The 5 Most Important Typography Terms, Explained

MakeUseOf | 2/15/2019 | Vann Vicente
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Because it has the burden of carrying the meaning of a layout, typography can make or break a good design. However, it isn’t something only for artists and advertisers to think about. People from all walks of life can benefit from understanding how typography works.

To take full advantage of typography, you need to understand the elements that go into it. We’ve compiled a list of basic terms together with their explanations that will help you navigate the world of typography.

Fonts - Arial - Times - New - Roman

What we commonly refer to as fonts, such as Arial and Times New Roman, aren’t actually fonts. They’re typefaces.

A typeface, also known as a font family, is a set of fonts that share the same fundamental design elements. On the other hand, a font is a specific variation within that family based on a number of characteristics, namely:

Weight - Refers - Font - Typefaces - Spectrum

Weight: This refers to how thick or how light a font is. Most typefaces have a spectrum of weights with descriptive names, from ultra-light or thin to bold or heavy. The middle of a range of weights is called “medium” or “regular.”

Italicization: This refers to whether or not a font slants to the right. Italicized fonts are called either “oblique” or “italic.”

Condensation - Width - Width - Font - Font

Condensation and Width: These refer to how broad or how narrow the width of the font is. When a font is narrow, it is usually referred to as “condensed” while broad fonts are referred to as “wide” or “extended.”

Style: This refers to a change in the presentation of a typeface rather than its core design. For example, some families have an “outline” font, which is essentially the same as the regular font except only showing an outline of each character.

Idea - Font - Design—Helvetica - Neue—as - Example

To get a better idea of this, we’ll use the most common font in design—Helvetica Neue—as an example. Helvetica Neue is a typeface, as...
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