Glossary of fonts

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page break
In word processing, a mark that indicates where the printer will start a new page. Programs such as MS Word insert page breaks automatically (often a line of dots or dashes across the screen) when you’ve typed a full page of text. The automatic page break is called a soft page break because the program may adjust its location if you insert or delete text above the break. You can enter a hard page break, called a forced page break, which forces the program to start a new page at the hard page break’s location.

pagination
Laying out the parts of a document into pages.

paleography
The study or science of deciphering ancient writings to determine their origin.

palimpsest
A vellum manscript which was erased with pumice at some time so that anothe manuscript could be written on top of it.

pangram
A sentence containing every letter of the alphabet. Useful in font demonstrations. Frequently used are phrases like “How razorback-jumping frogs can level six piqued gymnasts!” or “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” But less common are “The risque gown makes a very brazen exposure of juicy flesh.” or “Jaded zombies acted quaintly but kept driving their oxen forward” or even “The sex life of the woodchuck is a provocative question for most vertebrate zoology majors.” and the even more rare “Jelly-like above the high wire, six quaking pachyderms kept the climax of the extravaganza in a dazzling state of flux.”

papyrus
A paper-like writing material made from thin sripts from the pith of the papyrus reed, growing along the Nile. Used until 11th century. Has become a name for a font.

paragraph rules

Graphic lines associated with a paragraph that separate blocks of text. Rules are commonly used to separate columns and isolate graphics on a page. Some desktop publishing programs allow paragraph styles to be created that include paragraph rules above and/or below the paragraph.


parchment
Originally the inner side of a sheepskin or goatskin, used for writing surface. Parchment was considered inferior to vellum, which was taken fron younger animals with finer skins. Now a common texture for paper types.

pen
From the Latin penna, meaning “a feather.” A handheld implement for writing and/or drawing, which utilizes a liquid pigment to mark the writing surface.

pencil
Handheld writing implement which uses solid lead or graphite to mark writing surface.

Phoenician
Likely the first true alphabet, developed by the Phenician Semites in the modern area of Lebanon at about 1000 B.C.; consisted of 22 consonants.

phoetic writing
The use of written symbols to represent spoken sounds.

phi Φ φ
Sixth letter of the Greek Alphabet. The font Symbol most often used on American Computers to Type Cyrillic Letters places it in ASCII 70, the space for capital F. It looks just like an O with a capital I through the midsection.

photocomposition


Typesetting method in which images of letterforms are set by photographically imaging master versions onto film or photographic paper.

photo-offset printing
A printing process in which ink adhering to a photographically processed plate is transferred to paper via one or more intermediate surfaces (rollers).

pi Π π

Twenty-first letter of the Greek Alphabet. The font Symbol most often used on American Computers to Type Cyrillic Letters places it in ASCII 80, the space for capital P. It looks much like two lowercase l’s with a straight crossbar at the top. The lowercase pi looks similar but is usually drawn with more cursive strokes.


pictogapahic writing
A stage in the development of writing where a pictorial representation of an object was used to symbolize the object involved.

pi font
A font of assorted mathematical or other symbols, designed to be used as an adjunct to the text fonts.

pica
A unit of measure equal to 12 points. Two different picas are in common use. (1) In traditional printers’ measure, the pica is 4.22 mm or 0.166 inch: close to, but not exactly, one sixth of an inch. This is the customary British and American unit of measuring the length of the line and the depth of the typeblock. (2) The PostScript pica is precisely one sixth of an inch. (Note: the continental European counterpart to the pica is the cicero, which is 7% larger.)

piece fraction
A fraction (such as 9/32) is not included in the font and must therefore be made up from separate component characters.

pitch
The density of characters in a printed line, usually expressed as characters per inch. In scalable fonts, like Type 1 or TrueType, both point size and pitch can be scaled. Note that pitch scales in inverse proportion to point size. If a font is 10 pitch at 12 point, then it will be 5 pitch at 24 point, and 20 pitch at 6 point.

point
A unit of type size equal to 0.01384 inch, or approximately 1/72 of an inch.

point size

Used to refer to the physical height, in printer’s points, of the body on which a type was cast, regardless of the size of the letters themselves. Currently, the term is used very loosely, and reference to point size can mean different measurements to different people, due to the fact that type is not cast the same. Some font designers as well allow themselves a liberty to fill or not fill the space between the baseline and ceiling of the character to whatever degree they feel comfortable. This causes unusual discrepancies between typeset fonts.


