Introduction to Typography
Typography is all around us and we use it everyday to aid us in communication. It is essential to know the basics about typography and the different types of typography before it is discussed in the terms of ‘typography in society’. The basics of typography are: the different type families, and some technical terms which are imperative when discussing the technical and symbolic aspects of typefaces and letter forms.
Roman is the standard style of typeface. It isn’t altered by width, weight, angle or any other defining characteristic. This particular type family is easy to read and is therefore often used as the body of a text, such as the text of a book.
Unlike roman type, italic type is set at an angle, and is generally slanting to the right from bottom to top. Italics isn’t a standard typeface and are specifically developed for a font which means that letters may be significantly different from its roman counterpart in order to improve its appearance and readability. Italics are not to be confused with oblique type, which is the roman type, slanted at an angle without altering the font.
Bolded type, is the Roman type, but with a heavier weight. There is no official name for bold type so it is often referred to as black or medium, etc. These names depend purely on the preference of the typeface designer.
As oppose to Bold, Light is the thinner version of a roman font. Depending on the exact weight, a light type will be used at larger sizes so it is legible or if the designer wants to achieve a specific style. As with bold, there is no standard naming so names can vary from light, to ultra-light.
Extended type is the wider version of the standard Roman font. This particular variation is useful for headlines and in other large areas. This provides great flexibility within the font family.
Condensed type is the opposite of extended type. As this variation is narrower, it can fit into small spaces. Like the extended variation it allows more flexibility when working with a typeface and provides more style options without having to use a completely different font.
Most type families don’t just provide single variations but will provide a combination of each. This allows the designer more flexibility and more options to work with. Some of the more common combined options are Bold Italic, Light Italic and Condensed Bold. By using combined options the designer can achieve a consistent design using a variety of styles.
A typeface refers to a ground of characters that share a common design, element or style. For example, Helvetica and Times New Roman are typefaces.
A font refers to how typefaces are displayed or presented by their user.
Serif fonts are recognised by the small tails that are featured on the ends of the strokes of a character. Serif fonts are often used for large...