Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Why 24 Point Size Fonts Don't Measure 24 Points

So, why isn’t type true to its classified size? For instance, why is 24 point size type less than 24 points in height? And for that matter, why is any size or any style type font less than its classified size? And, on top of that, why do different fonts in the same point size differ in height? Understanding why, makes it a little easier to deal with the frustration of using letterforms that have to visually conform to a finite layout dimension in an illustration. 

It all has to do with historical type production and practice before the digital, and even the photographic type environments came along. Printing type was originally produced as wooden or metal letterforms that were used to print documents on a printing press. The letterforms could be arranged or “composed” into manuscripts, and then taken apart and reused. Printing presses used a considerable amount of pressure to transfer an image, or make an “impression” of the type onto printing paper. And, in order for this to occur without causing damage, the raised letterforms were affixed atop a supporting “body” of metal. An engineered “body” below the letterform was required to reduce the stress the printing press exerted on the letterform. Thinner font styles required a larger body to be used, while heavier fonts could get by with a smaller body and less support. As printing presses became more sophisticated, the relationship of size between the letterform and it’s supporting body also became a decision made by the type designer based on the intended use of the font and the aesthetic appearance the designer desired.

So, in keeping with tradition and the conception of users, printers, and designers regarding the appearance of a specific font in a particular size in both photographic and digital type, designers and transcribers, adopted a virtual approach to sizing type rather than an absolute one. In other words, even though it wasn’t needed, an imaginary bounding space was adopted for translating non-digital fonts into the digital environment.

The following letters are all set to 72 point. The rectangle around the letterform indicates the cast body the type was affixed to for usage, which shows why all the fonts shown are classified as 72 point, and in turn why although the letters vary in height, they are all classified as 72 point.

Letterforms set digitally at 72 point.
Letterforms and letterform bodies
overlapped for comparison.

Comparing Type Size

Depending your size needs when applying type to an illustration, type can chosen using different standards. The three examples of typestyle comparisons below show fonts sized using three different priorities. The first example shows two fonts chosen for the same capital letter height, but having different “waist” heights, i.e., the height of the lower case letter "x". The second example shows fonts chosen for the same waist height, but differing cap heights. And the third example shows two fonts used to make equivalent ascender/descender heights, but differing cap and waist heights.

Type with equal cap heights, unequal waist height.

Type with equal waist height, unequal cap and ascender/descender heights.
Type with equal ascender/descender height, unequal cap and waist height.

So, there is more than one criterion that can be used to determine the visual size of a typestyle. Some situations require an illustrator or designer to rely on the height of capital letters to make decisions about selecting a typestyle while other uses rely on the waist height or lower case to determine the selection a font. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More Resources To Help You Create A Professional Portfolio

© 2017 Don Arday.
There are many excellent companies with products, and services to help illustrators and designers create a professional customized portfolio of their work. These companies provide portfolio boxes, binders, clam shell cases, and attache carriers that come in a wide range of materials and sizes. Many portfolio suppliers provide special services such as engraving, embossing, and printing to enhance the uniqueness of a portfolio. Some companies even offer image printing and full assembly resulting a a completed finished portfolio. An artist just has to choose the portfolio product and upload digital files with their branding and interior page images.

Studio eQ
Studio eQ offers custom laser-cut and laser-etched portfolios and books for customers looking to showcase their artwork, project or memories. They offer custom portfolios in a variety of materials including bamboo, birch, teak, anodized aluminum, stainless steel & acrylic

Studio eQ's laser-etched books are bound with 3 aluminum 'Chicago-style, blind' screw posts in 3/8" standard, additional post lengths are available if required. Design your book using our template and upload your artwork, along with your desired options. Once checkout is complete they will send a digital proof confirming artwork location. Then once approved they will produce your book and ship it soon as it is complete.


Shrapnel Design
Your support and collaboration have helped us to design and develop a line of presentation portfolios and 3-ring binders like no other. Their production techniques continue to develop and by working together with great clients and suppliers we continue to innovate and improve our custom products. We consider style and structure in order to create products that will stand the test of time. We create portfolios that will weather beautifully using sustainable materials and processes whenever possible.

Shrapnel believes in sustainability. Being green comes naturally. They consider every aspect of the process and how it affects the world around us. They create very little waste from our production processes, up-cycling our off-cut material to create new objects of desire. Shipping and packing materials are recyclable and are re-used with the minimum amount of waste generated. Portfolios are manufactured in Vancouver, Canada.


Mullenberg Designs
An upscale bookbindery owned and operated by Scott Mullenberg, Mullenberg Designs has been collaborating one-on-one with visual artists and designers over the last two decades to create custom portfolios and presentation structures that stand apart from rest. Mullenberg Designs presentation portfolios are fabricated with a screw-post binding, allowing flexibility when switching out images or customizing a body of work for a specific presentation. Below you will find sizing and base pricing. Call or email if you have any questions and they’ll be happy to walk you through the process of a portfolio build-out.


For over 30 years, we’ve been the best kept secret of artists and photographers around the world. Shop our wide variety of stock portfolios ready to ship today. You can also find a custom presentation solution in a striking and distinctive handmade product from Portfoliobox. With their team of artisans, skill and care that goes into crafting a truly singular work because that is precisely the energy they put into each and every Portfoliobox.


Clearstory’s personalized portfolio books are printed with high quality paper and inks, and traditionally bound and covered in several ways — from leather covers to canvas. Get started creating a book today! Or see how to make a  book with Clearbooks software. Combining your creative talent with their state-of-the-art digital printing equipment and professional book design templates will help you present your work effectively.


Kristin Dunn

Kristin Dunn bookbinding & design  offers a large selection of ready to ship {RTG} and customizable presentation products online. From clamshell boxes to screw post portfolios you are sure to find a unique and personalized solution to your presentation needs. You will find our most polular size and color combinations available here. Products come in portrait, landscape, and square formats. These portfolios are packed up and ready to ship out in 1-2 days so if you are in a time crunch and don't need any personalization or other embellishments buying your portfolio from the RTG collection will save you time and money.


Disclaimer: The list of website links is provided to be a resource for illustrators and artists. It was not intended for the purpose of advertising or endorsing one source over another. Nor is it by any means complete. There are many other excellent sources not mentioned here.