Is it the thin strokes in a letter like "O"?

Or is it the thin strokes in a letter like "M"? enter image description here


"Hairline" generally refers to a stroke or line smaller then 0.25pt in width. Sometimes it may mean smaller than 0.5pt in width.

"Hairline" is not directly associated with any type glyph and is not a term used exclusively for typography. A Hairline can be any line, any where.

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    My understanding (and it may be out of date) is that in Postscript specifically a hairline is defined as a one device pixel width line. For this reason many printers recommend instead of specifying "Hairline" as the width to choose no less than 0.25 to 0.5 points for line widths, because on high resolution devices a device pixel might be too narrow to reproduce. – David Rouse Jul 20 '15 at 13:18
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    Hairline has been a printing term in use long, long, long, long before "device pixels" was even a thing. In reality, you can't create a hairline on digital devices since the smallest increment is 1px, which I understand is what you are eluding to. However, a pixel as no physical size, so .5pt has no direct correlation to pixels, even if Adobe arbitrarily decided 1pt = 1px so their software made sense. :) – Scott Jul 20 '15 at 18:00

hairline The thinnest part of a letter other than the serif

Source: Type Matters!

  • Yes, if referring to type. But "hairline" is not exclusively a typographic term. – Scott Jul 25 '15 at 3:11
  • the typographic definition seems the most relevant given the images and text in the question. – ryanpattison Jul 25 '15 at 4:03
  • While that statement may be true based upon type size, it's not really an exclusive typographic term. Yes the thinest part of a glyph may be a hairline, but it's not always a hairline. – Scott Jul 25 '15 at 4:34
  • That depends on your definition of hairline. – ryanpattison Jul 25 '15 at 4:41
  • Did you notice the typography tag? – ryanpattison Jul 25 '15 at 4:49

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