Helevetica, Arial, Times New Roman…
When one thinks of typography these words are likely the first things to come to mind but there’s so much more than just a few simple fonts!
With each font, a specific personality is given to the lettering through differentiating typeface:
Serif: A slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter. There’s also something called a sans serif which is when a font doesn’t have the slight projections.
As you can see there are small ‘tics’ on the ends of each letter which gives the font more of a personality. The use of serifs is also used to help with legibility. For print, serifs help guide the reader’s eye across the page. Sans serif tends to be used for low resolution computer screens (websites, email etc.) since it’s easier on the eyes.
Font Metrics: Measurement information |that defines individual character values, such as height, width, and space, |as well as overall font values, such as averages and maximums. Font metrics can be expressed in specified fixed units, such as pels, or in relative units that are independent of both the resolution and size of the font. In short, font metrics is the way of calculating how a font will look.
There are several aspects to font metrics:
The majority of fonts have a baseline which is basically an imaginary horizontal line in which the characters rest. The decent line is used when any part of the lettering goes beneath the baseline and the ascent line is appropriately the exact opposite (lettering that goes above the ascend line). As one goes through the list of font metrics, certain fonts use certain aspects.
Now this is all fine and dandy but why is this important? When you want to choose a font for a project, instead of saying “oh that looks pretty cool” you can acknowledge the serif or lack thereof and the varous font metrics. This’ll help you in choosing the perfect font for every assignment instead of sticking to the basic times new roman! Open your font horizons! Here’s a few fun ways to think of the ‘personality’ of a font (if fonts were dogs):
Now if you’re really into typography there’re some pretty innovative things you can do using these principles. One of my personal favourites is the use of typography to create an entire image. This image of Jimi Hendrix was made by using typography in a way that expresses his lyrics whilst making the image of his face.
I hope you never think about the fonts you choose the same way again!