Questions about the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. Text is composed to create a readable, coherent, and visually satisfying whole.

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50
votes
5answers
13k views

Why don't upper case numbers exist?

Capital letters add a lot to text in various ways, for names, brands, emphasis (although capitalisation for emphasis is frowned upon) Why then, are there no upper case numbers?
50
votes
7answers
3k views

What are best practices for choosing and pairing fonts?

I've always found font selection to be a little bit of a mystery. What factors should be considered when choosing a font? How does one successfully incorporate two fonts into a design? I realize that ...
37
votes
2answers
26k views

Difference between kerning vs letter spacing?

What is the difference between kerning vs. letter spacing?
37
votes
6answers
7k views

How can I describe the font I am looking for or looking at?

I have no experience regarding Graphic Design, so this is kind of a intro question. If I have a font I'd like to identify, but cannot describe the details/semantics of it, how would I explain it? ...
35
votes
7answers
3k views

In a sentence ending with a bold or italicised word, does the period need to be bold/italicised too?

Maybe this will be considered a bit of a nitpicking argument, but I constantly find myself asking: In a paragraph where the last word is bold or italicised, should I make the period at the end bold or ...
35
votes
8answers
9k views

“Serifs improve fast, easy readability for long text” - myth or truth?

It's an old question, but an important one. Let's see if we can get a good, nuanced, ideally evidence-based answer. So, old-school wisdom (certainly, how I was taught back in the day) says that serif ...
34
votes
5answers
5k views

Aligning letters “Wrong” appears more “Right”

I'm currently working on a logo for a client. Here is the work in progress. It seems obvious to me that the S should align with the line above. I feel that the best way of aligning it however is to ...
32
votes
6answers
85k views

What font types are good for a technical document?

What are some good fonts to use for a highly technical document? Is there any specific type that should be used/avoided?
31
votes
12answers
4k views

How can I improve my handwriting ability?

I really like writing encouraging letters to my friends every so often. Writing them by hand makes them feel a lot more personal, but I am always hesitant to do so because my handwriting has always ...
28
votes
6answers
3k views

What font characteristics are associated with luxury and wealth?

There's a lot about color theory but not as much about type theory. For example silver, gold, black, deep purple are often associated with luxury and wealth. What charactertics should a font have to ...
26
votes
3answers
50k views

What's the difference between opentype vs. truetype

I know very little about typography. What are the differences in terms of opentype vs truetype. I do know that they are types of formats to render fonts (correct me if i'm wrong). Are there ...
22
votes
3answers
451 views

My Xylophone is off key; Understanding this kerning

I was playing a kerning game where the goal is to see if you can kern a word by eye and then compare your kerning with that of the designer. I was doing... ok. Until I got to: I kerned is as such: ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

When should someone use ligatures?

What decisions and factors should be considered to determine when to use ligatures? Only in headings? Only in body? Purely by eye? I ask because about seven people looked over a poster design and ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the difference between a font and a typeface?

Originally, the typeface is a particular design of type, while a font is a type in a particular size and weight. In short, a typeface usually gathers many fonts. Nowadays, with digit design of ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Why do some fonts make I, l, 1 look the same?

Why do some fonts make the I,l,1 characters look identical? There are fonts where they don't just look similar - they are the same exact pixel locations. Why were they ever created? I'm guessing ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

In some fonts, the tittle on the 'i' in “fi” is removed. Does this have a name?

I noticed today on my phone that when I would type a word with the character pair "fi" in it, the f would change when the i is typed to have a longer top and replace the tittle above the i. I was ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

What are standard ratios for typography on the web?

In laying out a web design, I often try to make sure that my typography is proportional and consistent. However, I haven't been able to find any definitive articles or resources on what ratios and ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

Where do professional designers “go” to look for typefaces?

I'm just reading The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams and am very impressed how on almost every page, Ms. Williams seems to "pull out" some beautiful typeface which I've never heard of. ...
19
votes
2answers
10k views

Optimum line height in relation to font size

Is there an agreement on what the optimum mathematical proportion of line height and the size of a text is? And if there is, is it the same for print and web?
18
votes
8answers
8k views

Alternative to Lorem Ipsum (dummy text) for websites

Lorem Ipsum has been the known default for dummy text. Per a search the last discussion in regards to alternatives is two years old. I thought I would post a new thread on this topic. So, what are ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Why all the hate? --Two spaces after the period

The nuns enforced it with a ruler: two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. I, along with many others do this instinctively. Why is this considered incorrect/improper in printed materials ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Does hyphenation increase legibility?

All I could find on the subject was this paper, which is pretty interesting in itself. But it only deals with preference. 57% of the test subject prefers hyphenated text. This is kind of surprising ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Where should drop cap be suitable?

I wonder where drop caps should be used. So far, I only see them in column of newspaper. Are there any cases which drop caps shouldn't be used, like in scientific papers or brochures?
18
votes
1answer
329 views

What's the term used when the first word of one page is repeated at the end of the previous page?

There's a common feature in old typography where the first word of a page is repeated at the end of the previous page, usually right-aligned on a line by itself. This book from 1759 shows this ...
18
votes
2answers
476 views

What is the effect of ligatures in web, regarding SEO

All designers love ligatures but vanilla web typography just sucks. I heard of smartypants that solves many of thoses issues, bringing sexy quotes, gorgeous ampersands and all. It's just perfect, ...
17
votes
7answers
13k views

How are Serif and Sans-serif fonts different, and when should one use one over the other?

