September 10, 2013
The standard measurement system used in typography, and therefore also in desktop publishing, is based on (abbreviated pts) and picas (abbreviated px). Twelve points equal one pica, and six picas are approximately equal to one inch; therefore, one point is measured as approximately 1/72 of an inch (Bloom).
Depending on the programs, type specifications set in a word processing program may or may not import into a page assembly program. If a type specification does not import from a word processing program, it must be set in the page assembly program. Most page assembly programs have more sophisticated typographical controls than word processing programs. In particular, spacing specifications are generally set in a page assembly program.
Type size is measured in points. But the actual size of a type character is not exactly equal to its nominal point size. The letter “A” in 72 point type, for example, is not precisely one inch high. This is because point size is measured from descender to ascender; any single character, therefore, is less than 72 points tall since no single character has both ascenders and descenders (Alexander and Smith).
For body type, common type sizes are 9, 10, 11, and 12 point. Reference material (citations, footnotes, indices, etc.) is often set at smaller sizes such as 7, 8, and 9 points. Type smaller than 10 point is difficult to read.
For display type, common sizes are 14, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, 60, and 72 point. In the old days of handset type and separate font cases, typesetters were limited to these sizes and font cartridges and most non-PostScript soft fonts contain a subset of these sizes. But modern phototypesetting and PostScript fonts enable the designer to specify any size type, and even fractional sizes, such as 17.5 point type.
In desktop publishing, type style refers to roman, bold, and/or italic styles. Normal type is roman type,...