Here is a list of the terms and their meanings used within typography. Learning these will be beneficial to allow me to communicate more effectively.

Kerning – The space between each letter within a word.

Tracking – The space between each word.

Leading – The space between each line within a block of text.

Baseline – What the words sit upon.


Old Face – The old style developed in the 15th and 16th centuries and are characterised by a low contrast in stroke, weight and angled serifs.


Transitional – The bridge for the gap between Old Style and Modern serifed typefaces, Transitional type has a more vertical axis and sharper serifs than humanist forms.

Humanist – Fontscape defines humanist sans as; ‘Sans serif typefaces with oval shapes and variations in stroke thickness to create a more graceful, human appearance.

Script – In typography, script fonts mimic historical or modern handwriting styles that look as if written with different styles of writing instruments(…) Typical characteristics are; connected or nearly connected flowing letterforms and slanted, rounded characters.


Roman – The vertical lines of the characters are straight up and not on an angle.

Italic – This refers to fonts with characters slanted to the right. An italic font however, often includes one or more character shapes that differ from those in roman font.

Majuscule – A style of writing characterised by somewhat rounded capital letters.

Minuscule – The little letters or non-capital letters of the alphabet are lower case gylphs.

Geometric – As their name implies are based on geometric forms. Constructed of straight mono linear lines and circular or square shapes.

Condensed – A font with a width smaller than what would be considered ‘normal’ or ‘regular’.

Ligature – Two or more letters combined into one character. This only applies to certain pairs of letters.

Gothic – These are also sans serif typefaces. It is generally a heavier typeface.


Slab Serif – This carries a very prominent form; slab-like, bold and square cut fonts.

Clarendon – Is an English slab serif typeface that was create by Robert Besley in 1845.

Triangular Serifs – Serifs that are triangular in shape.


Vestigial – Letterforms that have noticeable tails

Trifurcated Serif – When the serifs are split into three parts.

Bifurcated Serif – When the serifs are split into two parts.


Fat Face – A heavier typeface with thicker strokes and triangular serifs.

Nesting – A space for an illuminated letter to fit.

Superior Letters – When a lower case letter is placed above the baseline.

Versals Lombardic – When enlarged decorated letters are placed at the beginning of each verse of a poem called ‘versals’.


Author: marislathamgraphics

I am a student at Cardiff Metropolitan University studying BA Hons Graphic Communication.

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