There's a new serif in town

No - not the cowboy kind. We're talking about type here. The word is s-e-r-i-f , and it means the little feet that a letter sits on, an important element in the design of type. Want to know more? Here's a glossary of terms about type:

BASELINE - The imaginary line on which letters rest.

DESCENDER - The part of the letter that dips down below the baseline - such as "j" or "y."

ASCENDER - A vertical stroke that rises above the body of a letter. Think "h" or "f."

BOWL - The rounded, closed part of a letter. A capital "B" has two.

POINT SIZE - Type and leading are measured in point size. One point is about 1/72 of an inch. The Monitor's largest front-page headline is generally 48 pt. The type you are reading now is 9 pt.

FONT - A particular design and size of a type face, available in caps and lowercase letters. For example, 12 pt. Futura Bold is a font; 14 pt. Futura Bold is another font.

ITALIC - A diagonal version of a typeface, usually leaning to the right. Its name comes from the fact this style was invented in Italy.

LIGATURE - Letters that have been joined together in a design. Check out the Monitor's logo - see the "h" and "s"? That's a ligature.

ROMAN - This term just means "regular." It's the most standard version of a type font.

SERIF and SANS-SERIF - The earliest type was drawn by hand with quill pens, so when a vertical letter stroke came to an end, it was pretty hard to stop the ink from flowing and make a square corner. Early scribes invented a finishing touch called a serif, which looks like graceful little feet. SANS-SERIF means without serifs. We use both styles, for variety, in this newspaper. Can you find both on this page?

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.