Design Tips: Typographical Terms
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A Mini-Glossary of Typographical Terms
The following is a short list of common typographical terms:
- The baseline is the invisible baseline that type sits on.
- Body copy, body text, and sometimes just plain body or text refer to the main block of text that you read, as opposed to headlines, subheads, titles, etc. Body text is usually between 9 and 12 points in size.
- A bullet is a little marker typically used in a list instead of numbers or between words. This is the standard bullet: •
- A dingbat is a small, ornamental character. You might have the fonts Zapf Dingbats or WingDings, which are made up of dingbats.
- Elements are the separate objects on the page. An element might be a single line of text, a graphic, or a group of items that are so close together they are perceived as one unit. To determine the number of elements on a page, squint your eyes, and count the number of times your eye stops to see each separate item on the page.
- Extended text refers to large amounts of body copy (see above), as in a book or long report.
- Eye flow refers to the way someone moves their eyes around a page. Designers need to become more conscious of this flow and design accordingly.
- Justified type lines up flush on both the left and the right edges.
- A rule is a drawn line often used under headers.
- White space is the space on a page that is not occupied by any text or graphics. Beginners tend to be afraid of white space. Professional designers use lots of it.
- Trapped white space occurs when the white space (see above) on a page is seemingly "trapped" between elements (such as text or photos), with no space through which to flow.