Learn What Typography is

Typography is the technique and art that designers spend years over to master. This article deals with some of the most common terminologies you may come across while learning Typography. These concepts and terms can get you started on your known art!

What Is Typography?

learn typography


Let us go by the definition first; Typography is the art of creating words visually appealing. In other words, it is the technique of arranging type. It is not merely a way of typing or presenting a word but your choice of typeface, the color scheme, layout and patterns that make it a key skill for a designer to render a good or a great design.

The most significant term that is used while talking about Typography is “Typeface”. A typeface is a set of more than one font also known as a font family. There is a difference between typeface and font, a font being a single unit has a specific weight, style, condensation, width, slant, italicization, ornamentation etc and the designer or foundry is also different.

The fonts are chosen as per the tone that they convey, more specifically the way they are identified. The typeface has a certain classification based on the identification;

  • Serif
  • Sans-Serif
  • Monospaced
  • Cursive
  • Fantasy
  • Script

Serif and Sans-Serif are the most common families of typeface recognized on the internet.

When creating a typeface, certain measures are to be taken care of so as to maintain legibility and readability. The elements that differ in font families; at the very root level are of four types:

Cap height:

Cap height is the height of the capital letters. This tells you how large or heightened the capital or big letters in a typeface will be.


X- height is the height of the lowercase letters. This tells how big the lowercase letters will be.


It is the portion that goes below the x-height of any lowercase letter. For example, letter “p” has a descender.


It is the portion that goes above the x-height of the lowercase letter. For example, letter “d” has an ascender.

Ascenders and Descenders typically refer to the lowercase letters. Other than the above-mentioned four groups there are some more terminologies that are referred while talking about typography; such as Arm, Counter, Serif, Stem, and Stroke as shown in the picture.

learn terms of typography


The next concern while making your own font in the typography comes the spacing around the letters. These are broadly divided into seven categories namely;


The difference or distance between each letter in a typeface is adjusted by the process known as Kerning. A designer may wish to alter the spacing between individual characters in a font to achieve a different style or treatment but nowadays the fonts are automatically kerned on digitally. In simpler words, it is the horizontal space between the individual letters.


The weight of the font refers to the boldness, thickness of any font type. Some may differ in the weight or have varying weights while others may continue to have a single weight.


When we talk about tracking, it is the space between the groups of letters.


Leading is space between the lines of the type. For a text to be readable the leading can be taken between 1.25 and 1.5 times the font size.


It’s the length of the lines of the text.


Aligning the text, whether in the center or left or right, justified etc is the alignment of any type.


In this, the letters are made to be moved together so that their frames are combined to get a flow of letters in a typeface.

Two more terms are that are associated with typography are:


Hyphenation is just used to make the text more readable. If added at the end of the line helps to eliminate the problems in readability. It makes the text more justified; hyphenation is one ‘rule’ that if often missed by designers.


Rag refers to the uneven text block on the vertical edge. It is very distracting when it is jammed or very uneven. Designers must pay attention to the Rag in order to maintain the readability of the text.

The main idea behind typography is to make your page or website look more readable as well as appealing to the readers. The typography hence made should relate to the contents of the page; a news catering website should not have fancy fonts.

How a designer should create a typeface that relates to the page is very important. The Typographical designs and typeface choices should resonate with the lines and blocks of text that are set on the page. A good designer should always have an idea of the same; long and typical lines in the font tend to lose the reader’s interest. In addition to this, a page should not be overcrowded with fonts and types, as a crowded page shall again repel readers from the page.

One way to make your Typographical designs effective and much appealing on any page is to make the headings larger than the rest of the text; this attracts the user to read more. Typography is an art but to remember where and how the art should be placed matters a lot.


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