Long time listener, first time caller.
My studio and I are trying to get better with our typographic terminology so we can critique and discuss our work clearly, instead of saying "that curvy bit." So we made a cheat sheet for ourselves (see below). I primarily used Karen Cheng's Designing Type
and Stephen Cole's Geometry of Type books for reference, also looking to monotype's page. But I am finding that there's a bit of variation in what people call things. Also not much info on script/cursive specific terms.
So maybe the question's not "is this diagram right?" but more "Is it not wrong?" Open to
Thanks in advance! Have learned so much from all the threads in here.
P.S. I hope I'm not repeating any discussion threads (dug around and didn't find anything)
You're right; much typography terminology is a bit fluid and can differ from place to place and person to person. However, I don't see any glaring errors or omissions. Good job!
I recently put together something similar on my website, but it's not nearly as nice-looking or efficient as your "cheat sheet."
I wouldn’t call the diagonal of the “v” an “arm” (I reservt that for diagonals that spring off of vertical strokes or some sort of body, although still in an upwards direction). The “arm” definition claims it is a horizontal stroke without mentioning diagonals at all. And the diagram also calls the top of the “7” an arm, which is… interesting.
I would love to hear if anybody thinks there is a standard term here!
Mind you, there is a difference between “this is already common accepted usage” and “hey, let’s call it this.” Nothing wrong with doing the latter and standardizing a term for yourselves, even if no broadly accepted standard has really existed before.
I use a slightly different terminology in places, but one doesn’t have to be single-minded.
The only error is in calling the lowest sharp point a vertex, which usually means the same as apex. Nadir means the lowest point, although it is not an accepted typographic term AFAIK—but I can’t think of another word as specific.
(Ditto with flip the arrows.)
But yeah, nadir works reasonably well (except for its negative connotations)
Re: "flag" I had seen the top bar of the 5 called a flag in Karen Cheng's book.
For the "tail" of the a, would you also say that should be called a terminal for a more broad term?
The tail is *a* specific sort of terminal, and having a dedicated term for it is useful.
That’s certainly correct. I advocate the use of “numeral”. “Figure” has the downside of being ambiguous. Not only can it stand for both numeral and number. In the context of design and publishing, it’s also used for an illustration or chart. This may lead to confusion, certainly with beginners.
Side note: in traditional German type lingo, Figuren is the term for any glyph; numeric, alphabetic, or otherwise. A glyph set used to be called a Figurenverzeichnis.
Seriously, though, you could expand and modify your cheat sheet ad infinitum. As with most things (graphic and typeface design included), at some point, one just needs to say, "Good enough. I'm finished."
At least in English, Florian!
At least in English, Nick!
There is a lot of redundancy in English terms.
Oldstyle figures are also known as ranging and non-lining.
I could go along with “oldstyle numerals”, with the double-iamb meter of “oldstyle figures” maintained, tripping off the tongue as “old-style new-mrls”, which has a paradoxical frisson.