Wednesday, April 11, 2018

SearchResearch Challenge (4/11/18): A few typographic questions?

I was looking at some type samples the other day... 

... and I ended up with a bunch of questions that seem like basic typography, but I didn't know the answers!  

Can you help figure these out?   (They seem simple, but might be more complicated that you'd think.)  

1.  What's this part of the numeral 1 called? (That is, the thing sticking like a flange off the front.  Here I've circled it with a yellow dotted oval.) 

2.  What this line that connects these two characters called? 

3.  You often see elaborate / decorative characters in type.  Collectively, what are these kinds of characters called?  (This is handy to know if you want to search for them.) 

4.  Every so often I want to use a character that I KNOW exists, but I don't know the name, so it's hard to find and I'm reduced to manual search.  Here are a couple of such characters.  What are they?  More importantly, how did you find out their names? 

Good luck with these Challenges.  They're mostly for fun, but you just might find that the things we learn here are useful in your future typographic explorations.  Enjoy! 

And... as always, be sure to tell us HOW your figured out the answers to these Challenges.  Tell us how you did it! 

Search on! 


  1. I happen to know the answers to all the questions because I like typography (and languages). If I needed, I would search for answers either in my physical copy of James Felici's The Complete Manual of Typography (parts of which are made available online as a free PDF by the publisher's themselves, here) or with Google Image searches like [ typography glyph parts ] (better than just [ glyph parts ]) or [ typeface anatomy ]. It certainly helps that I already know the terms glyph and typeface. The best short answer to all typeface anatomy- and typography glossary-related questions Iknow of is a page I have bookmarked: a post on Fontsmith's blog entitled The A-Z of typographic terms.

    (My answer to all questions will be given in a separate comment, because it's a bit too long.)

  2. Question 1. As a matter of fact, if there is any specific name for the diagonal stroke of number 1, I don't know it and I couldn't find it via the searches above. For me, it is just a serif — because old style digit one doesn't have it. ("Old style numerals", also known as "text figures", are more or less the lowercase equivalent in digits.) But it does seem like it should have its own name. I guess it could be called an arm too.

    Question 2. I had actually forgotten that the name of that line connecting two characters was not "ligature", which is in fact the whole glyph formed by the combination of two (or more) characters; the line itself is a gadzook. This particular ligature is, like most but not all, a quaint (check the source above).

    Question 3. I am not exactly sure what answer you are expecting. Those two elaborate characters are not supposed to be used in large portions of text. In that sense, glyphs like these would belong to display typefaces. They also imitate handwriting. In that sense, they could be be part of a handwriting font/typeface (but, since they are not slanted, they shouldn't be called cursive, a word that is often mistaken with handwritten).
    By the way, uploading the image(s) to Font Squirrel's Font Identifier / Matcherator, I found out that your letter A is from Yana Regular Swash Caps II by Laura Worthington. I already knew the Z and I was surprised to see that the Matcherator couldn't find it, but the (actually better) WhatTheFont tool on MyFonts identified it correctly as the Z from Zapfino Extra Std SmallCaps by the late Hermann Zapf.

    Question 4. (how to find what a certain glyph/character is) I often use Google Translate's "Turn On Handwriting" feature, but for certain symbols it's not as good as a Unicode character recognition tool like shapecatcher. Both tools allow me to write/draw the character and will try to recognize it.
    The first character (∀) is the symbol used in maths as a universal quantifier (Unicode names it FOR ALL; it's U+2200 or alt+8704). It could also be Latin capital letter turned A, Logical OR with horizontal dash, Greek vocal notaion symbol-24, or Canadian syllabics carrier Ghu.
    The second character (ß) is the German letter Eszett, which stands for a double S (Unicode LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S, U+00DF, alt+0223).
    The third character (Þ) is the letter thorn, used in modern Icelandic but also in Old English, Gothic, and Old Norse alphabets (Unicode LATIN CAPITAL LETTER THORN, U+.00DE, alt+0222).
    Because I already knew the the symbols, I used a small and free character map application for Windows that I use a lot to find out their Unicode names and numbers: Andrew West / BabelStone's BabelMap. If I remember correctly, Apple users have a similar tool already in the operating system. Is this true?

