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Infographic: Fontsmith’s complete guide to typography terms

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As a web designer, typography is paramount. Even on sites where images or video are the main focus, the way you treat text will make or break your site’s usability and aesthetic. Even so, most of us are not expert typographers.

We may have a handle on a few of the basic terms, and the rules we need to make text generally look good. That’s a start. But typography is a field, an industry, and a science unto itself. I personally haven’t gone too far beyond that Typography in Ten Minutes tutorial, because web design also brings in myriad other concerns.

However, if you want to get anywhere in serious type work, you’ll need to at least know how to talk the talk. Whether you’re building a logo, formatting a book, building a site that has a much greater typographical focus than most, or just working with a type designer, you may run into terms you don’t know.

That’s why the helpful people over at Fontsmith have created this infographic as reference material. Here’s how their Type Design Director, Phil Garnham, introduces it:

As type designers we can get immersed in an insular typographical bubble at times. It’s easy to forget that our language, the lingo, words and terms that we use to discuss, critique and refine our designs is under the constant pressure of discourse and scrutiny within, often redefining itself.

We thought that it would be an interesting project to research and illustrate a few of the key words that we use everyday here in the Fontsmith studio but then before we knew it we were up to nearly 80 terms! Unable to cut the list down we’ve prepared this infographic that lists all the vocabulary in one place.

Check out the infographic below:


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