Elements of Type

  1. Cap Height

The height from the baseline to the top of the uppercase letters.

  1. Ascender

The upward vertical stem on some lowercase letters, such as 'h', that extends above the x-height.

  1. Eye

Much like a counter, the eye refers specifically to the enclosed space in a lowercase 'e'.

  1. Bracket

The bracket is a curved or wedge-like connection between the stem and serif of some fonts. Not all serifs are bracketed and can have different shapes with deep or gentle curves.

  1. Overshoot

The degree to which a letter dips below the baseline, or exceeds the cap height.

  1. Baseline

The imaginary line upon which the letters in a font appear to rest.

  1. Descender

Any part in a lowercase letter that extends below the baseline, such as 'y', 'g' and 'p'.

  1. Terminal

The end (straight or curved) of any stroke that doesn't include a serif. Some curved bits of tails, links, ears, and loops are considered terminals.

  1. Crossbar

A horizontal line through the shaft of the letter. Also known as bar. In some cases, letters 'E' 'F' 'L' and 'T' are referred to as arms.

  1. Finial

Is a tapered curved end on letters such as the bottom of 'C'. A swash or ornamental flourish, much like an extended serif, ascender, or descender, often added as a variation to some characters.

  1. Counter

The enclosed or partially enclosed circular or curved white space of letters such as 'd', 'o', and 's'.

  1. X-Height

The x-height is the height of the main body of the lowercase letter (or the height of a lowercase x ), excluding its ascenders and descenders. The bigger the x-height is in relation to the cap height, the bigger the letters will look. Typefaces with large x-heights may appear more difficult to read.

  1. Stem

A vertical only stroke that creates the letter. The capital letter 'I' is a good example of stems.

  1. Tail

The descending, often decorative stroke on the letter 'Q' or the descending, often curved diagonal stroke on 'K' or 'R' .