Anatomy of Type

The anatomy of type describes the visual elements that make up the letterforms within a typeface. Each letterform is made up of individual components.

1. CAP HEIGHT

2. ARM

3. ASCENDER

4. APEX

5. BAR

6. X HEIGHT

7. BOWL

8. EYE

9. DESCENDER

10. CROTCH

11. EAR

12. LINK

13. LOOP

14. TITTLE

15. SERIF

16. SLAB SERIF

17. SHOULDER

18. SPINE

19. BEAK

20. SPUR

21. STEM

22. COUNTER

23. STRESS

24. APERTURE

25. STROKE

26. SWASH

27. TAIL

28. TERMINAL

29. HOOK

1. Cap Height: The distance from the baseline to the top of the capital letter.

2. Arm: A stroke that is attached on one end and free on the other.

3. Ascender: An upward vertical stroke that extends beyond the x-height.

4. Apex: A point at the top of a character where two strokes meet.

5. Bar: The horizontal stroke in characters such as A, H, R, e, and f.

6. X Height: The distance between the baseline and the height of the lowercase letter x.

7. Bowl: A curved stroke which creates an enclosed space within a character.

8. Eye: The closed counter of a lowercase e.

9. Descender: A downward vertical stroke that extends beyond the baseline.

10. Crotch: The part of the letter where two strokes meet.

11. Ear: The small stroke that projects from the top of the lowercase g.

12. Link: The stroke that connects the top and bottom part of a two–story lowercase g.

13. Loop: The lower portion of the lowercase g.

14. Tittle: The dot above the lowercase j and i.

15 & 16: Serif & Slab Serif: The projections extending off the main strokes of the characters of serif typefaces.

17. Shoulder: A curved stroke originating from a stem.

18. Spine:  The main curved stroke of a lowercase or capital letter.

19. Beak: A type of decorative stroke at the end of the arm of a letter, connected to the arm by the terminal.

20. Spur: A small projection off a main stroke found on many capital Gs.

21. Stem: A main stroke that is more or less straight, not part of a bowl.

22. Counter: The white space enclosed by a letterform.

23. Stress: The direction of thickening in a curved stroke.

24. Aperture: The partially enclosed space of a letterform.

25. Stroke: A straight or curved line.

26. Swash: A fancy flourish replacing a terminal or serif.

27. Tail: The descender of a Q or short diagonal stroke of an R.

28. Terminal: A circular form at the end of the arm, leg or brow in letters.

29. Hook: A curved, protruding stroke in a terminal.