Join Ina Saltz for an in-depth discussion in this video Reviewing the terminology of type, based on function, part of Graphic Design Foundations: Typography.
In this movie, I'm going to show you how type is used for different purposes and tell you what we call these different pieces of type based on the way they're used. These are the common terms that designers use in discussing elements of their projects. These are the tools of the trade. Just as a cook or carpenter needs to know the names of the tools they use, designers also have a common toolset. I am going to focus on magazines. Even though similar terms apply to websites, books, and other graphic projects. Magazines have a fairly complex structure, so they will have the greatest number of terms.
This magazine cover has many distinct typographic elements. The name of the magazine is called its Logo, or sometimes its Masthead. The cover headlines--or cover lines for short-- are the stories that are highlighted on the cover. Here there is one main cover line and a bunch of secondary cover lines. The main cover line has its own subhead, and there is a caption for the cover image. The smallest typographic element is the issue date.
Inside the magazine, we'll find a bunch of other typographic elements. Let's deconstruct them. Looking at a Table of Contents is a good way to get a sense of the magazine's hierarchy. Here, there is an icon representing the Logo, the Date, and the Headline Contents. The size of the type will give you a clue about which is the cover story. Each story has a Headline, Description, Byline, and the all-important page number.
At the bottom is something called a Folio. The Folio contains key pieces of information in small type at the bottom of the page, the page number, the date of the issue, and the URL of the magazine's website. There are also captions and credits for the images. The Departments page has text in a smaller size which indicates their length and importance to the reader, each has a Department Name, Description, and Page Number.
At the bottom of the page is required legal language, called the Indicia. Let's look inside the issue. Here is a Department page, which has three separate stories all part of a department called start. You can see another slug at the top right. The main story has a large headline. The blue text under the photo is a Subhead or Deck. There is Body Copy with a byline at the end in italic and credits along the left side.
On the right, we see a second story, it has a headline, and it's separated into three numbered text blocks. At the end in italic is a byline. At the bottom of the page is a factoid with a slug and a headline. A photo credit and the folio complete the page. That's pretty much it. Those are most of the basic terms that designers use to apply to pieces of text based on their functions. This is all part of the vocabulary of typographic elements, our basic tools.
You won't have to say, hey let's change that thingy, you can say that folio needs to have more space under the running text. Know the language of typographic elements, and you can describe your projects with confidence.
- What is typography?
- Differentiating type characteristics
- Using ornamental and decorative type
- Combining typefaces
- Using contrast and scale
- Kerning and kerning pairs
- Choosing the optimum line length
- Aligning and spacing characters, words, and paragraphs
- Understanding factors affecting legibility
- Working with three-dimensional type
- Putting type in motion