12 Typography Terms You Need to Know When Making a Logo

Making a logo requires an eye for design and an understanding of the graphic design terminology involved in the logo creation process. One of the most confusing areas of logo design terminology is typography. Font, typeface, kerning, leading – what do all these terms mean?

Common Typography Terms

Understanding the terminology of typography can help you create a more effective brand icon. Following are some of the most common typography terms that you’re likely to encounter when you’re making a logo along with easy to understand definitions.

1. Type Family: A type family is a collection of related typefaces that share common design characteristics. For example, Helvetica is a type family that includes a number of different stylistic versions of the regular Helvetica typeface.

2. Typeface: Typeface is often used interchangeably with font, but the terms actually refer to two different things. A typeface is a specific style within a type family. For example, Helvetica Bold Oblique is a typeface within the Helvetica type family.

3. Font: A font is the technical format of any typeface. For example, when a graphic designer needs to use a specific typeface in a project but does not have it installed on her computer, she can purchase the font or if the client owns it, she can ask the client to send the font to her. In other words, a font is the “file” that can create the typeface digitally.

4. Serif: A serif typeface includes small projecting features that appear at the end of some strokes. For example, Times New Roman is a serif typeface.

5. Sans Serif: A sans serif typeface does not include small projecting features at the end of some strokes. For example, Arial is a sans serif typeface.

6. Weight: The weight of a typeface refers to how heavy the strokes are in the characters. In simplest terms, weight could be referred to as how “bold” a typeface looks.

7. Width: The width of a typeface refers to how wide each character is.

8. Leading: Leading is the space between lines of text.

9. Kerning: Kerning is the space between individual character pairs.

10. Tracking: Tracking is the space between a group of characters.

11. Oblique: Oblique is a form of type that slants to the right with no additional changes to the regular typeface characters.

12. Italic: Italic is a form of type that slants to the right but unlike oblique typefaces, italic characters don’t look exactly like the regular typeface characters. Specifically, characters might be stylized or use different unit shapes (referred to as glyphs).

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