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In European and West Asian typography
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading , adjusting the spaces between groups of letters and adjusting the space between pairs of letters...
Penmanship is the technique of writing with the hand using a writing instrument. The various generic and formal historical styles of writing are called hands, whilst an individual personal style of penmanship is referred to as handwriting....
, the baseline
is the line upon which most letters "sit" and below which descender
In typography, a descender is the portion of a letter that extends below the baseline of a font. The line that descenders reach down to is known as the beard line....
In the example to the right, the letter 'p' has a descender; the other letters sit on the (red) baseline.
Most, though not all, typeface
In typography, a typeface is the artistic representation or interpretation of characters; it is the way the type looks. Each type is designed and there are thousands of different typefaces in existence, with new ones being developed constantly....
s are similar in the following ways as regards the baseline:
- capital letters sit on the baseline. The most common exceptions are the J and Q.
- Lining figures (see Arabic numerals
Arabic numerals or Hindu numerals or Hindu-Arabic numerals or Indo-Arabic numerals are the ten digits . They are descended from the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed by Indian mathematicians, in which a sequence of digits such as "975" is read as a numeral...
) sit on the baseline.
- The following text figures
Text figures are numerals typeset with varying heights in a fashion that resembles a typical line of running text, hence the name...
have descenders: 3 4 5 7 9.
- The following lowercase letters have descenders: g j p q y.
- Glyphs with rounded lower extents (0 3 5 6 8 c C G J o O Q U) dip very slightly below the baseline ("overshoot") to create the optical illusion that they sit on the baseline. Peter Karow's Digital Typefaces suggests that typical overshoot is about 1.5%.
The vertical distance of the base lines of consecutive lines in a paragraph is also known as line height or leading
In typography, leading refers to the distance between the baselines of successive lines of type. The term originated in the days of hand-typesetting, when thin strips of lead were inserted into the formes to increase the vertical distance between lines of type...
, although the latter can also refer to the baseline distance minus the font size.
North Indian scripts have a characteristic hanging
baseline; the letters are aligned to the top of the writing line, marked by an overbar, with diacritics extending above the baseline.
East Asian scripts have no baseline; each glyph sits in a square box, with neither ascenders nor descenders. When mixed with scripts with a low baseline, East Asian characters should be set so that the bottom of the character is between the baseline and the descender height.
In typeface design, the overshoot of a round or pointed letter is the degree to which it extends higher or lower than a comparably sized "flat" letter , to achieve an optical effect of being the same size....