  3. 4.
    [Upside down A is] tried drawing it in translate. No go. just queried and found The upside-down A symbol is the universal quantifier from predicate logic. Whatever that is.

    [Loopy B] finds wikipedia mathematical alphanumeric symbols. THis is small Greek beta use din math.

    [P thing] same site swuggest capital greek rho

    3. This is script. One of my favourite fonts that I paid top dollar for and Docs will not let me use it.

    2. This is an example of ligature. In grade 8 we had an actual movable type class which I really liked.

    1. Serif; same source as 2.

    This was fun and way too short.. j

  4. Ah, Mr Viterbo sent me back to the keyboard where I [gadzook] having heard of that and found this site which nicely explains most of this Challenge: . Strangely it tells us about 'tittle' but gives not a jot about 'jot'

  5. serif I knew - did an image search of the 2nd - googled your question for the 3rd - 4th: recalled shapecatcher & drew…

    a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter in certain typefaces.

    In writing and typography, a ligature occurs where two or more graphemes or letters are joined as a single glyph.
    typography ligature
    I stand corrected -
    no. 34 - after reading Luís Miguel Viterbo
    13, including "Tittle" that I won't remember…

    script fonts:
    Script fonts, fonts with extreme features such as swashes or exaggerated serifs, and any fonts designed to be used at larger than body copy sizes can be described asdecorative type
    more script


    ∀ For all

    ß Capital ẞ


    Þ Latin capital letter thorn

    back to jr. high typing class… thanks, Mr. Fowler
    art typing

    a dingbat resource

    Edith Bunker [dingbat], TV history… unmake-able today

  6. 1. I believe this is best described as an arm.

    Arm/leg – An upper or lower (horizontal or diagonal) stroke that is attached on one end and free on the other.

    However it is much like a serif and I believe one could be forgiven for calling it a serif, simply because it is the only number to have such an angled stroke, even though most serifs in letters are angled down strokes to the right and this is an angled down stroke to the left. Nevertheless is appears to serve the same purpose as a serif in a letter form character but I believe arm is the better term.

    From my college days and breathing in the lead fumes of a Linotype machine from a part time summer job at a typesetting shop I know a little bit about fonts and font design more particularly the drawing of shapes of the letter characters, I knew that I would have to zero in on pages discussing the drawing of fonts versus the use of a font in graphic design or web design or examples of fonts. Only a font designer is skilled in the design of typefaces and fonts. Whereas a graphic designer (typically) uses the font (and may modify it but rarely needs to design it from scratch). Although I knew this I had no idea whether Google would know about this.

    So my searches were as follows:

    typography letter forms parts numerals

    typography anatomy numbers

    typography anatomy numeral 1

    designing the number 1

    design font numerals

    anatomy of typeface numerals

    This last search led to 2 results that defined many (though not all) of the various pieces parts of a font letterform.

    On this second link lo and behold the very first entry is Arm which yielded the definition I quoted above.
    Reading through the whole list of terms and the illustration on the first link, there were actually a few other possible and interesting candidates that I ruled out:


    What made this problem challenging is that there is actually almost nothing to be found on Google showing examples of drawing number fonts. Lots of examples of drawing letter forms. And tons of pages displaying fonts. So this is quite a needle in a haystack.

  7. 1. What's this part of the numeral 1 called? (That is, the thing sticking like a flange off the front. Here I've circled it with a yellow dotted oval.)

    [number 1 character history]

    From Wikipedia…”The glyph used today in the Western world to represent the number 1, a vertical line, often with a... that links to
    Serif From Wikipedia in Spanish: “Las gracias, serifas (del inglés serif), remates, patines o terminales son pequeños adornos ubicados generalmente en los extremos de las líneas de los caracteres tipográficos.”

    [number 1 serif]

    Why is 1 hand-written without a serif and 7 without a dash?

