Jake Trent

Anatomy of Letterforms

Letters are made up of special lego bits. Here is an incomplete catalog.

I just watched a great typography fundamentals video on Pluralsight.

A part of that training was learning some of the specific parts of letterforms in typography. Here are some of the bits I learned

Stroke

stroke

Generically, a line in the letter. Thickness of line.

Stem

steam

Vertical stroke.

Ascender

stroke

Vertical stroke above x height.

Descender

stroke

Vertical stroke below baseline.

Bar

stroke

Horizontal stroke with no connection on either end. Can be a crossbar as in "A".

Bowl

stroke

Curved part of the stroke that creates an empty interior space

Counter

stroke

The interior space inside a bowl.

Aperture

stroke

Opening at bottom of letter openings.

Serif

stroke

Bar at the end of a stroke.

Terminals

stroke

End of lines that don't have serifs.

Hairline

stroke

The thinnest line in a serif typeface.

Brackets

stroke

Curved, bridge-like connectors on serifs.

Ear

stroke

Decorative extension.

Loop

stroke

Bottom of "g". Either fully or partially closed.

Beak

stroke

Decorative projection at the end of a bar.

Crotch

stroke

Angled form where 2 strokes meet.

Fineal

stroke

Tapered ending of some strokes.

And here's a graphic of this anatomy, all together, that I put together.

What other interesting parts of letterform anatomy are there?