Anatomy of Type

Parts of the letter

Anatomy of a letter

Ascender:

The lowercase character stroke which extends above the x-height.

Baseline:

The imaginary horizontal line to which the body, or main component, of characters are aligned.

X-height:

the height of the body, minus ascenders and descenders, which is equal to the height of the lowercase x.

Descenders:

The lowercase character stroke which extends below the baseline.

Loop:

The bottom part of the lowercase roman g.

Serif

Tapered corners on the ends of the main stroke. Serifs originated with the chiseled guides made by ancient stone cutters as they lettered monuments. Some serif designs may also be traced back to characteristics of hand calligraphy. Note that serif type is typically thick and thin in stroke weight.

Counter:

The empty space inside the body stroke.

Shoulder:

The part of a curved stroke coming from the stem

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