### Anatomy

Typography is a subtle craft, in which the smallest mistake can appear as a glaring error even to the untrained eye. Unlike the spoken word, which quickly passes and is forgotten, printed type has the potential to survive for hundreds of years.

The adoption of good habits and a healthy respect for type characters and fonts is a good starting point for anyone wishing to practice graphic design.

In order to discuss typography, it helps to understand the anatomy of letter forms.

#### Parts of the Line of Type

Click on the image for a larger version.

**Basics**

- The
**base line**is the imaginary line on which all characters rest. Descenders hang below the base line. - The
**mean line**is the imaginary line which determines the height of lowercase letters. Ascenders rise above the mean line. - The
**x-height**is the distance between the flat top and bottom of a lower case letter which has no ascender or descender, such as x. It is the distance between the base line and the mean line. The curved tops and bottoms of the p, o, and g extend beyond these lines so that they appear visually to fit the x-height.

**Ascenders**

- The
**ascender**is the stroke of a letter which rises above the mean line, as in the letters d, f and k. - The
**ascender line**is the imaginary line which determines the height of ascenders. - The
**ascender height**is the x-height plus the height of the ascending stroke. It the distance between the base line and the ascender line.

**Descenders**

- The
**descender**is the stroke of a letter which dips below the base line, as in the letters g and j. - The
**descender line**is the imaginary line which defines the bottom reach of descenders.

**Capital Letters **

- The
**cap line**is the imaginary line which determines the height of capital letters. - The
**cap height**is the height of capital letters. It is the distance bewteen the base line and the cap line.

Take Quiz 4: Typography 1, Part I

Source: *Graphic Design Foundation Course * by Curtis Tappenden, Luke Jefford and Stells Farris