The Magic of Typography

Not all typefaces are created equal, but they can be made to look the same – in terms of size and uniformity. Graphic artists will find that aligning the font sizes of each letter is not enough to make it look balanced and beautiful. This problem is evident when one takes the time to manually do calligraphy without the help of technology. Making the letters all look the same in size requires a bit of adjustment in their form. The curved forms of ‘C’ and ‘O’, for instance, can seem shorter than the squarish appearance of both ”T’ and ‘H’.
Tweak a Bit of This and That
Designers, in their creative ways, found out that one can make letters look all equal in size (even if they are not) by using a certain technique. The main approach they use is overshooting, which allows designers to construct taller and deeper curved letters than the square ones. This make them appear to be the same size, as the ‘O’, which can look short to the eyes, is extended to adhere to the baseline and cap height. Readers will not notice this, given enough care with the multiple sizes and positions. All that matters is that designers make the letters feel equal.

It is a Matter of Optical Illusion
It would be nice and easy to achieve a well-proportioned typeface if all designers have to do is to adjust the curves to behave more like flat shapes. Graphic artists, however, have to attend to certain aspects of type mechanics to make letters look the same point size and roughly the same dimensions. One must focus on degrees of overshooting to prevent differences in the curvature. Not doing so would create a slightly disproportionate effect that would look jarring on paper or web page. Comparing different overshot forms, therefore, will let designers change the shapes of the letters, so they can be convincingly equal in size.


Look at the headlines of newspapers, and then to the academic papers, and calligraphy of billboards, and the artistry of typography will appear. Making letter shapes proportional may take time and effort, but concentrating on perfecting the overshooting technique can turn out nicely done typefaces.