point size

Before my question let me state my assumption, which is that point size is measured from the highest point of the letters, usually the ascenders or in some cases cap height, to the lowest point, almost always the descenders. Further, punctuation such as apostrophes, quote marks, or accents, especially accents above caps, is not counted.
I was experimenting with Times New Roman today (forgive me) and noticed that when setting 11 pt Times New Roman (Open Type) over 10.5, the ascenders and descenders do not meet.
By the math, shouldn't they? The highest ascenders do not touch the lowest descenders.
It must have an extremely small amount of extra space either above or below.

Why does software have me select font size in "points"?

How (other than trial and error) am I to select proper "point" size in order to get the characters to be a certain height and/or width? Seriously.

I recently designed some calendars in CorelDRAW and the only way I could know the size of characters I had selected was to measure them with the on-screen ruler.

Same thing with the position of the characters. Even if I only want a single line of text, there is still obligatory whitespace above and below, which I have to measure and compensate for. I deal with text boxes overlapping, even when the text itself does not even come close to overlapping; it is the fault of this obligatory whitespace.

Are there standard ways of dealing with these issues?

Té Rowan's picture

Point v Point

I think this is technical enough for Build...

I tossed this little conversion script together today to brush up on my (rather feeble) awk skills. All it does is convert points to mm and spew out some CSS classes. Might be useful for someone...

#! /bin/sh

# Only tested on ash and bash and with GNU awk.

unset Pts
while getopts pt: f
 case $f in
  t) Pts="pt=$OPTARG" ;;
shift `expr $OPTIND - 1`

LC_ALL=C awk '
BEGIN            { pts=0.352778 }
pt=="DTP"        { pts=0.352778 }
pt=="Postscript" { pts=0.352778 }
pt=="TeX"        { pts=0.351460 }
pt=="Pica"       { pts=0.351460 }
pt=="Didot"      { pts=0.375972 }
pt=="Cicero"     { pts=0.376065 }
pt=="Berthold"   { pts=0.376000 }
pt=="Imprimerie" { pts=0.400000 }

NF==0 { print }

Hello Typophiles:

Just wondering if anyone knows the history of any proposals that may have been made in the past to systematize a universal "x-factor" for typefaces that would allow easy calculation of ideal body text sizing? (Searching the forums didn't reveal any hits...)

For example:
If we just hypothetically used Helvetica 55 as the universal standard yardstick (since it's so ubiquitous), we could give this font an "x-factor" of 1.000 and then assign an x-factor to all other fonts based on the ratio of their x-heights to Helvetica's (using 1000 UPM measurements).

714 (ascend) + 286 (descend) = 1000 UPM
517 = x-height

Times New Roman:
717 (ascend) + 283 (descend) = 1000 UPM
461 = x-height


I'm investigating the state of modern newspaper design and the overwhelming effect screen based devices are inflicting on the newspaper industry In the developed world. I'm analysing a few papers from around the globe, and i'm looking rather intensely at the content on each page and how many words in each column etc. But I am also trying to get a rough idea of what point sizes certain papers or pages are set in. I wasn't sure if the point size of a face was the width and the height of a typeface ?? e.g Exchange for The Wall Street Journal, Measured the height @ 6 pt and found on average 4 letters per Pica, and just added them together and divided like a ratio, to get 8 pt?? Is this how it is done or am I over complicating things?? lol

Syndicate content Syndicate content