW
      2m 58s
    9. Type and image: Gradient (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 38s
    10. Type and image: "See-through" type (CC 2014.1) NEW
      1m 8s
    11. Type and image: "Disappearing" type (CC 2014.1) NEW
      3m 15s
  18. 12m 19s
    1. Looking at screen documents
      4m 2s
    2. Setting size, leading, and line length onscreen
      3m 13s
    3. Exploring typefaces designed for the screen
      3m 36s
    4. Accessibility: Contrast and color
      1m 28s
  19. 28s
    1. Goodbye
      28s

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