Questions tagged [typography]

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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95 votes
5 answers
76k 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?
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84 votes
2 answers
141k views

Difference between kerning vs letter spacing?

What is the difference between kerning vs. letter spacing?
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75 votes
5 answers
207k 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 ...
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74 votes
7 answers
28k views

What’s the right character for an apostrophe?

Many times I encounter the so called "typewriter apostrophe" (Unicode character U+0027 and HTML symbol ') to represent an apostrophe: But on the other hand, the "right single quotation mark" ...
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  • 1,765
73 votes
7 answers
6k 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 ...
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67 votes
7 answers
81k 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 the digital design of ...
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58 votes
8 answers
19k 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 ...
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54 votes
10 answers
18k views

Font from old 70's American engineering schematics

I am looking for a specific font used in oldish technical engineering docs (ca. 70's and earlier American electronic schematics and/or block diagrams), and I tried to identify it online, but had not ...
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  • 643
49 votes
6 answers
215k 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?
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48 votes
6 answers
29k 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? ...
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  • 583
46 votes
1 answer
13k views

Why is the minus sign not on the same height as the plus sign?

I noticed that the horizontal lines of - and + signs are not on the same height for non-monospaced fonts. That looks ugly to me. What is the design principle or reason behind that?
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45 votes
5 answers
11k 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 ...
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45 votes
7 answers
15k 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 ...
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  • 553
40 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is monospacing URLs in academic papers still advised?

When papers are written in the academic world, URLs are often set in monospace. The reason for this seems to be historic and is described in this Q&A at TexSE. It may be summarized as a leftover ...
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36 votes
13 answers
12k 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 ...
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36 votes
1 answer
21k 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 ...
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35 votes
3 answers
44k 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 ...
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33 votes
3 answers
11k 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 ...
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31 votes
6 answers
39k 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 ...
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30 votes
3 answers
7k views

Does hyphenation increase readability?

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 ...
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  • 571
30 votes
7 answers
13k views

Where do professional designers go to look for typefaces?

I was reading The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams and was very impressed how on almost every page, Ms. Williams seems to "pull out" some beautiful typeface which I've never heard of. I'm ...
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  • 433
30 votes
2 answers
5k views

What is the name for these serif-like features of stereotypical "Old West" lettering?

Looking at the dedication plaque on the Salt Lake Temple, I was moved to wonder: What's the deal with this stereotypically "American Old West" style of lettering, where almost every letter has sort of ...
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29 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is the difference between a well constructed and a poorly constructed font?

I'm speaking of both, fonts optimised for print, and fonts optimised for screens. Serif and sans-serif doesn't matter. Commercial or free — also doesn't matter. What matters is the quality of the ...
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  • 405
29 votes
2 answers
13k 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?
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  • 1,673
28 votes
5 answers
29k 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 ...
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28 votes
2 answers
11k views

Why some fonts have the 'f' and 'i' joined

I noticed today that when I type a word with the character pair fi in it, the f changes when the i is typed to have a longer top and the dot above the i is removed. I was wondering if this occurrence ...
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  • 391
28 votes
3 answers
833 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: ...
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  • 3,015
27 votes
10 answers
22k 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 ...
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26 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do I really need an ſ (long s) in my typeface?

From what I can tell, the long s (ſ) is obsolete. According to Wikipedia (that well known fount of infallibility), it fell out of use in the U.S. and U.K. in the early 1800's[1] and it mainly survives ...
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26 votes
4 answers
11k 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 ...
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26 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
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26 votes
2 answers
18k 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?
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25 votes
9 answers
33k views

A good monospace, condensed and open-source typeface?

I'm looking for an optimal typeface for report tables that will contain many columns (the reason for condensed). The reason for monospace is that these reports will contain a lot of numbers and we ...
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  • 353
25 votes
6 answers
135k views

What are the more respected sans serif fonts that come standard on most computers?

I've been tasked with making a powerpoint theme for the company I work for and one of the requirements is that it uses a font that comes standard with most computers. What are some of the built-in ...
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  • 515
25 votes
4 answers
6k 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 ...
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25 votes
3 answers
18k 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 ...
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24 votes
3 answers
7k views

Is that a good kerning?

What do you think of this kerning? What adjustments should I make?
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24 votes
4 answers
5k views

How "wrong" is it for me to use both "double line breaks" and also indentation for each paragraph?

If I don't have "double linebreaks" between paragraphs, the A4 document automatically looks like a compact, uninviting wall of text. Even if I indent each paragraph, it still looks way too compact to ...
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24 votes
8 answers
15k 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 ...
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23 votes
6 answers
8k 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 ...
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22 votes
3 answers
4k views

Typesetting 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 ...
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21 votes
8 answers
21k 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?
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21 votes
3 answers
3k views

How could letters overlap in manual typesetting?

Generally speaking, ascenders and descenders should not touch each other in the text body. This is self-explanatory as it could lead to text that is difficult to read. However, Erik Spiekermann ...
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  • 1,093
21 votes
6 answers
4k views

Principles of Typography for different languages

Sometimes German students ask me how to do the typesetting of documents in English, French or Spanish. I'm not able to help them because I never learned to speak or write French or Spanish. ...
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  • 1,360
21 votes
4 answers
33k views

Recommended column width for text reading, digital vs printed

Coming form a digital background, I have often read different kinds of suggestions (for example 35-50 ems) for how wide a column of body text should be to still maintain a good readability. Is there ...
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  • 3,578
21 votes
3 answers
8k views

Why do most of the well known currency symbols have strikeouts in their symbols?

We encounter currency symbols every day as shorthand for a currency’s name, especially in reference to amounts of money. Most, like these common currency symbols, have strikeouts in their sign. Even ...
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  • 1,765
21 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
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  • 703
20 votes
8 answers
15k 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?
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20 votes
8 answers
6k views

Which typeface is suitable for marking of wires?

I work as technician in company engaged in industrial automation. Our company need to find suitable typeface for marking of wires in electric switchboard. (Fig. 1) I also like a typography, so I try ...
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20 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why is Corbel listed as bad font for body text in Butterick's Practical Typography?

We are creating branding guidelines for a nonprofit voluntary organization. Only around 10 people will create content, but a lot more people will need to be able to view documents and publications ...
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