Infographic Guide to Typography and Fonts

Posted on January 29, 2014 | Updated on June 13, 2023

You might know about serifs, stems, and ascenders, but what is a tittle? Check out this infographic about the anatomy of typography and fonts. (Click to see full-size version.)


Here’s a quick breakdown of each term used in the infographic:

Aperture – the open negative space between the inside and outside of a letter

Arm – part of a letter that extends upward by itself

Ascender – upper part of a lowercase letter that’s above the mean line

Ball Terminal – the circular end of a letter stroke

Bowl – round letter stroke that creates a completely enclosed space

Counter -negative space that’s completely or mostly enclosed in a letter

Crossbar – a horizontal line that’s part of a letter

Descender – lower part of a lowercase letter that goes below the font baseline

Ear – small stroke that comes off a letter for decorative effect

Eye – the closed space in a lowercase “e”

Kerning – the space between letters and characters in a font

Leading – the space between lines of letters in a font

Leg – part of a letter that extends downward by itself

Loop – rounded part of a lowercase “g” found below the baseline

Ligature – two letters that are combined to create one new character

Serif – a small line that finishes the end of another stroke

Shoulder – a short round stroke that connects two straight strokes

Spur – a small curve in a letter

Stem – main vertical line in a letter

Tail – curved descender in some capital letters

Terminal – the end of a straight or curved line that doesn’t use a serif

Tittle – a small dot in a font

X-Height – the space between the baseline and the mean line of a font

X-Line – the mean line of lowercase letters in a font

I spotted this gorgeous typography infographic by The Logo Company today and had to pass it on. Know of any other great typography resources for designers? Share them in the comments below!

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.

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