by Herb Lubalin

How’d you fare on AIGA’s Ultimate Typography Quiz? See what questions you missed and school yourself with the answer sheet below:

1. What’s a font?
The delivery mechanism for letterforms.

2. What’s a typeface?
The design of the letterforms.

3. And kerning is?
Manually adjusting the individual spaces between letter pairs for legibility.

4. What’s tracking?
Adding or subtracting white space equally amongst all characters in a word, line or paragraph.

5. Please tell us you know what leading is?
The vertical distance between baselines of type.

6. What does the term x-height refer to?
The height of a lowercase character, usually the x, from the baseline to the top of character.

7. What’s an interrobang?
A glyph used to convey incredulous disbelief, as in: WHAT (interrobang).

8. What’s a diacritical?
An accent applied to letterforms in languages such as French and Czech.

9. In letterform nomenclature, how is the bowl different from the counter?
The bowl is the completely enclosed round part of letterforms such as p, b, and R, both the positive and negative spaces, while the counter refers only to the negative space, whether it’s completely enclosed or not.

10. How would type nerds describe the difference between an eye and an ear?
An eye is similar to the counter, but refers to the enclosed part of the letter e, and an ear is the small stroke extending off the upper part of a lowercase g.

11. What does the term monospace refer to?
Each character is the same horizontal width.

12. Is it OK to use a text typeface as display in a headline sized at 72 points?
Sometimes, if it looks all right and if the default letterspacing is reduced.

13. When using Adobe Creative Suite typographic preferences, is it better to specify optical or metric letterspacing? Why?
Metric, because it uses the letterspacing values built into the typeface by the type designer.

14. In typesetting, what’s a river?
Text that has a noticeable vertical white space formed by accidentally stacked word spaces.

15. If you asked a typesetter what an orphan is, he/she would say that while there’s some disagreement, it usually refers to:
A paragraph opening line that appears by itself at the bottom of a page or column, separated from the rest of the text.

16. A widow, on the other hand, allowing for the same level of disagreement, is:
A paragraph ending line that falls at the beginning of the following page or column, separated from the rest of the text.

17. What’s a pilcrow?
A paragraph symbol.

18. What’s a ligature?
All of these.

19. What’s the difference between variable and parametric fonts?
Variable typefaces allow a single font file to have a variety of weights, widths, and other attributes while parametric fonts use defined parameters to create adjustable x-heights, stroke widths, and letter widths.

20. Very small text (5 points or less) needs what to make it most legible?
Additional overall letterspacing.