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The Big Ideas

By understanding the underlying message that your choice of text contains, you will become more effective as you design and layout projects containing words and phrases. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you have to know a thousand words to replace it.

  • The Type Size, also called the Cap Height, is the overall height of capital letters in the formation of words.
  • The Ascender is the upward tail on letters like h, l, t, b, d, and k.
  • The Descender is the downward tail for letters like g, q, and y.
  • The Counter is the white space located inside letters like o and p.
  • The X Height is the height of the letter, and does not include ascenders or descenders.
  • Baselines are the boundary that the lowest part of the letter rests on. Take a look at the y, p, g, p and y letters in the illustration above. The solid line they are resting on is the baseline.
  • Kerning is the space located between individual letters of a word.
  • Leading is the space between the lines of text.
  • Left alignment is default for reading. Center alignment is used for headlines and titles. Right alignment is used for a more professional look (i.e. Business Cards). Justified alignment is reserved for newpaper print and body text for textbooks, and is more difficult to work with.
  • Serif type has extensions or strokes on the end of the letters and is easy to read. San-Serif does not have extensions or strokes o the end of the letters and are hevily used for labelling, headlines, and titles.