5 Basic Typography Terms Every Beginner Should Know

To make your text look more comfortable in reading, you must know the following typographic terms (image via shutterstock):

Basic Terms:

1. Line:


All the typography has been categorized into five lines. These lines are considered as the basic guidelines for typographers. All the five lines and their functions are described below:

Cap Height:

Cao height is actually the top of a capital letter. It is considered very important and very useful

Base Line:

This line indicates the content part. Almost every designer knows about it, and if you are a beginner, then you should learn the use of this line properly.

Top Line:

This line elaborates top letter touching. Very rarely it is also observed that the top line sometimes becomes bigger than the capital line.

Middle Line:

It identifies height of lower case letters. Ascenders and descenders aren’t identified through this line.

Descender Height:

This shows the touching of descenders and is considered equally important as cap height.

2. Leading:


Leading can be simply called as line-height. It also shows line spacing between texts. Leading is one of those elements of typography which can make or break your work. You need to have a strong command on this part. Full control over leading proves very beneficial in several ways. The ratio of leading is equally important as its measurements. So, never use it in excess.

3. Tracking:


The space caught in between many characters is known as tracking. It is also called as letter-spacing in CSS. Tracking or letter spacing totally depends upon two terms; loose and tight. When the letters are set far apart each other then we call it as “Loose tracking” and if the letters are too close, then it is called as “Tight tracking”.

4. Kerning:


People mostly get confused while differentiating between kerning and tracking. In simple words, Kerning is the space between two letters and tracking is the space between two words.

Kerning is a task which should be done very carefully. The main purpose of this term is to make it convenient for human eye to read text. To fulfill this purpose, kerning helps a lot.

5. Alignment


Alignment increases credibility of the text. Alignment is itself based on four basic terms which should always be considered and should be chosen while keeping the theme of your website in mind. The four terms are described below:

Flush Left:

Aligning your text to the left side is called as flush left. This is the most common type of alignment. Every line on your page has a different function and like this every alignment also matter. So, research about everything before using it. Western languages like English, Spanish, French, Italian and several other are always aligned left.

Flush Right:

Aligning your text to the right side is called as flush right. Languages including Urdu and Arabic are aligned right in typography.

Justify Text:

Leaving spaces equally on the right and left sides of text is called as “Justified alignment”. This alignment gives a very clean touch to your text.


If you are designing long text then you should use this type of alignment. The alignment usually looks very irregular but sometimes gives a great touch to your text.


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