PostScript
A page description language developed by Adobe Systems. Used for high-quality printing on laser printers and other high-resolution printing devices.

Postscript Font
Postscript Type 1 fonts that can be installed on a computer only by using accompanying bitmapped fonts. A font that doesn’t appear on-screen and is available for use only by the printer. When using a printer font, you see a generic screen font on-screen; you must wait until printing is complete to see your document’s fonts. Ideally, screen and printer fonts should be identical; only then can a computer system claim to offer what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) text processing. Character-based programs, such as WordPerfect 5.1, running under DOS can’t display typefaces other than those built into the computer’s ROM. With Microsoft Windows and Macintosh systems, you can use TrueType or Adobe Type Manager (ATM) outline (scalable) fonts, which appear on-screen the way they appear when printed. See outline font.

Postscript Printer
A printer, generally a laser printer, that includes the processing circuitry needed to decode and interpret printing instructions phrased in PostScript. Because PostScript printers require their own microprocessor circuitry and additional random-access memory (RAM) to image each page, they’re more expensive than non-PostScript printers. However, they can print text or graphics in subtle gradations of gray. They can also use Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) graphics and outline fonts, both of which you can size and scale without introducing distortions.

Printer Font

A scalable outline font that conforms to Adobe Software’s specifications for Type 1 fonts, which require a Postscript printer. Unlike bit-mapped fonts, which often print with crude edges and curves, Postscript’s outline font technology produces smooth letters that your printer renders at its maximum possible resolution. A Postscript T1 font comes with a screen font, which simulates the font’s appearance on-screen, and a printer font, which must either be built-in to your printer or downloaded to the printer before printing. Note that the type may look jagged on-screen unless you buy Adobe Type Manager, which brings PostScript scalable font technology to the display screen.


Printer’s Devil
Modern Day “Apprentice”, i.e. in the 1700s and 1800s in order to become a Journeyman Printer, one started as a “Printer’s Devil.” An unpaid assistant who was given room (typically in the shop itself). His tasks were to keep the shop clean, clean all the presses, clean the hand type with kerosene and perform all duties requested by the journeyman printer.

proof
A working copy of typeset material printed for the purpose of checking content and format and of making corrections.

proofreading
The process of reading and marking corrections on a proof — a trial copy of the text of articles, books, or other material to be published — is called proofreading. In most methods of printing, a special copy of the printed material is prepared at an early stage in the process while changes can still be made with relative ease. This copy, called a proof, is checked carefully for accuracy. The term proofreading is also used outside the field of publishing to describe the checking of a writer’s own work. Before handing in a school paper or a class assignment or sending a letter, careful writers proofread their work. First, writers read for sense — to make sure that the written work says what they meant it to say — but they also read to see that the mechanics — grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, spelling — are correct. Proofreading dates from the early days of printing. In traditional practice, proofs were made first from a galley, a long tray holding a column of type, and the proofs were called galley proofs. The term galley is still often used for the first copy produced in photocomposition and other forms of typesetting that do not involve metal type.

provenance

The place of origin of a manuscript, where it was written.


psi Ψ ψ
Twenty-third letter of the Greek Alphabet. The font Symbol most often used on American Computers to Type Cyrillic Letters places it in the space for capital Y.

punch
The metal tool which is source for a block of type. When “punched” against a piece of hot metal, the convex carving of a letter on the punch leaves the impression of that letter.

 




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