Font Characteristics

Font Characteristics

  29 Sep 2019   , ,


Let’s now dive into some
characteristics of fonts a bit. Think of this as a crash
course on the anatomy of type, a super fast primer on basic typography. Now, as we mentioned earlier, Roboto
is a standard font included in Android. It is a Sans-serif font. Sans-serif means without serifs. Serifs are the little wings
attached to the strokes of a letter like these here that
hang off the letter r. Serif fonts are common in
printed works like books and are generally considered more
comfortable for long form reading. On the other hand, Sans-serif fonts
are more common on the web and can be well suited to short bursts
of texts like in user interfaces. There’s also generally a safer choice
when you’re dealing with a range of screen densities. A Serif font can be a great compliment
with Roboto if used sparingly for things like title headings and
large type. Now, due to issues like anti aliasing
which would make small Serifs appear kind of blurry. It wouldn’t be advisable to use a Serif
font for really, really small text. Let’s also briefly talk
about font metrics. We’re only going to talk about
the English alphabet for now. When trying to describe the anatomy of
text, you can easily go down a long, long, long rabbit hole. Anyway, let’s first
start with the baseline. The baseline is essentially
the optical bottom point of all text that doesn’t extend below,
like the lowercase y here. Next is the x-height which refers to the
height of the lowercase x in the font. Basically the height of most lowercase
letters, like the letter e here. Fonts with the relatively large
x-height tend to be more legible and better suited for body text. After that is the cap height
which is the height of most uppercase letters like
the capital T here. And next you have ascenders and
their cousin descenders. These are part of the lowercase letters
that extend way above the cap height or below the baseline. So the h has an ascender here and
the y has a descender. And finally, you have the leading. That’s the spacing between
vertical lines of text. On Android, you can control the leading
by providing a line spacing multiplier or line spacing extra for a text view. Now, there’s a lot more to
font anatomy than just this. Like I said, we just talked
about the English alphabet. Check the instructor’s notes for
links where you can learn more about font anatomy and
other cool font typography type stuff.

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