nomenclature of a type sort

I was wondering if there was a technical term for the piece of the type face that over hangs the body of the sort to create a kern.
Everyone I’ve spoken with just calls them “kerns,” but I think there’s a name for that part of the type.

Log in to reply   6 replies so far

According to McGrew (and others), projections extending beyond the edges of the body are called “kerns”.

Nickel Plate Press

That’s what everyone at the book arts studio calls them, but for some reason I thought there was another name.
Thank you, Michael.

I have great fun showing them to younger graphic artists-
“You know about kerning?”
“Ever seen a kern?”
“Um, no. It’s a thing?”
(reach into a 48pt script font, hand them a cap. letter with one)
“That’s a kern.”
Then I show why it matters. Usually several light bulbs go on for them. Works for ff/ffl/etc, too. Good cheap fun, and education.

Then we get into why line spacing called “leading”…..

This is the very reason that I taught basic letterpress work to students in graphic design in a journalism school back in the 1970s. The concepts of kerning, letterspacing, point size,leading, etc. are much easier to get across through tactile means.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

Great story, zBang. I’ve found that graphic students have no idea that some of the terms they use come from the composing room, such as leading, upper case, and kerning.

John Henry, I imagine your graphic design students are thankful for your instruction on letterpress, even if they didn’t know it at the time.

The late Mrs Beatrice Warde used a particular sketch of a piece of type with all the parts properly named, repeatedly in many pieces of the Monotype Corporation’s literature.

For the UK at least its pretty much definitive. It could
only be improved by adding things to explain the ‘depth of drive’ variation between the various manufacturers. eg comparing that aspect of quality between say, Monotype and Stephenson Blakes. foundry cast product.

For those students at least lets have them know that fonts are for baptizing babies, and that we use the ‘founts. of
all knowledge.!!