    2. What this line that connects these two characters called?

    Searched by image and found :

    Typographic ligature

    [parts of typographic ligature]

    A Beautifully Illustrated Glossary Of Typographic Terms You Should Know Ctrl- F “ligature”!

    [gadzook typography]

    A gadzook or a quaint?

    [gadzook vs quaint]

    Graphicacy's Type Anatomy Vernacular

    3. You often see elaborate / decorative characters in type. Collectively, what are these kinds of characters called?

    [list of typographic] and [list of typographic adornment] [list of typography embellishments]


    Dingbat, embellishments and others

    4. Every so often I want to use a character that I KNOW exists, but I don't know the name, so it's hard to find and I'm reduced to manual search. Here are a couple of such characters. What are they?

    To find them, we have some tools that previous SRS Challenges have mentioned. Finding them and for many of us, knowing them in many cases is also a problem. We can’t use something if we don’t know it exists.

    [list of uncommon typographic characters] Found Logograms and others

    Typographical symbols in Wikipedia

    Then searched [ß typography name]

    the surface forms of graphemes are glyphs (sometimes "graphs")

    the "ß" in German may be regarded as glyphs, yet they were originally ligatures...Two or more glyphs which have the same significance, whether used interchangeably or chosen depending on context, are called allographs of each other.

    [glyph finder] [ list of glyph] [ Grapheme finder]

    Glyph icons

  8. Hi Dan,
    [typeface terms] gives a bunch of results you have to peruse ( is the most complete) to find
    1. the flag of the "1" figure.
    2. a gadzook
    3. a character with a swash which leads to swash fonts

    4. When looking for a particular glyph, Unicode is your friend (Wikipedia will tell you). But if you don't want to look at all those fancy tables, just try an image search of the glyph, it may give good results.
    ∀ is the math logic for all symbol, like in ∀ x ∈ ℝ, google images gives good results.
    ß is the eszett, a german grapheme called s sharp in english. Google images doesn't work very well here, but you can see a german text with that letter as first result. Giving "german" as a hint returns the results immediately.
    Þ is the thorn letter. Google images doesn't know it at all. There you have to look at those Unicode tables.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. hope the travel won't cause a typo delay… does anything unusual ever happen on the trips?
    Rhapsody Quintet - Lord of The Rings Medley
    a quiet Spring day in Canada…
    Halifax facts? road trip
    "Despite using search almost daily, people don't really understand how search works, nor what it can do for them. This limits their mental models…" DR
    Dalhousie Bicentennial
    still wintery

  11. Q1) Anne and Deb here. For this question I was pretty sure it was a serif because I had a course in grad school once where we discussed fonts. I remembered there are serif fonts and san serif fonts. To confirm that answer we did a search for: parts of numeral one serif
    The results confirmed that this part was called the serif.
    We will get back with other questions later.

  12. …while waiting for the serif to drop…
    Harvard educated Tessa Lyons-Laing, of fb notoriety, endorsement b^.^d - (double thumbs-up emoticon) — like the updated format, adding your Mom is a nice touch.
    Palo Alto LWV panel, started at DR intro
    "do not use this site as a source of reference for your own research!"
    as the panel demonstrates, it's a steep curve… being overly insular is an impeder too… imho (44 views when I looked)
    Samuel Woolley
    site - fwiw

    tree octopus… notice far upper right corner NSA
    "The CryptoKids characters and names are trademarked by the US National Security Agency and are used for satirical purposes without permission. "Rosetta Stone" is a trademark of Fairfield Language Technologies and its use is acceptable collateral damage. Other mentioned company trademarks belong to their respective owners. ZPi is not associated with the NSA, the US Government (either Federal or Shadow), or the International Union of Espionage Doers."
    from the tree octi
    earther - GPO
    on twitter

    1. figured the LWV would appreciate this… not sure it indicates vote tampering… Russian, Cephalopoda or otherwise…
      Friend of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus (FOTPNWTO)

  13. remmij April 19, 1985 at 11:11 AM

    pretty excited about my new Mac…
    should really start making some forward progress into the future, on the net…
    anyone heard anything about a googly thing-a-ma-bob gizmo lookey/findy motor?