What is the difference between these fonts, and what are some typical examples of why one might be used over another?
17
votes
3answers
4k views

What does a “normal” British pound sign look like?

I'm working on creating a glyph for the British pound sterling for a typeface I'm working on, and I realized that not only is it a bit of an oddity, it's an oddity that I, as someone from the United ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the practical difference between a 'glyph' and a 'character'?

I saw this question on the Typography site proposal and it bugged me that I didn't know the answer. I'd always treated 'glyph' and 'character' as interchangable. After reading an explanation on the ...
16
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do newspapers use multiple columns?

This might not be the right place to ask, but I was wondering why newspapers use multiple columns? Does it take up less space, or is there a visual reason?
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Is ampersand allowed at the beginning of line?

In my recent project, playing with responsive web design, I've noticed that ampersand in my text landed at the beginning of a line with certain page widths. I personally find it a bit ugly... I can ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Baseline Grid vs. Readability

Any designer worth their salt will talk about the importance of the grid, and rightfully so. However, as I've continued to practice my trade, I've found that the baseline grid in particular doesn't ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

What is kerning and what is the point of it?

From what I see here, it seems kerning is just rearranging the space between letters. However, the comments here lead me to believe there's more to the story. Is kerning really that simple? Is the ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

What characters are good to start with when designing a typeface?

Given many characters in a typeface build on others and even just a couple of characters can reveal a lot of the features of a given typeface, what characters are good to start with when designing a ...
14
votes
2answers
11k views

Which is easier on the eyes: dark-on-light or light-on-dark?

While working on my latest website, I started actually wondering if what I learned in grade school was true. I've been taught that programs like Word default to use a white background with black text ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do we still use points as a measurement of type size?

I'm in the UK, which uses metric units for pretty much everything now except road distances and beer (obviously best kept apart). Page sizes have been metric here and in most of the rest of the world ...
14
votes
4answers
519 views

Font overload in academic documents

I'm a researcher in cryptography and regularly read and write acedemic papers which are, to say the least, not objects of great beauty. Recently I've noticed that the guideline not to use more than ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

Examples of good academic poster design

Do you have any good examples of academic poster design? Most posters look exactly the same (I don't want to pick on anyone in particular), and from my experience at conferences, almost nobody reads ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What font size should be used for a children's book?

I’ve been looking around, and so far I haven’t found much. Most places I find also suggest using Comic Sans so I'm hesitant to take their advice. The book will be for ages 0 — 5, so very young, most ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Can we call graphic / web designers “typographers”?

Since graphic or web designers focus on typography and different ways to treat the typeface, can we call them typographers? Graphic and web designers spend significant time on choosing the typeface, ...
12
votes
4answers
506 views

Why is Garamond italic all wonky?

The angle of the 'upright' strokes in Garamond italic is different between capitals and lowercase. See, for instance, the discrepancy between the "I" and the "t" of "Italic" in the following ...
12
votes
1answer
551 views

What considerations are there in designing pixel fonts?

I'm designing monospace pixel fonts for a game, and so far I've only been able to work with extremely small sizes (largest I've managed is 5x9) because those ones are the easiest to try and err with. ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the difference between Glyph and Font?

I was going through one document and I came across this term 'glyph'. The term was new to me so looked into wiki for its definition. I felt both glyph and font is same. Am I correct? Else please tell ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

How should I position the letters in a square logo to read “H S S C”?

I am creating a logo using the acronym HSSC (High School Student Council). Here is the current logo. My question is: What is the best/proper arrangement of letters in this type of logo to read ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

How would I recreate this effect of text that seems to flow over a flight of stairs?

Is there nondestructive way of achieving the wavy type effect, found below?
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Do discretionary ligatures hold any other purpose than visual?

Discretionary ligatures are non-standard ligatures such as: st and ct in Atlantica LF font Are they purely visual or is there any other reasoning to back it up? Psychological? Letter-press related? ...
11
votes
3answers
912 views

Good typography for a speech manuscript [on hold]

Consider this use case: I have to give a speech, and I cannot give it extemporaneously (too long, too little time to prepare), so I have to use a manuscript. I would expect the typographical ...
11
votes
2answers
336 views

Kerning Feedback

I'm currently looking at a new font for a logo and I'm having some issues with the kerning of our lettering. I've search the web for guidance on kerning, in particular when using double lowercase ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

Lorem ipsum equivalent for Spanish, Polish and other languages?

I'm testing out some fonts, and I'd like to see how they look with language that use more than the basic latin alphabet, in my case Dutch, German, Spanish, Polish and Portuguese. Is there a tool ...
11
votes
5answers
692 views

How do I deal with line spacing when a single descender is getting in the way?

I'm making a sign for my kids' school, and am having trouble with one detail. The primary text is "Walking School Bus Stop". This, the school name, and a whimsical graphic all go into a 3:4 aspect ...
11
votes
3answers
510 views

How should you web design with foreign typography

Some web design and development projects client's will request capabilities for a foreign translation in their site. How can you account for this and what are some good practices for content ...