What the Right Typography Means to Your Acrylic Wall Art

If you add words to your acrylic wall art, such as your favorite quotation or an inspirational comment, you need to know a little about typography. This field includes the visual designs of letters and the spacing between words and letters, both horizontally and vertically.Fonts or Typefaces1. Fonts, or Typefaces. These are designs for a collection of letters that share a consistent look and weight. This will usually include not only all of the letters of the alphabet, but all of the symbols which normally go with them.

2. Serif vs. Sans Serif. Some typefaces have little points that stick out at the ends of a stroke. These are called “serifs.” Those without serifs are called “sans serifs”—where “sans” naturally means “without.” To make it easier to remember, you could consider the idea that with “sans serif,” the serifs have been “sanded off.”

3. Size. In traditional typography, type size is usually measured in “points” where there are 72 points in an inch. This typically includes the greatest height of all letters in the alphabet.

4. Caps and Lower Case. Measuring of typefaces usually starts from the baseline, or bottoms of capital letters and most lower case letters. Some lower case letters, though, descend below the baseline—usually g, j, p, q and y. The part of the letter which exists below the baseline is called a “descender.” No surprise there. Many of the smaller, lower case letters have a common height which is typically called the “x-height.” These letters usually include, a, c, e, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x and z. Other, taller lower case letters have what are called “ascenders”—b, d, f, h, k, l and t.

5. Leading. The vertical spacing between lines of text is called “leading.” This is an old throwback to the days when type foundries used lead (metal) slugs between lines of text to separate them. In modern typography, the spacing between lines is measured from baseline to baseline in points. For example, 12-point type with zero additional leading would have a leading or “line spacing” of 12 points.

6. Kerning. The space between letters can be adjusted by an expert typographer to create more pleasing effects, especially on the larger, headline type. Some letter combinations unavoidably allow too much visual space so that the word appears to have an ugly gap. For instance, the letters AV, without kerning include a great deal of white space between them. Kerning takes out some of this space, creating a more pleasing spacing that appears, across the word, to be more visually neutral.

7. Too Many Typefaces. Each typeface adds its own unique character to your acrylic wall art. But too many can prove disastrous—cluttered. Two is a comfortable maximum. Occasionally, a third might work. Readability is key.

Whether you add words to photo wall art, a simple photo gift or any other image art piece, ​make the most of it with properly done typography.