Paratype Typographic Glossary


Short for ‘typeface’; the style of a font or set of character images, eg. italic. See Typeface.


Type: a reissue of a historic typeface with all the imperfections and idiosycrasies of the original model.


All variants and sizes of one design, or style of type (weight, width, roman, italic, boldface, etc.).

Figures (Numerals, Digits)

The signs that mark numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0. That symbols are included into the standard Latin character set and into character sets of many other alphabet systems. There are several kinds of typographic figures. For example they may be Lining or Oldstyle, Tabular or Proportional ones. There are Superior figures and Inferior figures too.


Often used as a blanket term to describe any form of post-metal typesetting, whether photographically or digitally based.


A typographic flower or ornament.


In modern usage the term “font” is often confused with “typeface” and “family”. Traditionally, the term “font” (originally spelt “fount” in Britain) represents a complete set of characters or symbols of the same size and style. Fonts can be as small as the basic alphabet or up to hundreds of characters. Some languages, like Japanese, can exceed these numbers, which make them more difficult to access from the standard keyboard. Originally derived from the word “found” as in typefoundry. Now it is used as another name for a single weight or style of a typeface.

Font attributes

Characteristics which apply to the font as a whole (such as the ascent, descent, leading, etc.).

Format (Digital format)

The way of letterform digital description, also the way of its encoding. Examples: PostScript Type 1, TrueType, OpenType.


See Type foundry

Foundry type

Metal type for repeated hand setting and therefore cast from a harder alloy than mechanically composed type.


A class of blackletter types. Fraktur appeared in Germany in the beginning of the 16th century and was widely used until the middle of the 20th century. Lowercase forms are narrow with double break and large x-height. There are a lot of calligraphic shapes with swashes and curls. The round lowercase have a vertical stem with double break on one side and a curved line with one break on the other side. Ascenders often have two-sided terminal, descenders are sharp. Caps are wide and very complicated, with a lot of rounded shapes, calligraphic swashes, diamonds and curls.
See also Fraktur in Classification section.