Paratype Typographic Glossary

Tabular figures

Monospaced figures, i.e. figures with equal Set-width used for tabular setting.


An element of a letter without serif descending below the baseline. For example the tail of the capital Latin Q.

Teardrop (Drop, Lacrimal terminal)

A swelling, like a teardrop, at the end of the arm of letters such as a, c, f, g, j, r and y. This feature is typical of typefaces from the Late Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical periods, and is present on many recent faces built on Baroque or Neoclassical lines. Examples: Jannon, Van Dijk, Kis, Caslon, Fournier, Baskerville, Bell, Walbaum, Zapf International, Galliard. Also called lachrymal terminal. See also Ball terminal and Beak terminal


An ending of strokes without serif.

Tertia (2-line Brevier, Columbia)

An old name for type size of 16 points (~6,33 mm).




Any sequence of graphic symbols.

Text faces

Fonts for setting of text material, usually in sizes from 6 to 12 points. Also called body faces.

Text figures

Figures — 1 2 3 … — designed to match the lowercase letters in size and color. Most text figures are and descending forms. Compare lining figures, and titling figures.


A class of blackletter types. Developed as formal book lettering, the early Gothic style of tall, narrow, black letters resembled a woven fabric, and was appropriately named Textura. It was appeared in France from of the 13th century and was widely used in England and Germany. Textura was the model for the first movable type of Johann Gutenberg (ca. 1394–1468) created in the middle of the 15th century. Lowercase letters are narrow with vertical stems, double break, rather large x-height, and short extenders. Calligraphic diamond-like ends are typical for lowercase letters. Caps are rather wide and complicated by their shape, with diamond elements, breaks, double strokes, and curles. Also called Old English.


(1) One of the upper Accents. A wavy line used on vowels in Estonian, Greenlandic, Portuguese, and Vietnamese, and on consonants in Quechua, Spanish, Tagalog and other alphabets.
(2) (ASCII tilde, swung dash) (~) A stock keybord character, used in mathematics as the sign of similarity and in dictionaries as a sign of repetition.

Titling figures

Figures — 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 — designed to match the uppercase letters in size and color. Compare text figures.

Titling type

A font of capitals, occupying most of the body of the type. It follows that a 24-point titling type is considerably larger in face than a corresponding 24-point, in which there is a lowercase alphabet.


The overall letterspacing in text. Tracking can also be used to tighten or loosen a block of type. Some programs have automatic tracking options which can add or remove small increments of space between the characters.


“Transitional” type is so-called because of its intermediate position between old style and modern. The distinguishing features of transitional typefaces include vertical stress and slightly higher contrast than old style typefaces, combined with horizontal serifs. The most influential examples are Philippe Grandjean’s “Romain du Roi” for the French Crown around 1702, Pierre Simon Fournier’s work circa 1750, and John Baskerville’s work from 1757 onwards. Although today we remember Baskerville primarily for his typeface designs, in his own time people were much more impressed by his printing, which used an innovative glossy paper and wide margins. Later transitional types begin to move towards “modern” designs. Contrast is accentuated, and serifs are more flattened. Current examples of such are based on originals from approximately 1788-1810, and are dominated by British isles designers, such as Richard Austin (Bell, 1788), William Martin (Bulmer) and Miller & Richard (ScotchRoman). For currently available examples of transitional type, there are many types which bear Baskerville’s name, descending from one or another of his designs. Less common today is P.S. Fournier’s work, although several versions of it are available in digital or metal form. Although Scotch Roman has been a very common face in metal type usage since Monotype’s 1920 revival, it is not a common digital face. Bell, on the other hand, is included in a Microsoft Font Pack, and Bulmer has received more attention since its revival by Monotype in late 1994.
See also Transitional in Classification section.


A digital font format developed by Apple and Microsoft. The rendering engine for this font was built into System 7. It was also built into MS Windows 3.1. Like PostScript Type 1 and Type 3 fonts, it is an outline font format that allows both the screen and printers to scale fonts to display them in any size. Offers a competitive alternative to PostScript font technology.
More about TrueType in Tech Notes.


Originally metal type, now a typeface design or some typeset text.

Type 1

PostScript Type 1 fonts (Also called ATM [Adobe Type Manager] fonts, Type 1, and outline fonts) contains information, in outline form, that allows a postscript printer, or ATM to generate fonts of any size. Most also contain hinting information which allows fonts to be rendered more readable at lower resolutions and small type sizes.
More about PostScript Type 1 in Tech Notes.

Type alloy

Alloy of lead, antimony, and tin for founding of metal type.

Type family

A family of type styles that vary on their weight, proportion, and angle of character slant but have the common family name and similar style features. Also sometimes type family means the same as Typeface.
See Style variation scheme

Type foundry

Originally, a factory in which metal type is made; now any maker of type.

Type height

The height of metal type body from the bottom side to the printing surface (the face of letter). It should not be confused with the height of any character (See x-height and Cap height).


(1) The features by which a character’s design is recognized, hence the word face. Example: The typeface called Bodoni is a Modern design, while Times Roman is a Transitional design.
(2) One of type variants (styles) included in Type family. Typeface styles may vary on their Weight, Proportion, and Posture (be upright, Slanted or Italic). So typeface styles may be described as Light, Book, Bold, Narrow, Expanded and so on.

Typeface classification

Typeface grouping for handling and learning convenience according to letterform, contrast, origin, function etc. There are no only one typeface classification. One of the possible classification provided for Serif, Sans Serif, Decorative, Handwriting, Analphabetic groups of typefaces. Each group may be divided to subgroups depending on letterform and other factors.
See Classification section on this site