Around the letter?




The SHOULDER
is the part of a piece of type at the plane below that of the printing surface. The beard, on the other hand, is a measurement in the same area, but this is the measurement from where the letter image stops, to the bottom edge of the type. It is greater than the shoulder by the amount that the bevel sticks out. Think of yourself as being some very very small animal walking along the plateau of a piece of type. When you get to the edge there is a ramp leading down to the shoulder. Vertically below your feet, at the edge, is where the beard starts. At the bottom of the slope of the bevel is where the shoulder starts. Sadly, there is no shoulder in digital type.
     What is not the beard, what is left over, is known as the line to back, and these two added together make the point size or size. Set is the width of a piece of type and is the horizontal measure that includes the width of the image plus the two side bearings (see below).

diagram

If the image projects beyond the set it is called a kern. In type, kerns tended to happen only with italics, when the kern of one letter could lie on the shoulder of the letter next door. In digital type there is no need to support a kern, and it can lie on top of the adjacent image, as often happens with f followed by i or l, or r followed by v. In these cases the set is less than the image width.
     The space to the left or right of the image of the letter was known as the side bearing, and still is in digital type. The side bearing, like the beard, is measured from the edge of the image to the set line, and not from the bottom of the bevel. In a kerned letter the side bearing at the kern is negative.

TYPE HEIGHT
is not what you think. It is the height of a piece of type from the bed of the press, what is usually the longest dimension on anything but display type. It is also known as height to paper. What people think is type height is really point size, or size, and this is the dimension of a piece of type that tells by how much you would have to separate two lines to intrude a third between them. Leading is the thickness of a piece of lead or brass, also measured in points, which is inserted between lines of type to make them farther away from each other than would be possible if they were set in the ordinary way, set solid. Negative leading is an intrusion from the arrival of film, when it was possible for the first time to set lines closer together than solid.


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